Choose the Right Commercial Charbroiler for Your Foodservice Operation

Charbroilers deliver some of the biggest profit-makers that emerge from the kitchen. The quintessential center-of-the-plate proteins that draw people into a restaurant and capture premium price points. It’s important to choose the right unit based on the needs and output of the operation, and the information that follows will help you choose the right commercial charbroiler for your operation.

The reality is no two restaurant charbroilers are built the same. There are many considerations, and we’re going to break down three of the most important here:

1) The Different Types of Burner Materials

When considering a restaurant charbroiler, there are essentially two different burner types to review – cast iron burners and stainless steel burners. Cast iron burners and radiants are generally more economical, but they often won’t last as long as stainless steel burners. The upside is that once they’re brought up to temperature, they’re better at holding heat. Stainless steel, on the other hand, won’t corrode or rust as quickly as a cast iron burner. They also don’t require the same level of cleaning and maintenance as cast iron burners.

The main differences between the two are heat control, lifespan, and time spent cleaning and maintaining the burners. Depending on the needs and desires of the operation, an argument could easily be made for both types.

2) Output and Capacity

Output and capacity are important but before we delve into some of the different options, it’s important to determine where units will be located in the kitchen and the power source required. While gas charbroilers are certainly more common, electric charbroilers are also an option. For certain types of restaurants or foodservice operations that utilize counter space to generate profits, a countertop charbroiler could be a good option. Likewise, floor model units can be made for the back-of-the-house, expanding opportunities for creating more profits.

In terms of power and output, gas burners are measured by British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the BTU rating, the more heat it will generate. As a general rule, the lower the number of burners per square foot the higher the BTU rating, as those burners need to produce more heat. With electric burners, the similar comparison is the number of kilowatts per foot.

3) Radiant Charbroilers vs. Lava Rock Charbroilers

Once heat is created within the burner, the next step is to distribute that heat to complete the cooking process. There are two main ways to do this – radiant and lava rock. Radiant charbroilers have small pieces of metal located above the burners that will conduct and move heat upward toward the grates where food is cooked. Because these radiants are angled in V-shapes, grease is moved away from the cooking surface resulting in less flare-ups and easier-to-clean units.

Using a lava rock commercial charbroiler is the alternative. Using layers of porous briquettes like pomace, heat is evenly distributed below the cooking surface. While food may drip onto the rocks creating more work and maintenance (rocks should be periodically replaced) the upside is they can add richer flavors to foods.

Looking for more information on how to select the perfect commercial charbroiler? Check out the charbroiler comparison chart to find the best fit for your operation.

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Topics: Restaurants