Commercial grills are some of the most versatile pieces of commercial cooking equipment in your restaurant kitchen. Repair, service and maintenance is needed. They can be used to cook anything from eggs to steak on a single cooking surface without worrying about flavor transfer. However, if that cooking surface is not properly seasoned and maintained, the food coming off of the grill plate will not be very tasty.
Seasoning a Commercial Grill
Food is placed directly on the commercial grill surface to cook, and the only way to assure that food does not stick to the grill plate is to properly season it. In this respect, seasoning does not refer to flavor.
Instead, it is a process by which oil or lard is baked into the metal to create a non-stick surface on which to cook. New grills and those that have been extensively cleaned will require seasoning. Also, if food starts sticking, it is time to re-season the griddle. Follow these steps to season your commercial grill:
1. Wipe the grill surface clean with a lint-free cloth.
2. For new grill: Light all of the burners and turn them on a low setting (around 300 °F) for an hour. Let it cool before proceeding to the next step.
3. Rub cooking oil, shortening or baking soda on the grill with a clean, microfiber cloth.
4. Heat the grill to 350 – 400 °F.
5. When the grill reaches the desired temperature, turn off the grill and allow it to cool.
6. Wipe off excessive oil and repeat steps 3 – 5 one more time.
The need for re-seasoning depends on how often the grill is used, but you can expect to re-season it at least once a week, usually after a weekly deep-cleaning. If the food starts sticking, you will need to re-season the grill more often.
Cleaning a Commercial Grill
A commercial grill needs to be cleaned or scraped frequently in order to maintain cooking efficiency and prevent flavor transfer. The following are tips for properly cleaning a commercial griddle:
• After each use. Scrape the grill clean with a grill scraper each time cooked food is removed.
• After each day. Remove and empty the grease container and clean the grease trough. Also, clean the grill surface with a grill brick. While the grill is still warm, rub it with a grill brick. For stainless steel, rub in the direction of the grain to not damage the surface.
• Once a week. Allow the grill to cool completely and clean the plate with a food-service-grade degreaser. Avoid using soap and water as it can affect the flavor of food. After the weekly cleaning is a good time to re-season the grill if it needs it. Otherwise, coat the plate with a thin film of cooking oil to prevent rust.