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Infrared vs Radiant Steak Broilers?
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Thread: Infrared vs Radiant Steak Broilers?

  1. #1

    Infrared vs Radiant Steak Broilers?

    I want to replace my grill with a steakhouse broiler. I have no experience with any of the products I'm looking at, and it's $10k, so I can't really make a mistake. The restaurant I'm at is constantly grilling steaks and chicken. Our grill is 45" wide, but there are hot and cold spots, and there's nowhere on it that gets hot enough to char a steak. All the steaks almost look like they're steamed. Montague seems to be the most popular, but there are others like Jade that seem similar. Some are radiant and some are infrared. Infrared seems hotter, but I also read that it can break more often, and that it's so hot that it can't really be used to cook anything besides steaks. Thoughts? The most important thing to me is reliability. The Montague says infrared radiant, but I've read that it's basically just radiant. If the thing completely stops working we will not be able to open, and that would cost us more than a new broiler. If you have any experience with one of these I would love to know your thoughts.

    Thanks

  2. #2

    knyfeknerd's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of broilers. I've never used one of the steakhouse ones, but one of the guys I work with spent a couple of years at Ruth's Chris so I'll ask him tomorrow. The only thing he said about the ones they use was that they will(and do) burn the bejesus out of your hands because it's difficult to pull things out of them.
    Have you tried to refurb the grill? We recently did some work on our grill and it's like new now. It used to take 15+ minutes to heat up and now it's less than 5.
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  3. #3
    We have an almost brand new Imperial chicken grill, which is similar we had before, but it's probably 10% cooler than the old one. The old one was about 10% cooler than I would have preferred, so now I'd say it's 20% low on BTUs for my taste. It can't be fixed, it just isn't designed to be hot enough. It's one of those huge ones like they have at El Pollo Loco, and it's a great temperature for roasting chicken, but probably nothing else. The heat is about 10" below the grill and the height is not adjustable. I am a little conflicted because it's great for chicken, and we will either have to buy a new smaller grill and put them side by side, or buy a broiler with two heat zones and cook everything together. This is the grill we currently have http://www.imperialrange.com/nproductpage.php?id=477

    I can see how it's hotter than hell trying to pull something out of the broiler. The grill pulls out of the front, but I'm sure it's still difficult to get in the back. On the other hand, reaching over the top of a grill all night is difficult, and they say that almost all the heat produced by a broiler is flushed out the back. The place I usually eat out on my night off uses a infrared broiler and their steaks are very, very good. Far superior to anything I could produce with a hotter grill, frying pan, oven, salamander etc. etc. Marbled beef that's all crusty on the outside is a beautiful thing.

    I think the choice will come down to Montague overfired broiler, a new underfired radiant broiler with a slanted cooking grate so that we have a hotter area to use, or a combination of both. Both would be best, but if I squeeze both in our available space the underfired grill would have to be only 24" wide, and because those don't heat very evenly on the edges I think the usable area would be pretty small. I just realized that the Jade infrared broiler is $20K, so that's probably out of the question, but the radiant broilers I've seen are still about four times hotter than what we have.

    The restaurant is busy. If it costs $12K and the food is significantly better, the cost is not a big deal, but with limited space we can't have every toy we want, and although I can spend money I can't afford to screw up.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    I love the top down broiler at my job. It's like 1300 degrees. Gives you a perfect steakhouse char everytime. There's just a small adjustment period learning how to use it but after that you won't ever look back.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by la2tokyo View Post
    The place I usually eat out on my night off uses a infrared broiler and their steaks are very, very good. Far superior to anything I could produce with a hotter grill, frying pan, oven, salamander etc. etc. Marbled beef that's all crusty on the outside is a beautiful thing.
    Have you talked to them about it? Do you know any of the cooks there? Could you hang out for a bit and cook some steaks and chickens on it before dropping $10k+?

    Or keep the chicken grill and cast iron pan your steaks? What is your menu like?

    We are going through a similar thing at my job. We have issues with heat in our kitchen. The hoods are not powerful enough and there is not enough room to upgrade the hood's exhaust system. Our kitchen is also 1/3 the size its supposed to be for the size of our restaurant. The solution...make the line smaller to produce less heat! Makes sense, right? So we are trying to figure out what we can do with new equipment to make a functioning line.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ThEoRy View Post
    I love the top down broiler at my job. It's like 1300 degrees. Gives you a perfect steakhouse char everytime. There's just a small adjustment period learning how to use it but after that you won't ever look back.
    Who is the manufacturer? Is the whole thing one temperature, or are there different zones? If you can turn down one side is it feasible to cook chicken in the cooler side? Is it harder for an inexperienced cook to cook a steak in an overhead broiler than a regular grill? I'm worried that some guys are going to overcook/undercook steaks because everything happens more quickly.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyChance View Post
    Have you talked to them about it? Do you know any of the cooks there? Could you hang out for a bit and cook some steaks and chickens on it before dropping $10k+?

    Or keep the chicken grill and cast iron pan your steaks? What is your menu like?

    We are going through a similar thing at my job. We have issues with heat in our kitchen. The hoods are not powerful enough and there is not enough room to upgrade the hood's exhaust system. Our kitchen is also 1/3 the size its supposed to be for the size of our restaurant. The solution...make the line smaller to produce less heat! Makes sense, right? So we are trying to figure out what we can do with new equipment to make a functioning line.
    I think Montague has a demo facility near San Diego - I'm trying to find out, but if they do have it I'll go down there and try it out.

    We are too busy to cook steaks in a pan. We need to be able to cook six or eight steaks at a time. Easily. We barely have enough burners as it is. I feel for you with the space thing. Our restaurant dining room expanded to double the size, and we got big walk-ins and more prep area, but the hot line is still the same size as it was when we served half the number of people. Although an overhead broiler is really hot, I think the kitchen will be much cooler than it would be with the same sized grill. We have a big steamer on the stove all the time that I'd like to replace with a steam oven like I had in Japan, which saves a lot of space, but all the old-timers keep complaining about every little change we make. If I get the broiler I bet they're going to hate it and probably burn steaks for a week just to piss me off.

  8. #8
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    double stacked top firing gas broilers with adjustable height and slide out grille is what you want.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jmadams13's Avatar
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    I'd like to hear Saltys opinion on this...
    "This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption.. Beer!" -Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Friar Tuck

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