Commercial Braising Pans 101

Chefs tasked with cooking large batches of food often turn to one key piece of foodservice equipment: the braising pan. This incredibly versatile unit, used in many high-volume operations, saves both time and space with no sacrifice in food quality. Let’s take a closer look at this all-around performer guaranteed to be a useful addition to any commercial kitchen.

What is a Braising Pan?

Also called “tilt skillets,” braising pans enhance commercial kitchen productivity thanks to their multi-tasking capability and flexible design.  What makes braising pans so uniquely suitable for cooking an amazing array of foods? A large tilting cooking pan not only speeds-up food production but makes transferring cooked items from the skillet into a serving pan or storage container a snap.

Braising pans come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes, and are suitable for either countertop or freestanding use, depending on the size of the model. Smaller braising pans start at 12 gallons while larger freestanding units may hold up to 40 gallons!  Models in the 30 to 40-gallon range are particularly popular with commercial kitchen operators.

Braising pan features may include durable non-stick stainless steel surfaces, coved corners for easy cleaning, temperature controls and optional motorized lift.  Available draw-off valves also permit the straining of oils and pouring of liquids from the cooking pan.  Braising pans are generally electric or gas powered with some units mounted to a heavy cabinet base for years of dependable service.

The Many Uses of Braising Pans

Braising pans are often used, as their name implies, for braising or browning food items. Their high-efficiency, high-output design makes them uniquely suitable for bringing out full flavors while reducing cooking times and increasing batch consistency.

But braising is far from all that braising pans do. Commercial cooks also use them for everything from sautéing and simmering to boiling and frying. From soups to sauces to whole chickens, there’s pretty much nothing a braising pan can’t cook. Not only that, but their size and design allows for high-volume cooking when serving large crowds is the order of the day – the braising pan is any high-volume kitchen’s star performer.

Because of their many advantages, braising pans are used in a wide range of commercial cooking settings, including hotels, hospitals, schools, and government organizations. Simply put: There’s no better way to cook and prepare large amounts of food in high-volume settings — an opinion echoed by the experts.

As Marenic Food Service Consulting Principal John Marenic told Foodservice Equipment and Supplies Magazine, “From an investment perspective, a tilting skillet is like having three pieces of equipment in one. What many people don’t realize is that, with the right attachments, these units can be put to work for things like creating retail sauces, which can generate extra income. Anything that can be done in a kettle can be accomplished in these units. From a design perspective, [due to their versatility], these units can help save space.”

Vulcan commercial braising pans offer more standard features than the competition, including a tapered cooking pan with embossed gallon and liter markings that will never wear off, coved corners for easy cleaning and a satin non-stick finish.  The sealed tilting mechanism features an anti-jamming design to ensure that the cooking pan lifts and lowers whenever needed.

Cooking large amounts of food doesn’t have to mean turning out an inferior product or dealing with the mess caused by using multiple stockpots and pans. With braising pans, high-volume kitchens gain a best-of-both worlds solution: the ability to produce heaping amounts of hot, flavorful food without taking up excess time or countertop space.