How do restaurants hold long cooked food?

Joined May 2, 2016
This question may be answered already, I've searched many different ways of wording it but couldn't find the answer to my curiosity. How does a restaurant hold food that requires longer to cook? Like for example low and slow BBQ, like ribs, brisket ext. Or braised meat like beef short ribs, shanks and other similar stuff? Anything that requires a lengthy amount of time that you cannot do in service to order. Where i work, ribs we grill off, portion then either throw in the steamer for a little bit and BBQ them or will toss in the oven with sauce till hot and ready. Short ribs cook them off ahead of time, hold a few in the sauce in the steam table, an amount we estimate we will sell and the rest are in the either a reach in fridge or the walk in till we are either out of it or passes a week then we toss them and do new I personally don't know any other way being my first kitchen I've worked in, been there going on 4 years now, that's all my experience. Id like to know how others do it, and if what I've been shown how to do it is not the best way. If this question or anything on it has been answered before please link it for me. 
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Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Individual servings are braised, removed from liquid, chilled, and reheated in the liquid.

Large roasts are basically held in a low oven.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Altho the preparation of the pork ribs is not how I would do it your customers are ordering them often enuf to keep on the menu so obviously they like them.

My only problem is the amt of time you are holding your short ribs....

I will be the first to admit some dishes taste better after one reheat but holding for a week seems a bit long unless of course you are freezing by portions (and never ever refreeze with plans to thaw again right?).

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Joined Jan 25, 2013
for the pros out there, what is the longest time you would hold fully cooked proteins in the refrigerator?  small portions, air tight packaging
Joined May 2, 2016
Well thank you for your insight everyone. Usually when I say a week its normally Wednesday to Sunday. The main kitchen isnt open all 7 days like the mezz bar kitchen and thats bout how long we hold the short ribs. Sunday if they aren't sold they're given to the staff or tossed. When we freeze almost anything. Its raw and in flat portions. But, im no professional. Only got 4 years experience, still learning.
Joined Jan 15, 2017
for the pros out there, what is the longest time you would hold fully cooked proteins in the refrigerator?  small portions, air tight packaging
5 days.. but 2-3 if you want it to still have decent quality.

Example. Cooked chicken breast. 2-3 days reheat and serve.. 3-5 day, cut it up and turn it into something else
Joined Feb 7, 2017
I'll cook most of these proteins sous vide. I will cut down the larger meats, season and sear, then cryovac with certain liquid/seasonings.
Joined Aug 15, 2003
A vacuum sealer extends the shelf life of most things by a lot. We can keep most of our sous vide cook/chill portioned proteins in the fridge for 2 weeks with no loss of quality. They almost never sit around that long (we go through them too fast) but they can if we need them too. 

Sous vide has the added benefit of pasteurization (in addition to the low oxygen environment) so the shelf life is considerable. 

I knew a chef who covered all his proteins in oil in 6th and 3rd pans in the lowboy to remove oxygen and extend shelf life. I guess it worked OK, I dunno, but it was a pain in the ass to pull the stuff out and wipe it down every time I needed a steak or whatever. Luckily he was gone after a couple days and I was able to quickly 86 that particular method. He swore by it though...
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