- Fitting the kitchen with the best Tilting Skillet -

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by rhone 7, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. rhone 7

    rhone 7

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    - Fitting the kitchen with the best(used) Tilting Skillet -Hi Equipment People,Thank you all in advance, for any reasonable input-My wife and I are building a small winery in NorCal and would like to fit the kitchen w/ a 30gal (gas) Tilting Skillet for Braises, meat sauces, possibly soups, breakfast griddle food, and grilled sandwiches and the like.My experience with professional equipment is limited to ranges, convection ovens, combis, steamers, etc. but no Tilting Skillets, regrettably.Has anyone worked on different makes of skillets enough to have a preference of one brand over another? I have heard that Vulcan and South Bend are good. At the moment we are considering Vulcan, South Bend, Cleveland & Market Forge.a) If one TS brand, tops at 80,000btu and another has 91k or 100k would you rule out the 80k mfg based on output? While cooking can you observe much of a difference if one pan has 10k more BTU then another?b) Has anyone tried different makes and seen a performance difference between them?c) Are there any differences in features or ergonomics which would make you choose one skillet over another?Most brands are on the table w/ the exception of LoLo since we would like the legs at least 50% covered with skirts and a little more refined look. The TS would be visible to guests. Used, I've seen multiple brands in "like new" shape, so it seems to come down to performance, reliability and features.Thank you, for reading this post and for the input+-sb
     
  2. foodpump

    foodpump

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    I've used many, but unfortunately they were European ones or Australian.  The brands mentioned are good, but the best brand is the one that has a sales rep or factory recommended distributer in your area.

    BTU out put is one thing, material and thickness of the pan are another.  If you want to use the pan for, say eggs or pancakes, you want a thick pan, just like in a griddle.  Cast iron is not a bad option, and I have done stocks and soups in cast iron ts 's with no problem.

    Features?  Covers are standard and a must, pouring spout or "lip" is usually standard too, flexible gas hoses (so you can move the unit to clean ) are supplied by the end user. Electric tilt is nice for larger units, but not really necessary for smaller units--an a p.i.t.a. if it breaks down. Skirts or custom tables can be made by any restaurant or s/s shop.

    It is a very versatile piece of equipment, I've even done deep frying in it.  However, if this will be you your only griddle, and you have a'la carte stuff, you will have to coordinate your production schedule very closely
     
  3. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Most of the brands Vulcan, Southbend  are good and I have used both. I do not like the auto tilt feature as it needs  repair a lot. I prefer the old wheel type. Biggest problem with all of them seems to be keeping ignition or pilot working . They seem to all fail in particular when they get wet. Other then that great thing to have for volume cookery.
     
  4. rhone 7

    rhone 7

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    Hi Foodpump,Thank you, for the reply and for the input. For some reason, I didn't get an email alert when you replied ..so sorry for the very slow reply.Yes, the skillet would also be used for eggs, pancakes, & other breakfast foods. According to the literature, Vulcan has 5/8" thick polished griddle, Market Forge & South Bend the same thickness, and Cleveland a 5/8" thick bead blasted griddle. Not sure which surface releases best with higher temp browning on say short ribs...Do you build up seasoning on the Braisers as you do with cast iron skillet, or how do they release?Thank you, Again,Rhone7
     
  5. rhone 7

    rhone 7

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    Hi ChefEdB,Thank you, for the reply. For some reason, I didn't get an email alert when you replied ..so sorry for the slow reply.My partner wants power tilting, and I'm ambivalent- it sounds like a good feature until it breaks. A couple of these mfg's have both the power tilt and hand crank in case the power tilt fails, you have a back up. RE: ignition system prone to failing. Curious, do any brands seem better or worse for this feature or they are all about the same? We plan to buy one with electronic ignition and it's my understanding from the restaurant supply person is that all new braisers come with this feature, now.Definitely I'm looking fwd to having tilting skillet. Last night I made provencale stew with pork shoulder and olives and I had to brown the meat in 3 batches using a large(13 1/2" wide bottom) dutch oven, so the braiser sounds like excellent tool.Have you tried one with steam on the sides rather then just heat on the bottom?Thanks Again,Rhone7P.S. I'll try to figure out the formatting for cheftalk posts. I'm loosing all my paragraphs and carriage returns...
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Check out GROEN Brand. It is Swiss made  and was the best I ever used, with lowest long term rate of repair. Wheel tilt is better as it does not go on the fritz.Be it electric or manual they both lift using sealed hydraulic like pistons. 

        Electric ignition will go after a  a while . Moisture seems to make it go bad. Groen was the heaviest grade stainless steel.  They are  great for all type cooking . You can even use for a skillet like for potato pancakes or crabcakes and can do about 80 at a time. They are not cheap but last a long time and do a lot of things.
     
  7. rhone 7

    rhone 7

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    Hi ChefEdB,

    Thank you, for the recommendation.

    The Groen does look well made but wonder if the pan configuration isn't the best for our particular application. We would use the skillet as a griddle 2-4 days/ week for pancakes, eggs, etc but then only every couple weeks for braises requiring higher sides.

    The Tub for the Groen is oriented so that it has a narrower profile (left: right) and is deeper(front:back) then the Clevelands, Vulcans, SouthBends, or Market Forges which I”m looking at. The Groen's(BPM-30G) orientation seems like it would make it harder to reach back and flip things as easily because the Groen is ~10" deeper front to back. The walls on the tub are also a little higher on the Groen, 10”, while the Market Forge walls are 7” high, so the MFI seems more like a griddle in terms of access.

