Char Broilers

Written by Ingrid Chen
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Char broilers replicate the taste and look of cooking over a wood or charcoal fire, without the mess of ashes. These broilers also provide an even cooking consistency over the entire grill area, instead of some inconsistencies found with barbecuing. Some restaurants choose to add char broilers not only for cooking purposes, but might also place them out in the open for the "entertainment value." As fats drip down, flare-ups may occur, which provide an exciting element to a busy environment.

How a Char Broiler Works

The device works by using the food's natural fats to create a smoky flavor associated with burning charcoals. In fact, most broilers are fueled by gas, and some electric broilers are also available. The food's fats are vaporized as they hit the hot surfaces below. Those vapors then travel back up and provide the smoky flavor we taste in char broiled food.

These broilers use either radiant gas or lava rocks, which are similar to charcoal. Radiant surfaces are easy to clean and cook foods consistently. Lava rock char broilers more closely replicate the effect of coal or wood barbecue.

Char broilers are generally available at concession equipment stores. Features to look out for include consistent, controllable temperatures throughout the grill, ease of cleaning, and durability. A good grill will last a long time and should handle the abuse of a high-volume restaurant with low maintenance.

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