Commercial Charbroiler Buying Guide
Broiling, Frying, Simmering, and Searing
By definition: “Grill (food, especially meat) on a rack over charcoal:”
While grilling over charcoal is the traditional method of cooking with a charbroiler, the commercial market and high demand for this type of cooking have provided and invented other methods to achieve this special style of cooking. Keep reading to find out how.
1. Why Choose a Charbroiler?
A charbroiler (sometimes called a broiler), is both an indoor and outdoor cooking method for achieving a signature “grilled style” taste and an authentic-looking “grill-lined” look, in a commercial establishment.
Making the Distinction… Grills are typically referred to when speaking of a smaller version of the charbroiler. Although grills lack the endurance and output required to cater to larger audiences, such as in a commercial establishment. They also lack some features required by municipal codes (i.e. they won’t pass a health or safety inspection). Sometimes the term “grill” is loosely used in a commercial kitchen, but most often the grill being talked about is a charbroiler.
The terms "grill,” “charbroil,” and “broil" are used interchangeably, but aren't necessarily correct. For example, when talking about broiling, you want to distinguish charbroiling from melting or browning in a broiler (such as the salamander) which is "overhead grilling."
2. Cooking Types
Charbroilers are used for frying or grilling.
Frying can be done with a charbroiler, just as you may fry with a skillet on a range. A charbroiler can provide a high output method of pan-frying, and due to their smaller size, they may be a more suitable method for frying in smaller areas.
Direct cooking or grilling (cooking directly on the grills of a charbroiler, instead of passing the heat through another medium [ex: a frying pan]) can create the effect of visible charred lines on meats, fish, etc. Continual usage of direct cooking will season the grills to an individual restaurant's style of cuisine. Please see seasoning below.
3. Types of Charbroilers
Charbroilers are available with different heating methods. While cooking with charcoal is the traditional method of cooking, check out the following options:
Radiant (Gas) - Gas powered charbroilers are typically higher output models. This is a great option for establishments that need to boil all day long, from breakfast to dinner.
Infrared (electric) – Both high voltage (208/240v) and low voltage (110/115v) options are available on the commercial market. If you are avoiding gas, this is the way to go. Infrared radiants will be able to provide even cooking.
Lava Rock and Charcoal – This may be a less expensive method for establishments that use the charbroiler for lesser amounts of time. If using your charbroiler more often than not, this can then become costly. However, this heating method provides a taste that is otherwise not very easy to achieve such as that backyard cooking flavor.
4. Charbroiler Placement
Charbroilers are available as both countertop models and range additions. Gas charbroilers that are built onto your range may be able to provide higher BTUs, but most heating methods such as infrared, are available on the range as well.
Countertop models can be extremely efficient in tighter quarters. Not only can a countertop infrared charbroiler be energy efficient; their counterpart gas heated models can provide stable all-day performance.
5. Charbroiler Seasoning
Season It: Keeling a seasoned grill, as is keeping other cookware seasoned, is essential to providing great tasting product for your customers. It also provides a unique taste to your establishment (considering you clean it correctly). But most importantly, seasoning will aid in preventing rust!
- Turn It Off – let it set until the grates are completely cold to touch.
- Oil It Up – Using oil, grease the grate thoroughly. Wipe off any access/dripping oil. You may use the following oils: Canola oil (this is a seasoning standard, however, consider the following); olive oil may take a couple of more coats (seasoning repeats), but it can provide a different taste and be well worth the extra steps; flaxseed oil is a newer method. It provides a hard, matte finish, but requires several more coats (seasoning repeats) than the previous oil.
- Heat It Up – Turn on your charbroiler to a low heat. It is easy to ignite oil, so be careful! The goal is to get the oil heated until it has evaporated or burned off. You’ll know that it is heated enough once the oil begins to smoke.
- Rinse and Repeat – Turn your charbroiler off. You should now have a shiny/glossy grate and be dark in color. If it does not shine, simply repeat steps 1 – 3.
6. Charbroiler Cleaning
- Oil and Water – Be sure to keep all cast iron grates dry, especially after the initial cleaning or any cleaning before re-seasoning. This is because water and oil will not, at any cost, mix. Not only would you want to keep oils from the initial seasoning; but you may also gain seasoning through cooking, and you don’t want to lose those oils either. So after any contact with water, dry every nook and cranny with an absorbent towel.
- Remove your grates – Don’t risk any debris or cleaning agents (such as water) falling into your charbroiler.
- Hot Is Key – Using hot water (you’ll be using cold water later) dip your grates and let them begin to soak.
- Scrub – If your grates have become sticky and rough, you’ll want to scrub with a wire brush or coarse towel (if that’s all that is necessary to remove the debris).
- If You Have To – Don’t like skipping the soap? Use a very light amount. This will prevent the soap from damaging your hard-earned seasoning.
- Rinse with cold water. If you’re not using soap, the hot – to – cold jump in temperature aids in fighting off bacteria.
- Dry Completely – As mentioned before, DO NOT allow any water to remain on the surface of the grates. This will allow any new oils, especially if re-seasoning, to adhere to the grate surface.
- Re-Season – If necessary, follow the seasoning steps above.
7. Additional Info
Charbroilers come in a variety of "energy types." Infrared and gas models are available and both can come as a floor or countertop model. Brick, ceramic tile, and charcoal options are available, too. Deciphering which of these types fits best for you will depend on your floor/counter space. Also, each design has its own unique effect on the taste of the product.