Burgers: Chargrill vs Flattop

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by redbeerd cantu, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. redbeerd cantu

    redbeerd cantu

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    This is a question of practicality for me. I'd like to ask for your input as I am in the final stages of planning the layout for my food truck.

    Why would anyone cook a burger on a flattop if a grill is available? I couldn't fathom using a flattop if a grill is in the building. There must be a reason that one would, as I have seen it done.

    Any input would be appreciated.


    RedBeerd
     
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  2. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

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    Pros of flat top cooking over grill:
    -No flare ups (creates less smoke filling up a small space like a food truck)
    -Faster cooking time (burger press)
    -Uniform shape (burger press)
    -Multi task cooking (vegetables, bun, ect. that could go on the burger)
    -General easy cleanup
    -Moist burger
    -Don't have to worry about burger pieces falling off in between grill grates

    As a disclaimer I almost exclusively cook my burgers in the summer time over a charcoal weber outside but this list is more for why you would ever consider one over a grill in a commercial food truck setting.
     
  3. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    I know some people like a burger cooked on a flat top I also can't fathom why anyone would do so if they have a grill/broiler. The flavor is so much better when you cook over flame, even just gas.
     
  4. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Food trucks are special cases. Like Seoul Food pointed out, the flat top is far better for multitasking multiple things at once. So, I suppose the balance of the your menu would have something to do with your choice.

    But, I have seen food truck owners solve the dilemma between flat tops and grills by simply packing a gas or charcoal grill and setting it up outside the back door of the truck. In the summers, especially where I live where its 90+ from 5/1 to 10/1, I have seen portable flat tops and grills set up outside the truck next to one another because the heat they generate inside the truck is unbearable.

    If it were me, I would do both. Nothing sells like a burger perfectly cooked over flames. It would almost certainly pay for the salary of the person you hire to run the grill and you get the best of both worlds.

    Good luck. :)
     
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  5. halb

    halb

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    McDonalds vs Burger King? :)
     
  6. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Well theres certainly a descernable difference in taste, just as there
    is in the meats youre using. But redbeerd you said it yerself,
    its a matter of practicality. Especially in a closed in truck environ.
     
  7. chefross

    chefross

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    Don't kid yourself about Burger King....that flavor you taste is chemicals NOT grill flavor........
     
  8. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    We all know liquid smoke....
    but liquid grill? lhmm...
     
  9. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Liquid grill?

    That’s the stuff you scoop out of the d/w draining basket after you run the grill grates through....right?
     
  10. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    While I admit that generally I prefer a grilled burger, a burger, properly done on a flattop is a thing of beauty. Smashed directly on the flattop and cooked so that you get all those crispy edges and a nice juicy burger. I actually think it is harder to get a properly done burger on a flattop, but a really appreciate those cooks that can do it.
     
  11. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    Smash burger are all the rage for a reason, because they are Friggen' delicious! I prefer that awesome crust you get on a flattop over the char that comes with a grill.
     
  12. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    The trick that has worked best for me on the flattie, is around half way cooked,
    start moving it around a bit on the griddle as it finishes.

    @foodpump...well at least theyre recycling.
     
  13. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I've never seen a front line without a flat grill. I've also had both flattop grill and flam broiler. When it comes to a food truck that may have an issue with space having a more versatile use appliance is necessary. You'll get much more use with a flat top grill than you'll ever get out of a flame broiler. Nothing wrong with burgers coming off of a flattop......
     
  14. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    I don't hate a burger cooked on the flat but I'd never take one over a broiled burger. Yet I know a fair number of people that do prefer it that way. Strokes for folks. Being a burger fan I'll never turn down a decent burger though.:cool:
     
  15. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    I'd rather have a flat grilled burger over one done on a gas charbroiler. Flat tops aren't practical for a thicker burger, but a good sear ron a flat top has more flavor than burnt gas. Gas charbroilers just remind me how much better something cooked over charcoal or wood tastes.
     
  16. redbeerd cantu

    redbeerd cantu

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    Wow. I am genuinely surprised at the amount of y'all that prefer griddle burgers. I would think that char and smoke would be the universal components of flavor profile preferred.

    I cook burgers at my job and it is on a flattop, but when I make myself one, it chose straight on the grill. You input has given me and idea. My food truck menu has various burgers. I will do the American burgers on the flattop and the others on the charbroiler. This will add an extra level of distinction between my burgers.

    Thanks again, y'all. You have never failed to enlighten me or leave me feeling unfulfilled.

    Redbeerd
     
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  17. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

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    I don't know if it's necessarily preferring one flavor over the other so much as answers to your question as to why logistically a flat top would be used, specifically in a food truck setting. Let us know how splitting up the burgers works. From a cooking standpoint it seems like a point of service that could end up being tricky with keeping orders and cooking times straight, not to mention ease if the flat top and grill are not near one another. But I will agree that not everyone likes a smokey burger, especially since a lit of people equate burgers with fast food. Good luck!
     
  18. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Ultimately, it’s the customer who will dictate if a burger should be grilled or not....
     
  19. Mischief

    Mischief

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    There are 2 basic reasons one would prefer a burger on the flat top. One, it gets to cook in it's own fat/juices. Two, it has more surface area contact creating the char or caramelization evenly over the entire burger. This caramelization is known as the Maillard Reaction and adds a ton of flavor. Obviously, this can be achieved with both techniques but for a nice even char, the flat top is preferred.
     
  20. redbeerd cantu

    redbeerd cantu

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    "From a cooking standpoint it seems like a point of service that could end up being tricky with keeping orders and cooking times straight,"

    My time on the flattop for our brunch service has taught me a ton. My mantra has become, "there's a time and a place for everything", literally. Teaching my brother how to do it will be an issue, as he's never cooked for a mass.

    "...not to mention ease if the flat top and grill are not near one another."

    I plan on acquiring a griddle/grill combo for just that issue.

    grill griddle combo.png