Posted: Aug 30, 2007
Kitchen Applications: The primary function of a charbroiler is to cook a variety of foods, particularly meats, fish and seafood, at consistent temperatures.
One of the primary benefits of charbroilers is in food presentation. Broilers give food the appearance and flavor of having been cooked on an outdoor backyard barbecue. For the commercial kitchen they offer a high production level with a shorter recovery time.
Types: Charbroilers are available in floor and countertop models. Specialty broilers include salamanders, wood-burning units and cheese melters.
Unique Features & Technology: When kitchen space is limited, a new combination griddle/broiler is prepared for menu expansion. The unit’s griddle fry top work area of 20½“ deep x 24” wide features a two-position, pull-out rack finishing broiler section.
Sub-radiant heating offered with some broiler units reduces gas use and grease fires, while improving the evenness of top grid temperatures. Newer models may offer greater cooking versatility with adjustable grates.
Sectional units accommodate accessories like shelves, flue risers, spreader cabinets and support frames. Some makers offer polyurethane swivel casters with front brakes.
Capacity & Size: Broiler capacity can vary greatly. The grid on a 15” x 22” charbroiler can cook 24 hamburgers per load or 340 per hour. A 16” x 20” grid will produce about 380 per hour; a 20” x 32” model can double that output. Some charbroilers are sized to accommodate smaller kitchens. For example, drop-in models, with a standard depth of 24”, range in width from 12” to 60”. The grates on gas-powered units generally measure from 24” to 72”. Gas broilers tend to be 6” to 12” taller than electric models. Burners are positioned one for every 6” to 12” of grate area. A countertop model can fit into a space 2’ square. Cheesemelters are typically 36”, 48” or 60” wide.
Energy Source: Fuel choices include natural gas, electricity, propane (LP) gas, charcoal or wood. Conducted heat is transmitted through the top grate. Convected heat is carried by circulated air. Infrared rays emanate from the heat source, use less gas and reach operating temperatures in 90 seconds. For more precise cooking control, some models offer variable front-to-rear control of heat sources. Gas models have BTU ranging from 17,000 up to 217,500, depending on their size. Economy models may feature heavy, cast-iron radiants for even heat distribution and to hold cooking temperatures in excess of 700°F.
Most charbroilers feature a fixed distance between their heat sources and grates. Others, such as wood-burning and charcoal, and some gas units, feature adjustable grates, allowing cook staff to select settings most appropriate to food type and load volume.
Temperature Range: Most models cook best between 550°F. and 625°F.
Construction: A basic broiler looks like a firebox with a steel or cast-iron top grate on which the food cooks. Some gas charbroilers transfer heat via metal radiants made of stainless steel alloy or cast iron. Many manufacturers offer grates that can be angled to direct grease away from the hearth. The result is that grease is instead sent down into a trough or tray where it is held until emptied.
Kitchen Compatibility: Exhausts are essential. In the case of drop-in models, for example, exhaust requirements range from 900- to 1,200-cu.-ft. per minute (CFM). In addition, such units must be installed 1’ from any side wall, at least 5” from a back wall and about 4” from any other piece of countertop equipment. Proper ventilation and frequent cleaning are equally important. A licensed contractor knowledgeable of your city’s NFPA96 code should install the exhaust to ensure you are compliant.
Maintenance: Products cooked over crushed lava rock or ceramic briquettes, rather than over coal or wood embers, can accumulate large amounts of carbon and grease. Manufacturers recommend replacing elements and even the cast-iron grates that hold briquettes twice a year. Some models offer self-cleaning heating elements.
Manufacturers: ACityDiscount offers a wide range of charbroilers from some of the leading manufacturers, including American Range, Imperial Range, Bakers Pride, Crown Verity, Inc., Royal Range, Comstock Castle, Eurodib, and Star Manufacturing.
Recommended Optional Products: Add on broiler units are available for existing kitchen ranges. Charbroiler accessories include smoke boxes, equipment stands, wind guard, and replacement lava rock or briquettes.
Watch a video (3:41) on Imperial Range SteakHouse Broilers here.