When most people think of a wood burning grill, they immediate conjure images of the backyard variety. However, an outdoor cooking area isn’t feasible in today’s modern restaurant environment. Customers still crave the delicious flavor of flame-kissed foods cooked over a wood fire, however. One solution to this quandary is the use of a wood burning commercial grill in the kitchen.
While there are some obvious obstacles involved in indoor grilling over a wood fire, modern equipment provides restaurateurs with a way to meet the continuing demand for wood grilled meats and vegetables in the controlled environment of the kitchen. Multiple wood burning grill units are on the market that can fill the order, but how do you know which will best meet the needs of your kitchen staff? Keep reading for a few tips on selecting the best wood burning grills for your commercial kitchen.
Wood-fired foods often demand high temperatures to create flawless grilled dishes. In the great outdoors, that’s not a problem as the extra heat dissipates into the atmosphere. However, indoors, the heat required to perfectly cook meat and vegetables over a wood fire can quickly accumulate and make for unpleasant conditions in the kitchen. Look for grills that are built with heat dissipation in mind. Better yet, find a unit that contains the heat and uses it to cook your dishes even faster. You want high-temperature, even heat when it comes to a restaurant kitchen, so find a unit that can provide those dynamics.
High Efficiency Features
As is the case with any cooking implement, you want a grill to cook your dishes quickly and efficiently while minimizing fuel costs. Look for features in a commercial grill that will help you achieve those ends such as double-walled hull construction or fire brick insulation. Both of those features contain heat and deliver it efficiently to your foods, allowing you to cook them quickly while minimizing fuel usage.
In a wood burning grill, the grates are extremely important. The type of grate, its shape, and the material from which it is made all play a role in grill performance. Thin wire grates are inefficient at transferring heat to the foods you’re cooking. Look for cast iron grates that catch and retain heat before consistently transferring it to your foods. Cast iron also provides those beautiful sear marks many associate with wood-fired foods while sealing in juices and preserving flavors.
Ease of Maintenance
Another consideration when selecting a grill is ease of fueling and clean-up. Loading your wood burning grill with fuel should be a straight-forward process that involves as few steps as possible. Make sure fuel doors are easy to access, even when the grill is hot. Also, examine the process for cleaning the grill or removing ashes. These routine tasks will become tiresome if the process is overly complex or cumbersome.
If you plan to add a grill to your commercial kitchen, do some research to find the best wood burning grills that meet your needs. Make sure to pay attention to temperature control features, grill efficiency, the cooking surface, and routine maintenance before buying a new grill.