Monthly archives of “August 2014

Meat Grinder 2
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How to Choose a Meat Grinder

Yesterday, we talked about the advantages to grinding your own meat in the restaurant.  Today, we’re going to talk more about the safety of your meat grinder and choosing the best one for your purposes.

How to Choose a Meat Grinder

What is the difference between 12# and 22#?

The smaller the number, the smaller the diameter of the blade/plate assembly.  The blade / plate assembly determines the number of pounds that the grinder can adequately handle within an hour.  As your number grows higher, so does your production.

How much space do you have?

The size of you restaurant equipment increases with the amount of firepower that you’re bringing to the table.  Make sure that you have the room to fit the meat grinder in the back of your house – else, it won’t get used at all.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

How easy is it to clean your meat grinder?  Are there special screws that you have to mess with, ones that only come with that particular brand?  Do you have to do a song and dance to get any spare bits out of the blades?  Take a look at the meat grinder’s specification sheet to see if there are any potential issues.

Are replacement parts easy to get?

We understand that money is tight in every kitchen.  It’s often faster to replace a few parts in the grinder than it is to simply buy a new one.  Are the replacement parts for your grinder candidates easy to get, or not?

How much Grinding Are You Doing?

If you’re only making a couple hundred burgers a week, you might not need the super-high-powered meat grinder that grinds meat like a jet engine.  Then again, you don’t want to grow a full beard while you’re waiting for a single pound to be done.  The spec sheets of each grinder will give you an idea of how many pounds that it can complete in an hour.

Talk to Your Butcher

After viewing the meat grinder selections, talk with your butcher about the ones that he or she recommends.  You might not be grinding as much as your butcher, but they can turn you on to the quality that’s available.

Check Out Reviews

See what other people think about their meat grinders.  There might be little quirks and bonuses which make one of them quite a lot more valuable than the other.  Finding that workhorse should be no trouble at all after you see what’s out there.

There’s nothing that can beat grinding your own meat in the restaurant.  When you’re looking around, you want to choose the one that’s right for you.  If you have any questions about which meat grinder to choose, give us a call.  We’d be more than happy to help you out.

Meat Grinder
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Benefits of Using a Meat Grinder

We are passionate about the food that we prepare and eat here at Restaurant Supply.  We love it when restaurants take up the farm-to-table cause and create decadent, unique bites.  We know that all of the things that you do are for the customers so you can give them the best food possible for the least amount of money.

Many restaurants out there are content to serve pre-packaged meat, French fries, vegetables, and more to their customers.   While flash frozen is functional, the real way to elevate a restaurant’s food to its highest standard is to make it fresh.  That includes doing as much as possible in-house, like grinding meat.

Thinking about opening a gourmet burger shop?  To command those gourmet prices a meat grinder is absolutely necessary. Why?

Your Meat is Fresher – Fresh meat from the butcher tastes better than what you’ll find in your local supermarket.  You have control over the time that it was ground. The meat itself doesn’t have the chance to sit on the shelf for days on end which means that your diners can experience flavors that they might not have had in the past.

Your Meat Has Fewer Contaminants – Each moment that your meat stays out on the counter, waiting to be packaged or frozen, it picks up bacteria and other contaminants.  In processing plants, the meat from thousands of animals are mixed together to create that ground round or chuck.   While many plants have quality standards,  the more animals in the mix, the more potential exposure to possibly harmful microorganisms.

More Choice Over the Cuts – When you grind your own meat, you get the choice over what cuts that you want in the mix.  You might find that a top sirloin mixed with round might give you the best flavors.

Want Some More Fat? – Instead of the standard that you find in the stores, you can determine the exact percentage of fat that you’re serving your customers.  When that fresh taste shines through, you know that you’re serving some of the best meat in the world.

Make Your Own Sausage – The next step that you can take with your meat grinder is making sausage.  Take all of those odds and ends that you have in your walk in refrigerator and put them all into one place.  Remember that sausage is not limited to merely pork cuts.

When you’re talking about making the best burgers on the planet, it’s time to get a meat grinder so you can make your own patties right in the house.  We’ll be talking a little bit more about meat grinders and their uses tomorrow.

French Fries
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Types of French Fries

Potatoes are so versatile they can be used in nearly everything from appetizers to dessert.  There are an amazing number of potato recipe variations out there, but today we’re going to talk about the French fry. Humble though it may be, the beauty of the potato shines through with these culinary creations.

Buying your potatoes fresh and creating French fries from them will always beat getting bags of frozen French fries delivered to your doorstep. Why is it better to use fresh potatoes?

  1. Customers love fresh and handmade, and they’re willing to pay more for the feeling that someone made those fries especially for them.
  2. You have more choices in how those potatoes are cut.  This gives you the chance to create new styles of cut – ones which are unique to your business.
  3. You have a choice over what types of potatoes that you use when you choose fresh.  Are you going to go with the Yukon Gold? Sweet potato curly fries? All of that’s up to you.

While we’ve seen a lot of fry variations, these are the five standard types of fries that you’ve seen the most in restaurants.  Just remember – even though it’s a simple concept, you can still run the gamut from down home to gourmet.

