With new indoor and outdoor equipment, grilling and smoking have been made easy. Here are the key issues to consider when purchasing a new grill/smoke setup for your shop.
Summertime. the grilling is easy and the smoking isn’t that difficult either, with all the indoor and outdoor equipment available. Local and regional chains have grown up around BBQ menus, while many casual-dining operators add barbeque as a seasonal offering.
So what’s the best way to do-the-Q?
Grilling is the process of searing and rapidly cooking foods on a grate suspended above a very high heat source. That source can be natural or propane gas burners with radiants or a bed of glowing charcoal, hickory or mesquite hardwood. Smoking is a slow and low-temperature cooking process in an enclosed chamber designed to maximize contact with smoke produced by charcoal, hardwoods or gas enhanced with burning wood chips.
Key grill/smoker issues
Indoor vs. outdoor: While indoor grills can deliver authentic grilled flavor and appearance, commercial outdoor grills, constructed of stainless and aluminized steel, are designed for mobility, volume cooking and reduced grease flare-ups. Smokers can be installed in the kitchen or located out back, climate and codes permitting; mobile units for event catering are also available. If smoked product is your main menu focus, staff will appreciate thermostatically controlled, self-basting rotisserie models. Code-compliant ventilation and fire safety protection must be provided indoors or out.
The fuel debate: Charcoal and liquid propane gas are the primary fuels for outdoor grilling. LP gas is the most convenient but may not impart that wood-smoke flavor. Some grills are designed to be multi-fuel capable, providing additional flexibility. Most large smokers use hardwood logs or wood pellets to produce the heat and aromatic smoke desired; electric and gas smokers use wood chips.
Mobility matters: To some operators, mobility may mean sturdy casters for rolling a grill out to the patio. To mobile caterers, it means driving it to an event. Both grills and smokers are available in trailer-mounted variations for easy travel, complete with onboard propane tanks and/or woodboxes, large coolers and lockable storage, not to mention fancy stainless fenders and baby-moon hubcaps.
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