While technically, there may be subtle differences, for most, cheese melters, salamander broilers and finishing ovens are merely three different names that are all used to refer to a single piece of equipment. Those subtle differences, however, can make all the difference in what the equipment is intended to do and how you use it, so knowing the difference between them can be the key to selecting the correct piece of equipment and using it properly. Salamander broilers are typically the most powerful of the units and are used for fully cooking products, typically meats like steaks, pork chops or racks of lamb. Salamander broilers use radiant heat to cook the food in the same way that a charbroiler or an upright broiler does, but they are typically smaller than those units, so they tend to be used more for specialty menu items with light demand or establishments tight on space.
Cheese melters, on the other hand, really do exactly what their name suggests. They melt cheese. They typically use simple calrod or quartz heating elements that quickly heat up to very high temperatures. Whether it’s crumbled blue cheese on top of a steak or the cheese on top of a French onion soup, if all you need to do is melt cheese, caramelize or quickly brown products, a simple cheese melter is the best solution for you. Cheese melters are also frequently referred to as finishing ovens or finishers, and for the most part, they are synonymous. The only major difference is that some finishing ovens have doors or drawers, while cheese melters have open faces.
No matter whether you need a salamander broiler, a cheese melter or a finishing oven, there are several important factors to consider before you select the best model. First is whether the salamander broiler is a countertop unit or one that can be mounted to the range or a wall. Additionally, salamander broilers and cheese melters can run on either gas or electricity, so be sure to select a model that uses the most convenient power source for your establishment.