There are many ways to prepare a sandwich, a piece of chicken, or a few grilled vegetables, but if you have limited space, few ways are more compact and efficient than a panini grill. panini grills take up very little space, provide the convenience of a heavy-duty grill, and only take up a small space on the counter.
Panini grills are most often associated with panini sandwiches, which are inspired by the Italian word "panino." A panino is a simple sandwich of grilled meats and cheeses on a roll or slices of bread. The panini sandwich, on the other hand, has gained a new perspective in other parts of the world as a grilled or toasted sandwich, known for its hot, melty insides and crunchy, grilled bread. Commercial panini grills consist of two grill plates that clamp gently on top of the sandwich or other food item. Grills can be smooth and flat for an all-over even heat, or they can be grooved on one or both sides.
The panini grill is the go-to piece of commercial kitchen equipment for pressing and grilling sandwiches, but they are perfect for chicken, fish, vegetables, burritos and more.
If you think a panini grill would benefit your commercial kitchen operation, check out our recommendations below.
If grill marks are your game, you need a grooved panini maker. The grooves in the grill plate ensure that only the ridged parts of the plate actually touch the sandwich, adding that charred and appetizing grilled look to your fare. It's also an easy way to make chicken breasts or vegetables look like they've been grilled on open flame. These units are a big plus especially if you don't have a big kitchen.
We suggest a grooved panini grill that will get your grill marks going. The Eurodib (GECID4) - 17" Grooved Medium Single Panini Grill
offers a portable and smart-sized unit that makes pressing and grilling easier than ever. The self-balancing top plate is designed to adjust to the thickness of the food and provide even, consistent grill marks. This is especially beneficial if multiple items need to be presented on the same plate. On top of that, the durable cast iron grill plates are rust-resistant and easy to clean in a dishwasher.
If you are pressing grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas or wraps where grill marks are not an essential element of presentation, a smooth panini maker is sufficient for your needs. Smooth grill plates work in the same way as grooved plates, the only difference is the flat surface area.
These grill plates are usually constructed from fine grain cast iron, which is durable and heavy duty. Other materials are available, like aluminum, which is a good conductor of heat but not as durable, and high-end virtoceramic, which is smooth and easy to clean but usually more expensive. The variety of surfaces allows you to choose a surface that suits your cooking and cleaning style, as well as your budget.
If a smooth surface panini grill is up your alley, check out the Vollrath (40793) - 18" Smooth Plate Sandwich Press - Cayenne Series
. This grill fitted with smooth grilling panels, and constructed from cast aluminum, which is an ideal conductor of heat. To add to these great features, the grilling panels include inset heating element channels, increasing the heating efficiency. The simple operation and adjustable handle make this unit easy to use in a range of commercial kitchens.
Sometimes your menu calls for a wider range of grilling options. If so, consider a mixed option panini grill. Often, mixed panini grills are ordered as split top units which offer one top iron as a grooved plate and one as a smooth plate. This combination of smooth and grooved grilling surfaces can be useful when grilling a variety of different food types without having to purchase more than one unit. You will need to specify your grill pattern and top type when purchasing.
Check out this mixed panini grill option from Equipex, called the Equipex (MAJESTIC VC) - 25" Mixed Vitroceramic Panini Grill
. This unit offers the benefit of a wide cooking base with a split grilling top. The top grilling segments can be installed with grooved plates or smooth plates, while the bottom is typically designed with a smooth vitroceramic surface, a durable and non-porous cooking surface that is especially resistant to carbon build-up.
To learn more about choosing a panini grill that is perfect for your commercial kitchen, visit our commercial panini grills
View the video below for more information on the Equipex MAJESTIC VC: