Selecting a Clamshell – with Lang
By Lee Davis, CFSP
Clamshells have become very popular, especially for takeout, counter service, and fast casual restaurants. But there are several variations, and not every configuration is best for all applications. Selecting the right Clamshell for your operation will help you get the most out of your investment. I talked to Chris Yungbluth, VP of Business Develpoment for Lang, to get some help, information and advice.
Lang offers three different types of Clamshells:
With a Contact Clamshell, both top and bottom griddle surfaces come in contact with the food. Because it heats from both above and below, it cooks in half the time with no need to flip. You get an evenly grilled product on both sides. The Contact Clamshell requires food with a consistent thickness. So, for example, it’s perfect for cooking multiple ¼ lb. hamburger patties all at the same time, or multiple ham and cheese sandwiches at the same time, but probably not both. The Contact Clamshell also features a counterweight that can deliver up to 5 lbs. pressure for that “smashed into the grill” look and taste. It’s electric, features non-stick sheets, and can be sized in 12” increments.
The top of this unit does not directly contact the food. Instead of cooking through contact, the top radiates heat using a Calrod Radiant Element covered by tempered glass. It too cooks in about half the time, but because it features different types of cooking on top and bottom, you may need to flip the product half way through for a consistent finish on both sides. The big advantage to the Radiant Clamshell is that you have the flexibility to cook foods with inconsistent thicknesses at the same time. For example, you can cook ¼ lb hamburger patties, thicker ½ lb hamburger patties, and chicken breasts, all at once. The Raidant Clamshell is also great for rethermalizing and melting. It too is electric and can be sized in 12” increments.
This unit is gas powered and features an infrared cooking element on top. Unlike the other Clamshells, infrared cooking provides that “charbroiled” flavor profile reminiscent of outdoor cooking. It is very popular for steaks, burgers, chicken, and specialty sandwiches like “grilled burritos.” It’s also great for rethermalizing and melting. Like the Raidant Clamshell, it can cook foods with inconsistent thicknesses at the same time. Flipping half way through ensures consistency and it can be sized in 24” increments.
Clamshells allow you to cut grilling time in half, and serve twice as many customers in the same time frame. Whether cooking a single signature item, or a varied menu, Lang offers a Clamshell that will maximize your output with the versatility and flavor profile you need. For more information, go to www.langworld.com.