    Are those legitimate Ergonomic considerations, though? I'm only going off cut sheets and not hands on so I know my assumptions could be off- that you would not see a difference in ease of use for breakfast foods and sautes.

    Lastly, any feelings on Gas vs Electric? Gas seems like it would be more responsive...

    Many Thanks for the Insights!

    Rhone7
     
  8. johnr

    johnr

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    We have Clevelands models in both the auto and wheel tilts. All I can add is that they have not had any issues despite pretty heavy useage. Occasionally it will not start up which might be a result of an electrical issue but then we just hit the reset button and it then works fine.

    For breakfast items (or using as a grill/griddle) one needs to bend over as opposed to a flat top grill, but the easy clean up of the tilt skillet makes up for the hassle.

    The spout drain is a nice feature.

    The Cleveland we have is not seasoned, food with appropriate fat does not stick much. When I use it for breakfast, (with butter on the pan) scrambled eggs and french toast have no problem releasing.

    The Cleveland we have is stainless (I believe) which gets cleaned after every use but is very easy compared to a grill. Most tilt skilets have both a hose next to it (to fill and clean) and a drain at the floor-so that when one tilts to clean, all the brown water goes into the drain. So you may want to factor the plumbing into the cost.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  9. rhone 7

    rhone 7

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    Hi John,

    Thanks, I appreciate the input.  

    How well do delicate foods release from the stainless griddle if it's not seasoned?  I am thinking of pancakes, fried eggs and sauted veggies.

    The spout seems like it would be helpful for soups, stocks, etc. but a pain to clean.  Do you have to use a bottle brush every time you use the skillet to keep residue out of the spout?  By Spout, I mean one like this guy in the picture:


    Thanks!

    Rhone 7
     
  10. galleycat

    galleycat

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    I have purchased countless tilt skillets presently a few groens and a cleveland all 40 gals. They are great for braising and boiling. I have never had much luck with pancakes or using them as a griddle. First time you boil water you lose the season. Maybe its just us and the large volume that prevents us from using one solely for this purpose but we really can't seem to work it as a griddle. That aside it is indispensable for the other functions. Equipment sellers have them for sale
    For as much as 20k and offer 12k after discount. Used they can be had for 2 or 3 k. I usually buy groen and have become accustomed to the dreaded electric lifts purchasing linear actuators directly makes them reasonable. Stay away from the older jet burner models stick with the more serviceable standard burners. As far as brand I stick with groen because now I try to keep all the same brand and have had great luck with them but I would recommend buying whatever was in
    Good condition for the right price and as always with used equip keep money in the budget for repairs.
     
  11. johnr

    johnr

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    I never tried it for pancakes. French toast, grilled sandwiches are OK. Scrambled eggs with enough fat are OK, and veggies are fine.. although I prefer to oven roast veggies.

    We occasionally use a brush on the drain faucet. The skillet in your pic, I did not see a pour lip at the front which would give you either option to drain (drain faucet is the other).

    Overall, I think as a grill, tilt skillets can get the job done but they are not ideal .. a flat top is probably the better choice ... but I use a tilt skillet instead of the flat top because it saves me the extra time it takes to clean the flat top.

    How many do you usually cook for? There are large removable cast iron type flat tops that go over a range top. Large roasting pans can be used to brown and then into an oven to braise.
     
  12. rhone 7

    rhone 7

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  13. rhone 7

    rhone 7

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    "a flat top is probably the better choice" 

         OK< we'll got with flat top 24"x24" probably SouthBend or Garland on 36" range.  Have you used griddles from either?  We have narrowed the range down to those 2 because you can get them w/o a standing pilot but with electric ignition and flame failure.  Since this is going in Winery with intermittent usage, then those are better options then a standing pilot.

    "How many do you usually cook for?"

       Ha, that's a trick question for our mixed use application.  100+ head for winemaker's dinners but normally cooking for just the family, 2 adults and 4 rapidly growing children.

    Braises would typically be short ribs, lamb shanks, cassoulet.   We are huge fans of roasting veggies & really like our Cleveland Mini Combi.  Ocassionally we like to saute asparagus or greens like spinach or mustards.

    *** Something we have really been wondering about is how well these skillet do with Veal or Chick Stock or Italian meat sauces: Sugo or Ragu.

    Thanks for all the Input!

    Rhone7
     
  14. johnr

    johnr

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    Sorry, I don't actually know the brand of the grill we have.

    Our soups are usually for about 60+-  so about 15 qts. which I can do in either a steam kettle or large stock pot.

    We have one of those low two stock pot burners that I prefer to use for that quantity. I can fine tune a simmer pretty good with it.

    I don't like the tilt skillet much for soups/sauces because it is too large and the liquid evaporates very quickly with that amount in the tilt skillet we have.

    You may also post/question in the main "Food and Cooking" forum on uses for a tilt skillet. You may have more responses there.
     
  15. galleycat

    galleycat

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     They are threaded jets that come right off the gas tube sort of covered if you are unfamiliar with them. It is easier to identify the better more modern ones they have burners that are tubes like in a conventional oven right under the skillet part. lemeeno if im not being clear. 
     
  16. galleycat

    galleycat

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     They are threaded jets that come right off the gas tube sort of covered if you are unfamiliar with them. It is easier to identify the better more modern ones they have burners that are tubes like in a conventional oven right under the skillet part. lemeeno if im not being clear.