The Broiling Point

Steak, chicken, fish, burgers—all of these are menu staples, and all of them reach flavor perfection when broiled. That’s why the broiler has become an indispensable piece of equipment.


From below

In an under fired broiler (sometimes called a charbroiler), the heat radiates upward from under the grill or grate. The “striping” from the grate bars helps brown and sear the food, adding an attractive crosshatch pattern. Most under fired broilers are powered by gas, but electric and even charcoal models are also available.

These days, under fired broilers are often  being moved to the front of the house for visual excitement. Manufacturers are now making them in sizes ranging from 15-inch countertop models up to massive 72-inch wide, 13-grate broilers. Many contain a drawer with a separate element that functions as a salamander or cheese melter.

As with any gas-powered cooking appliance, the pilot lights need to be easily accessible in case relighting is necessary. Many manufacturers have moved toward electronic systems that re-spark in case the flame is extinguished. Garland’s High Efficiency Broilers feature an electronic ignition that automatically attempts to refire the broiler.

Some under fired broilers, like the Vulcan VCRB Restaurant Series Gas Charbroilers, have reversible grates, with one flat and one slanted side. Using the slanted side allows for foods to cook slightly further away from the heat source—aiding in grease collection.

From above

High-Volume operations may opt for an over fired broiler, in which the heat radiates from an element positioned above the food. As with under fired broilers, the hot grid provides grill markings and helps conduct heat to the food. The majority of these models are free-standing, with cooking areas ranging from 36 to 45 inches wide. In most models, the cooking grates can be raised and lowered to adapt to the thickness of food.

With the large amount of product these broilers can handle, the grease-catching tray is an important consideration. Make sure it runs the complete width of the cooking area and is easily removed for drainage. The large-capacity grease drawer on the Montague Legend series of broilers is front-mounted for convenient cleaning.

From both sides

Conveyor broilers combine over fired and under fired broilers, with a belt that moves food through the unit quickly. The bigger “straight-through” models have been used for years to broil a quantity of hamburger patties quickly, but today’s large conveyors, like the Nieco MPB84, can handle steaks, chicken and kebabs, too.   Some of the smaller countertop models can broil burgers and toast buns as well; their “front-return” design brings the food right back to the line and keeps everything within a small footprint. Marshall Air’s FR1515S broiler has the bun-toasting feature, and can cook up to 150 hamburger patties per hour.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

With overtime pay likely to become a reality for some salaried foodservice employees after Dec. 1, operators are rethinking what they expect managers to do off-site as part of their responsibilities. Answering email or scheduling shifts at home didn’t matter when the employees were exempted from overtime if they earned more than $23,660 per year. But with that threshold more than doubling on Dec. 1 to $47,476, a half hour spent here and there on administrative tasks could push a salaried manager over the 40-hours-per-week threshold and entitle him or her to overtime. And how does the...

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Ideas and Innovation
leftovers containers

We use our Menu Forward idea to empower staff to develop menu items and keep leftovers in check. Product left at the end of service may be claimed by any station to become part of a new item within six weeks. I’m happy to see my star team fighting for their ideas and products; the benefit to food cost is spot-on, and my freezer has no mystery items lurking in the corner.

FSD Resources