As I posted in my other thread in this forum titled "Hello", we installed our new 36" charbroiler on Monday (we are closed Mondays). I fired it up on Monday to season the grates and to be sure it was in good working order....and because I was dying to fire it up..
It worked well for the first 10 minutes or so, then the far right fire pot extinguished itself. For reference, the 36" has 3 pots and two controllers. The left controller controls the 2 pots on the left, and the right controller operates the right pot only. One of our maintenance men tested the circuits and the auger motor is apparently defective. I called Cookshack and they sent one right out..no problem, other than a couple of jobs which it would have been nice to use the whole grill..
We are also closed on Tuesday at noon, so I invited our maintenance team in for a steak lunch. My food salesman brought me a case of steaks and helped me serve them. The first 16 steaks came off well. The maintenance guys were impressed. They are who I call when I have a problem, they are always there with a good attitude and willing to do what is needed so the show can go on..
Wednesday we put the grill to it's first test (of many). I had 3 catering jobs in addition to our regular business...they were all hamburgers. So first we cooked off 150 5-1 burgers, then 135 4-1 burgers, then 38 3-1 burgers, then started our lunch service and served another 15 or so burgers. A total over 300 burgers in 2 hours.
We have, for the past couple of years, served grilled burgers and hot dogs/chicken/etc. buffet style on one Thursday per month at noon. Today was that day. So we made some burgers and some marinated chicken breasts and started lunch service. At 10 after 11am my head cook came out and told me the grill was ON FIRE! When I got back there it was billowing out black smoke and flames were above the grill surface! We unplugged the grill and retrieved the optional hood (which I will cover a little later) and put it over the grill. Apparently the grease from the 300+ hamburgers looked like water in the water pan and the water had evaporated resulting in a grease fire. Once the fire was out, the pans were emptied and refilled with water, and the grill was restarted, we finished the lunch service by serving around 100 burgers and 80 5oz chicken breasts cut in half.
Summary so far: I knew there would be a learning curve for both myself and my staff on this new equipment. The overall flavor and quality of the food is very good...definitely better than a traditional gas charbroiler.
If you intend to use the unit indoors under an exhaust hood, don't waste your money on the grill hood. There was a couple of applications I thought I would like to use the grill hood for. One was cooking salmon and other fish with indirect heat, also cooking chicken on the bone on low heat. The problem is that the hood requires the unit to sit 6-8" from the fire wall under your exhaust hood. Now the grill hood doesn't open completely up which creates a catch for hot air. The exhaust from the grill rises until it hits the wall of hot air under the grill hood, then it diverts out toward the front of the machine at a 45 degree angle. This combined with the distance needed from the firewall results in the smoke coming out of the exhaust hood...it just doesn't work in a kitchen, I am sure it is great if you are using your unit out doors.
Next, the water/grease pans. The failure to clean out the pans was our own fault. The fact that the pans are very difficult to drain could be one area of improvement. It isn't easy for a single person to drain these pans (in fact probably impossible for a smaller person), certainly not without a mess. Some sort of a draining system would be nice for sure.
Overall a great unit. I think once we get use of the other 1/3 of our grill, it will be able to keep up with our demands. We will continue to learn and soon will be second nature I am sure.
I'll post some pics in this thread later.