Broiling, the cooking of meat on a fire or on a grid over it, is one of the most ancient forms of cooking. The first electric broilers appeared in 1916. The first table model was the Broil King, manufactured by the International Appliance Company in 1937. Table broilers were usually cylinders with hinged or removable lids. The meat sat on a perforated metal tray while the cooking element was housed in the lid. Farberware introduced the Open Hearth broiler in 1962. This featured a heating element placed below the food.

A variant was the Rotissimat of 1946, produced by the Rotissimat Corporation, which, as its name implied, featured a rotisserie for poultry. The product was promoted in supermarkets by using them to roast chickens, and it has been suggested that this stimulated the introduction of shop-roasted chicken. Rotissimat went into liquidation in 1954, but the name remains as a generic term.

Manufacturers in the United States also produced open gas broilers or indoor barbecues in the 1940s and 1950s that were companions to gas or electric stoves. Broilers were not so popular within the United Kingdom and Europe, where the home rotisserie became combined with a grill. Moulinex produced such table models in the 1970s. The 1960s saw “top-of-the-range” electric ovens having rotisserie attachments within their “eye-level” grills. Table broilers are no longer such popular items due to the increasing speed and sophistication of ovens, grills, and microwave ovens.

Paradoxically, the classic method of broiling food on a gridiron has become more popular with the outdoor barbecue. Here traditional charcoal, whether ignited by fire-lighters or gas jets continues to be the popular fuel.