How a Flame Grill Can Revitalize Your Product Line

Flame Grilled Chicken

Do your flame-grilled burgers and chicken breasts look and taste less than authentic? Would you like the product inside the package to look just as delectable as the picture on the outside?

Most flame-grilled products aren’t really flame grilled. They are fully cooked first, and then put through a bar marker so they look like they were cooked on a backyard grill.

But there’s a better way.

Using a real flame grill instead of just a bar marker will help you revitalize your product line with both a higher-quality product and a more efficient process.

A higher-quality product

Today’s consumers want high-quality food — better tasting, more natural, less of a “processed” feel. And they’re willing to pay for it.

For most companies, a flame grill means a bar marker — a machine that puts branded bar marks on a protein product after it comes out of the oven.

Unitherm’s flame grill isn’t just a bar marker. It’s a real flame grill that goes before the oven and contributes to the cooking process. Reversing the typical process improves quality in several ways:

  • It seals the product for better flavor. When you grill at home, you don’t cook meat all the way through, and then turn up the heat to sear the meat afterward. You sear the meat first to seal in the juices, and then turn down the heat to finish the cooking. By putting a flame grill in front of the oven, you can achieve this same effect in your facility.
  • It improves the appearance. A bar marker just mimics a flame-grilled appearance. Unitherm’s flame grill has both ribbon burners and a bar marker. You can use just one or the other, but by using both, you can get highlights between the bar marks. This means your finished product doesn’t just have a few bar marks painted on it. It looks authentic because it is authentic.

A more efficient process

A traditional meat cooking process looks like this:

  • The product is fully cooked in a linear or spiral oven.
  • The temperature is checked to make sure it meets the requirements of the facility’s HACCP plan.
  • The product goes into the bar marker.

In this process, the product is already fully cooked before it enters the bar marker. The bar marker adds more energy to the product, which both degrades the quality and reduces yield. In fact, the difference in yield savings gained by grilling pre- vs post oven can be 6-8% improved.

Here’s an alternative:

  • The product goes into the flame grill to seal the flavor and add the bar marks.
  • The product goes into the oven to finish cooking.
  • The temperature is checked to make sure it meets the requirements of the facility’s HACCP plan.

In this process, the energy put into the product during flame grilling becomes part of the cooking process. This increases the efficiency and yields of the line by decreasing both the energy required and the cooking time. This can increase the throughput of the oven by 10-25%.

Traditional process with bar marker Improved process with Unitherm’s flame grill
Time in oven 10 minutes 9 minutes or less
Time in bar marker/flame grill 30-40 seconds 30-40 seconds
Total processing time ~10:30 ~9:30

The results of these improvements can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line — many of our customers have seen demand for their flame-grilled products increase over the past few years. The effect will likely be multiplied in the future as consumers continue to want higher-quality, more authentic foods.

Unitherm’s flame grill is the only machine on the market with both a bar marker and ribbon burners. It can be used for all types of protein products, as well as vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and more. Check out our video collection to watch the flame grill in action.

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