Braising pans are among the most versatile pieces of commercial kitchen equipment capable of cooking large amounts of food. A single braising pan can be used to braise, boil, saute, fry, and simmer. It’s as close to a miracle tool as a chef could get.
Does your foodservice business need a braising pan? That depends on whether you need to prepare large batches of food or serve lots of people all at once. It also depends on whether your kitchen has room. Braising pans certainly aren’t cheap, so whether to buy one is not a decision to be taken likely.
Here we’ll review the ins and outs of these incredible appliances.
Sizes of Braising Pans
Also called a “tilt skillet” or “tilting braising pan,” these stainless-steel appliances can cook anywhere from 12 to 40 gallons of food at a time. Smaller braising pans are better for restaurants and hotels that need to regularly cook certain foods — or soups, stews, or sauces — but not in such massive batches. Larger braising pans are more popular with cafeterias, hospitals, and catering businesses that cook for large numbers of people all at once.
Braising pans are large enough that they come with their own metal stands. Countertop tilt skillets with 10- to 16-gallon cook pans are also available.
Why Are They Called Tilt Skillets?
Imagine trying to lift 20 to 40 gallons of food and pour it into a bowl or pan. Pretty heavy, right? That’s why braising pans are built with tilting mechanisms so that chefs don’t need to do any lifting — they simply tilt up the cooking pan and move finished foods into new containers.
Some braising pans have built-in tilt motors; others tilt manually. Either way, these appliances make easy work of an otherwise difficult task.
Braising pans are usually made from non-stick stainless steel, but carbon steel and aluminum models are also available. Tilt skillets have rounded corners and are easy to clean.
When to Use a Braising Pan
Braising pans can be used to cook just about anything, including stew, short ribs, steaks, pancakes, whole chickens, and more. And because tilt skillets can be used in so many ways — for braising, sauteing, boiling, simmering, and frying — there is really no limit on what they can do.
There is no better option if your foodservice business cooks food for large numbers of people. A 30-gallon braising pan can produce more than 250 meals per hour! Restaurants often use smaller braising pans for large-scale food prep. The countertop braising pans are ideal for restaurants with limited available kitchen space.
Most braising pans come with several useful features. Some have drainage valves so that fluids can be drained before they’re moved into containers or pans. Others have valves in the lids that can be opened to vent steam. Braising pans are also sometimes sold with pour strainers; these are especially useful when cooking soup and wanting to pull off broth.
Tilt skillets heat up quickly — up to 350 degrees in as little as 4 minutes — and their bi-metal cooking surfaces heat evenly to eliminate hotspots. Some tilt skillets have interior gallon markings for measuring volume. Other common features include pouring lips, hinged or spring-assisted lids, and pan support holders.
Braising pans are certainly not for every commercial kitchen. Restaurants may find value from smaller-sized tilt skillets, but these versatile appliances really shine when pumping out foods for high volumes of customers. To that end, no piece of kitchen equipment is more valuable than a braising pan.
When looking to purchase a braising pan, price can be a major detrurant. At FSX, we provide discounted pricing on a variety of overstock, discontinued, and scratch & dent braising pan models. Food Service Exchange, or FSX, makes it easy to find these products on sale for well below retail value, meaning you can find the equipment you need without overspending.
To shop our latest deals, click here.