Char-broilers are fueled with charcoal, lava rock, ceramic coals or steel radiants (tent-shaped, heat-retaining steel sheets).
Criteria for purchasing a char-broiler include size, hood requirements, menu, capacity and energy source.
Size. How do I know what size broiler is right for me?
The size broiler you need depends upon the size of your restaurant, your menu, and how much hood space you have available. Generally, a broiler 24" or smaller will accommodate a restaurant under 30 seats; a 24"-30" broiler should accommodate 30-50 seats; a 36" broiler should accommodate 50-70 seats; above 70 seats, a 36"- 48" broiler is recommended.
Radiant versus lava rock. What causes the "char"?
Gas broilers use several different char materials, including charcoal, lava rock, ceramic briquettes and radiants. Lava rock imitates the properties of coal or wood embers. Radiant broilers use metal radiants to transfer heat, and while no coal is used, most agree that radiant broilers still impart char-broiled flavor. Only wood, however - such as hickory and mesquite - contains natural, aromatic substances that can flavor food through the smoke they produce.
Radiant versus lava rock. Which is the most efficient "char" source?
If you're using a lava rock or a radiant broiler, there's going to be little difference in food taste, but radiant broilers are more durable than lava rock broilers. As a rule, radiant broilers will cook faster and cleaner than lava rock broilers due to higher BTU output, and they'll be much easier to clean.
Lava rock broilers emit a carbon residue that builds up and can be messy.
Consistency. Which material cooks the most evenly?
Radiant broilers allow you to control the burners separately so you can even out the heat across the cooking surface. With charcoal, lava rock and ceramic tiles, even cooking can be more of a challenge.
Flavor. What gives char-broiled meat that BBQ taste?
When meat juices and fats drip down onto the radiant heat source, a flare up occurs. The smoke from this flare gives your food that "backyard BBQ" flavor.
Price. Why are radiant broilers more expensive?
Radiant broilers are more expensive up front because they come with thicker grates, they're easier to use, easier to clean, and they tend to last longer.
Click here to view our Radiant Broilers. Click here to view our Lava Rock Broilers.