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Charbroiler Information: The Basics

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 a charbroiler is in the presentation of the food. Charbroilers 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.

Quick Info

Charbroilers are available in floor and countertop models.
Charbroilers and specialty broilers can be stand alone units or mounted to backsplashes or surfaces of other units, such as a range.
Temperature Range
Most models cook best between 550°F. and 625°F.


A basic charbroiler looks like a firebox with steel or cast-iron top grates on which the food is cooked Upon. Gas charbroilers transfer heat via metal radiants that are made of stainless steel alloy or cast iron. Many manufacturers offer grates that can be angled to direct grease away from the hearth and sent down into a trough or tray where it is held until emptied.

Capacity & Size

Charbroiler capacity can vary greatly. The grid on a 15” x 22” charbroiler can cook 24 hamburgers per load or 340 per hour. A 16”x20” grid will produce about 380 per hour; while a 20”x32” 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”.

Gas-powered units generally measure from 12” 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 and a countertop model can fit into a space 2’ square.

Energy Source

Fuel choices include natural gas, electricity, propane gas, charcoal or wood. Conducted heat is transmitted through the top grate and convected heat is carried by circulated air through the cook box and to the food.

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 often feature stainless steel radiants, while heavier duty units have cast-iron radiants. Heavier duty charbroilers are better for even heat distribution, recovery and holding 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.

Unique Features & Technology

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. Most manufacturers offer polyurethane swivel casters with front brakes for floor model units.

Kitchen Compatibility

Exhaust and ventilation for charbroilers are essential. These units will need to be under a hood. In the case of drop-in models, 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.


Daily cleaning of grates will reduce overall maintenance needs and keep cooking consistent day after day. Using a scraper or bricket is an easy way to keep the grates free of grease and food particles.

Food 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.


ACityDiscount offers a wide range of charbroilers from some of the leading manufacturers, including: Imperial Range, APW, Vulcan, Bakers Pride, Crown Verity, Inc., Comstock Castle, Eurodib, Toastmaster, Grindmaster-Cecilware, Globe, and Star Manufacturing.

Don't forget that add on broiler units are available for existing kitchen ranges. Charbroiler accessories include smoke boxes, equipment stands, wind guards, and replacement lava rock or briquettes.

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