Home Fries

Home fries offer the best of both worlds between soft and crisp.  Start your fries off by boiling them, then drop them in the skillet when they’re half-done.

Potato Wedges

Potato wedges are normally seen as simple wedges of potato with their skins intact.  The challenge in deep frying these right is to get the outside at the right crispness while making sure that the inside is properly cooked.

Shoestring Potatoes

These potatoes are cut very thin and then deep fried until they’re crispy.  The Steak and Shake chain restaurant serves up shoestrings.

Curly Fries

Delicious, wonderful curly fries.  These are cut in a spiral slicer then deep fried to a golden brown.  They also tend to be heavily spiced, and can come with a phalanx of dipping sauces.

Square Cut Fries

These are your standard square cut fries that you’ll see in most fast food restaurants. Subtle seasoning or bold sauces are what set them apart from each other.

For a little inspiration, here are some of USA Today’s selection of the top French fry places in the US.

  1. The Breslin Bar and Dining Room, New York City
  2. Balthazar, New York City
  3. Hot Doug’s, Chicago
  4. Blue Duck Tavern, Washington DC
  5. Bourbon Steak, Miami, FL
  6. The Spotted Pig, New York City
  7. The Original Hot Dog Shop, Pittsburgh

So, when you’re thinking about root vegetables, it’s time to think about the potato.  Easy to grow, versatile to cook, and wonderful to eat, it’s time to think about potatoes and your next meal of French fries.

Special thanks go out to Scott Ableman on Flickr for the Creative Commons use of his picture.

recycle 1
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4 Things You Can Do With Food Waste

I’m not going to start this blog post by boring you with the fact that there are millions of starving children all over the world.  I’m not even going to tell you that the reduction of food waste lowers the amount of methane emissions in landfills.  I’ll tell you what you want to read: reusing, reducing, and recycling kitchen food waste can save your restaurant money and boost your bottom line.

Donate to Local Food Banks

When you notice that food in your storage bins is about to go to waste or you’ve simply over ordered, the local food bank will be more than happy to accept your kind donation.  Packaged goods will go a long way to feed the homeless and hungry in your area.

Composting

When food composts, it promotes growth by creating an excellent soil.  This soil can be used in a garden of your own, or it can be sent to community gardens or recycling facilities.  Look around in your local area for those who are able to compost your food waste.  In many cases, all you have to do is set up a separate bin in your kitchen and leave it for the truck.

Biodiesel

In some cities, it’s mandatory that oil for your deep fryer is recycled for biodiesel.  In the majority of places that oil is often left to go to waste.  There are, however, services available to take that fryer oil off of your hands – and some will even pay you for the privilege of taking your waste to their facilities.

Food to Animals

When the food is not viable for human consumption, it might be usable for turning into animal feed.  Check your local area to see if there are any places which will pick up your food waste and turn it into feed.  Normally, there is no charge for picking up that food waste, and you’re helping out other people in industry. However, there are some food-to-animals recycling programs which don’t accept meat.

Every pound of food that gets hauled away by a shelter, a recycler, or an animal food producer is a pound of food that doesn’t get thrown into the landfills.  It’s a pound of food waste that you don’t have to pay to have the garbage men take away.   Not only that, but it’s a pound of food that is helping out your community and your environment.

Food Waste
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6 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

In restaurants all over the country, food is being wasted. Restaurants waste a massive amount of food every day, for several reasons. Spoilage, unsold food, and improper preparation are the main culprits. A lot of this can be prevented. Here’s how.

  1. Training and apprenticeship
  2. We’ve been to many restaurants where the phrase ‘trial by fire’ was quite literal. However, this type of training can lead to a lot of food waste. Teaching people how to prepare food with a minimum amount of waste early in their training will keep costs down.

  1. Weighing and Tracking
  2. Weighing and tracking that food waste has been shown to significantly reduce food waste. Make a challenge among your prep staff to see how little they can waste.

  1. Maintenance for all restaurant equipment
  2. If a cooler goes bad or a fryer is too hot, you’ll lose your product. Maintaining equipment like commercial deep fryers, walk-in fridges, and ovens is key to preventing spoilage mishaps. We recommend that you have a trained professional take a look at your equipment on a regular schedule.

  1. Label Your Food
  2. Food spoilage is one of the most preventable types of food waste. How many episodes of Kitchen Nightmares have you watched where Gordon Ramsay tossed the contents of entire freezers because he didn’t know what was in them? If proper food storage techniques are used, like labeling, food waste can be reduced.

  1. Check your orders
  2. Sometimes spoilage happens because too much food gets ordered or the wrong kind of food gets ordered. Make sure that your delivery orders are correct! This is another way to save your restaurant a lot of money.  We understand that it can take a bit of time to inspect all deliveries, but catching one mistake can save you hundreds.

  1. Make sure that your portions are right
  2. Finally, you could have food waste from your customers. This is very common. Offering to-go boxes sometimes isn’t enough. Cutting down on portion sizes is a sure way to save costs throughout the restaurant. More isn’t always better!

You can save hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars a year by reducing the amount of food waste that you have in your kitchen.  By employing some of these practices, you can not only increase your bottom line but help the planet.

Thanks go to Nick Saltmarsh on Flickr for the Creative Commons use of his picture.