Natural gas ovens, ranges, fryers and steamers are standard pieces of equipment in many commercial/retail kitchens, and with good reason. The precise heat control and instant on-off switches make them well-suited for the demands of busy restaurants and cafeterias.

Did you know, though, that the way you use your natural gas appliances can affect how efficiently they work? By following a few easy tips, you can help save yourself money, both on operating costs and on maintenance bills.

General tips for natural gas appliances

  • Do a regular visual inspection of your equipment, looking for damaged pipework and connections, missing restraints, castors that don’t lock, or, most importantly, a smell of escaping gas. (If you smell gas, call your gas utility right away, open doors and windows, and avoid lighting other appliances. If the smell gets stronger, evacuate the building and call your utility from a safe location.)
  • Make sure staff is trained to dis- and re-connect the natural gas supply and connectors for cleaning.

Natural gas ovens

  • Make sure your ovens are level, both front-to-back and side-to-side.
  • Fill your oven to capacity whenever possible.
  • Slow roast to prevent meat shrinkage and saves gas.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy and prevent over-cooking.
  • Clean up boil-overs and spills immediately.

Ranges

  • Keep filters and hoods clean.
  • When using open-top burners, regulate the flame to one inch less than the diameter of your pan. This will start food cooking quickly. Reduce flame for simmering.
  • Use flat-bottomed pots to absorb the most heat, and use tight-fitting lids to help conserve heat.
  • Pre-heat solid-top grills for a maximum of 10-15 minutes.

Steamers

  • Cook full loads whenever possible.
  • Keep compartments, gaskets and valves clean and free of limescale buildup.

Natural gas broilers

  • Gas broilers heat quickly (between 90 seconds and five minutes), so you can turn the flame down between jobs and completely off during slack periods.
  • Infrared broilers pre-heat quickly as well, so they can stay off when not in use.
  • For multi-burner broilers, use just a few burners for small jobs and during slow times.

Fryers

  • As a rule, keep temperatures between 325° and 350° Fahrenheit when using high-speed fryers.
  • Remove moisture from fresh food before frying to speed cooking time and avoid greasiness.

Do you use natural gas appliances in your kitchen? How do you ensure you and your staff use them efficiently? Share your suggestions in the comments.

Image credit: markhillary