Pan Broil is a cooking technique used for thin steaks, thin chops and fish fillets.
It is a dry cooking method done in a frying pan on top of the stove with no added fat or liquid. It sears the surface of the meat, sort of like proper broiling would.
Not only do you not add any fat to the cooking pan, you also remove any fat as it accumulates. A turkey baster is great way for getting the fat out quickly: just tilt the pan and siphon it up, or just pour it off.
You need a non-stick pan to do Pan Broil in, or a well-seasoned cast iron pan. Pans with ridges in them are ideal for Pan Broiling.
To Pan Broil you heat the pan well first over medium-heat before starting, so you get a good char starting on the bottom side of the meat the instant you toss it in the pan. The pan is ready to go when a drop of water will evaporate the instant it hits the pan. (Occasionally, you will see a pan-broiling recipe advising you not to heat the pan first.)
Turn occasionally. Do not cover the pan; you don’t want to steam the food. At the end, though, if everything else for the meal isn’t quite ready, you can remove the pan from the heat, and cover for a few minutes to keep it hot.
Burgers should take about 10 to 12 minutes, but turn them only once to reduce break-up.
Some people like to sprinkle a thin, sparse layer of salt in the pan just before they put the meat in, to develop a crust — coarse sea salt or Maldon salt is ideal, as it is more likely to stay on the surface of the meat because it’s not drawn in as quickly as fine table salt is.
Don’t use a fork to turn the meat if you can help it; that will let the juice escape out and evaporate. Use tongs or a flipper (aka heat-safe spatula.)