Steam Kettles: What Works for Me?
Steam kettles are an essential piece of equipment for any high-volume restaurant operation, but many are unsure of how to decide on the right one for their business. There is a multitude of options when it comes to steam kettles, and choosing what works for your restaurant can be overwhelming! Because of the importance of incorporating a steam kettle into your daily operations, it’s essential to choose the right model for your restaurant.
What is a steam kettle?
Steam kettles operate similarly to a braising pan. A large pan or pot is heated indirectly with a large blast of steam, heating the kettle thoroughly while avoiding scorching. It’s, in essence, a self-contained stock pot for large operations and works well for heating sauces, soups, and even delicate chocolate! The pressure of the steam determines the maximum heating capacity of the pot, and the operation can be partially or fully automated.
What are some of the options?
While you may already have a steam kettle in your restaurant, are you sure it’s the right one for the job? Whether you’re looking into purchasing a new kettle or investing in the addition of a kettle altogether, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing what’s right for you.
Jacket: The jacket is what contains the pressurized steam around the kettle, and there are some variations in the jacket itself, depending on the model. Some models have a full jacket, which extends to cover the entire kettle, while others may have a ⅔ jacket. The traditional kettle will have a partial ⅔ jacket, and this allows for the un-jacketed portion to have a spout for easy pouring! For larger, more stationary operations, a full jacket kettle will have a spout at the bottom for easy draining.
Size: From 5 gallons to over 150 gallons, there is a variety of sizes that can accommodate almost any need. ‘The size and volume of your business’s ideal steam kettle will vary depending on two factors: 1. the size of batches being cooked, and 2. the frequency at which it will be used. It is of paramount importance that your kettle is able to cook sufficient amounts of the food product, however, if it is infrequently used (or used for only one or two items), cooking several batches in a smaller kettle will not only save money on equipment but can ensure a better quality product.’
Gas vs Electric: If you’ve had to purchase equipment before, then you knew this option was coming. Generally speaking, gas kettles work well for larger, more stationary pots while electric is usually chosen for smaller, mobile pots. This isn’t steadfast, and you should always take into consideration your energy costs and personal preference as well.
Stationary vs Tilting: All smaller kettles will be tilting and will have a spout, and the larger the pot, the more likely it will be stationary (with a spout at the bottom). If you’re serving chunkier foods, choosing a tilting pot is essential so that your spout doesn’t get clogged!
E Friedman Associates Inc