- Do Season the grill before using it for the first time (out of the box). Pre-heat the grill to about 300°F and liberally apply vegetable oil with brush or spray bottle. Close the grill and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes wipe the cooking surface clean with a warm damp cloth. The grill is now ready for use.
- Do Clean the grill daily using hot water and soap. It is best not to let food cook on to the grill, as build up of food on the grill will increase sticking and smoking. In addition, carbon (hard, dark brown "stuff") may build up on the grill surface and reduce the cooking efficiency. (Call the manufacturer for proper cleaning instructions for your grill.)
- Do Keep the grill closed when it is not in use. This will help the grill hold the desired temperature. An open grill will lose heat more rapidly than a closed grill.
- Do Make sure you purchase a grill that will match your needed production capacity. If your demand for grilled sandwiches at lunch is high, then a higher voltage (and wattage) unit may be required. (The higher the wattage means less recovery time is required, giving you faster grilling times.)
- Do Look for a grill with a reliable hinge mechanism.
- Do Talk to your fire marshall before you purchase a grill to find out if a hood will be required for the grill.
- Do Use a grill scraper on smooth surfaces, a stiff nylon brush (for aluminum grills) or wire brush (for cast iron grills) on grooved surfaces. Flat and grooved grills afford operators a great equipment medium for hot sandwich menu development and presentation opportunities.
- Don't Use a non-stick spray. This will create a carbon build-up on the grilling surface. The grill should not require much seasoning while it's in use. In most cases, a light coating of vegetable oil in the morning and occasionally (no more than 3 times) throughout the day will be enough to prevent any sticking. It is not necessary to apply oil before grilling each item.
- Don't Expect interior temperatures of the sandwich to reach 140°F unless the meat is pre-heated. Some operators expect the proteins in grilled sandwiches to reach temperatures of 140°F within a couple minutes of grilling. If you want protein temperatures that high it is recommended to heat the proteins before assembling and grilling the sandwich or to allow longer grilling times.
- Don't Put ice on the grilling surface. Thermal shock will cause cooking platens to crack.
- Don't Use a griddle brick or degreaser to clean an aluminum grilling surface. A stiff nylon brush and hot water and soap are recommended.
- Don't Allow residue to build up on the hinge mechanism. This can cause difficulties raising and lowering the top cooking platen and can decrease the life of the mechanism.
Grill tips provided by Paul Mueller, product manager at Star Mfg., Intl.