When you broil something it's similar to grilling. The difference is that the direct heat you are using is coming from above in broiling as apposed to heat from below when grilling. Another difference is the broiling is usually an indoor event whereas grilling is done mainly outdoors.
In broiling, you are placing your food, let's use a steak for the example, on a broiler pan and placing it under the broiler. The broiler only has one temperature setting. It is simply called broil. The temperature is very much like high in grilling. Just like baking in the oven, you need to wait for the broiler to reach its temperature before you put that steak under it. It is also wise to have the broiler pan in place while the broiler is heating up. Again as in grilling, you want the grates (in this case the broiler pan) to be hot so it sears the outside of the steak. Even though you have the heat source coming from above and a very hot pan from below, the steak will need to be turned over to finish the broiling process. Because of this, the steak will actually cook faster than if you grilled it.
Remember that you need to watch your food closely when broiling. The high heat and closeness to that heat can cause food to burn quickly.
A broiler pan is composed of 2 pieces. There is the bottom pan that catches all the unwanted juices/grease and holds the insert that you place the food on to cook. The insert has slots in it that allows those unwanted juices/grease to drip away from the food as it cooks. This, as in grilling, helps create a healthier cooking process to pan grilling or frying. Both gas and electric ovens come with a broiler pan.
There are two pieces of equipment that usually having a broiling mode in them. The first is your stove. Depending on whether you have a gas or electric will determine the location of the broiler. Typically a gas stove had its broiler at the bottom under the oven. It is a separate location in the stove. An electric oven has its broiler right in the oven. It has an electrical coil at the top and bottom of the oven. The top coil is for broiling. You will need to usually raise the top rack in the oven to get it closer to that coil when broiling. The reason for this is that broiling is placing the food close to the heat source. In the case of broiling that is about 3 to 5 inches.
The second piece of equipment that usually has a broiler is a counter-top toaster/oven. We'll talk about the toaster/oven tomorrow.