If you've recently added a broiler to your commercial kitchen or are considering investing in one, you're probably excited about the new menu options that the broiler will allow you to offer your customers. Charbroiled steaks, burgers, and chicken will definitely bring more traffic through your door, and taking proper care of your broiler will help keep the customers coming back for more. Here are five strategies for prolonging the life of your broiler and ensuring that it functions well during its time in your commercial kitchen.
Season Your Grill Grates Properly
Grill grates are coated with a protective wax coating prior to shipping, so be sure to thoroughly clean it with a mild detergent, hot water, and a wire brush after you receive it. Season your grate before use by applying a thin coating of vegetable oil -- use a paper towel or a soft cotton cloth to ensure that all areas of your grate are covered. Turn the burners on to their lowest setting and heat the grate for about one-and-a-half hours. After you allow it to completely cool after turning the burners off, the grate will then be ready to use. New grates should be re-seasoned frequently -- about once every two weeks for the first several months. Click here for info about the process. Proper seasoning will prevent the grates from rusting.
Clean it Nightly
One of the last duties that you or your kitchen staff performs before going home at night is to clean your charbroiler's grate using hot water, mild dishwashing detergent that has been formulated to cut grease, and a stiff wire brush. Never heat your broiler up thinking that this will burn off food debris -- this practice can easily damage your gas valves. Your charbroiler's cast iron or stainless steel radiant components should be completely removed, scrubbed clean in the sink with detergent and a brush, and left to thoroughly dry overnight, and the firebox should be completely emptied of ashes.
Don't Overload It
Although it can be tempting to place as many items as possible on your charbroiler in order to get food to customers more quickly when your restaurant is busy, doing so can trap too much heat between the burners and the grate. The trapped heat can potentially damage essential components as well as ruin any food that is being broiled on the grate.
Provide Proper Ventilation
Commercial kitchens are hot enough without a charbroiler making extra heat -- something that charbroilers do very well. The average commercial charbroiler will radiate at least 25 percent of the heat that it produces into its immediate surroundings. You can help keep your kitchen's cooling costs from skyrocketing by installing a ventilation system designed to work in commercial kitchens that include charbroilers and other equipment that emits high degrees of heat such as large commercial baking ovens.
Use Your Charbroiler's Standby Mode When Your Restaurant Isn't Busy
Charbroilers use a significant amount of energy, so put them on standby mode except for the hours when your restaurant is normally busy. They'll heat up quickly when the occasional stray customer wanders by for a 3:30 P.M. burger, and you'll keep kitchen temperature levels and energy costs down. If the kitchen in your establishment is consistently dead between certain hours of the day, such as between the end of lunch service and the beginning of the dinner rush, turning your charbroiler off altogether will result in even further energy savings. Commercial charbroilers also offer the option of turning on only one side, which will also help save on energy costs during days and nights that are traditionally slow in your establishment.