Buying Guide: The Difference between Radiant and Lava Rock Charbroilers

Last updated on May 21st, 2024 at 11:00 am

The primary function of a charbroiler is to cook a variety of foods, particularly meats, fish and seafood, at consistent temperatures. One of the primary benefits of commercial charbroilers is in food presentation. Broilers give food the appearance and flavor of having been cooked on an outdoor backyard barbecue. For the commercial kitchen they offer a high production level with a shorter recovery time.

A basic restaurant charbroiler looks like a firebox with a steel or cast-iron top grate on which the food cooks. Some charbroilers transfer heat via metal radiants made of stainless steel alloy or cast iron, while others use lava rock.

While shopping for a restaurant quality charbroiler, you may ask yourself – what is the difference between radiant and lava rock?

The main difference is the way in which the heat is transferred to the food. On a radiant chargrill the burner is positioned under a cast metal radiant from which the heat is radiated towards the food being grilled. Sub-radiant heating offered with some broiler units reduces gas use and grease fires, while improving the evenness of top grid temperatures. The result is that grease is instead sent down into a trough or tray where it is held until emptied, while some of the drippings from the meat will actually “burn” and provide that chargrill aroma we are all so familiar with.

Lava Rock Charbroilers use a bed of lava rock positioned above the burners to catch and radiate the heat towards the meat above.  The porous lava rock catches and holds the drippings which when heated create that delicious aroma associated with grilling food. Products cooked over crushed lava rock can accumulate large amounts of carbon and grease. Manufacturers recommend replacing elements twice a year.

Both types of charbroilers improve the flavor and presentation of your dishes. Ready to shop? Burkett Restaurant Equipment offers a wide selection of charbroilers from the leading manufacturers. Take a look at our or call a sales representative today!

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Brandon Gallas says:

    Are there small charbroilers that homeowners buy for interior use?