The broiler is unquestionably an underused gem of the kitchen, but trying to use one without any preparation can lead to disaster. Here's three tools that you should have on hand when using one:

1. Dig out the broiler pan.

The slotted tray allows excess moisture to drain away as food broils, encouraging better browning and crisping. For efficient cleanup, line the top of the pan with lightly greased foil and cut slits over the pan’s slots. Prevent drippings from drying up during cooking by adding 1⁄4 inch of water to an underlying pan.

2. Buy a timer and use it.

There’s a small window of time between great broiled food and dinner burned to an ash, so don’t rely on your own internal clock. Get an inexpensive timer, use the one on the stove, or pull out your smartphone.

3. A thermometer prevents guesswork.

Don’t just assume your meats are cooked properly. The best plan of attack is to eliminate guesswork and use a digital instant-read thermometer to test for done- ness. Steak should reach an internal temp of 130°F for medium-rare; pork, 145°F; and poultry, 165°F.