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Types of Cook and Hold Ovens

Capable of cooking, rethermalizing, and holding, a good cook and hold oven will immediately become one of the most dynamic and cost-saving pieces of equipment in your kitchen. With its low-maintenance, set it and forget it design, you'll find yourself with much more free time to tend to the other demands of a busy kitchen.

Restaurant Equipment

What is a Cook and Hold Oven?

Cook and hold ovens remove much of the work of preparing large portions of food. They cook food at low temperatures until the proper internal temperature is reached through a penetrating probe, or until the timer tells it to switch into holding mode. When the oven enters holding mode it reduces temperature and holds it at the ideal safe serving temperature so it is ready to serve.

This method of cooking eliminates the necessity to constantly check on meats and other foods to make sure they are not overcooking, thus saving on time and labor while improving quality and consistency. 

Cook and Hold Oven Styles

Cook and hold ovens are capable of utilizing multiple cooking styles. While some are able to tackle numerous methods, others are specialized towards just one. Before purchasing, it is helpful to know what each style brings to the table and how each could benefit your specific business.
Restaurant Equipment

Cook and Hold Ovens

  • Low and slow method accounts for 15-20% less shrinkage of meat
  • High humidity cabinet provides more moist end product
  • No venting required (in most locations)
  • Auto-hold setting is low maintenance

Restaurant Equipment

Rethermalization Ovens

  • Completely heat-up precooked foods to serving temperature
  • Slow convected air seals in natural juices
  • Can also be used for slow roasting
  • Rethermalization feature is great for batch cooking

Restaurant Equipment

Smoker Ovens

  • Wood chip container adds real wood flavor to meats
  • Built in smoke timer adjusts "smokiness" level
  • Can cold smoke fish and cheese
  • Add smoked items to your menu without a seperate smoker

Cook and Hold Oven Cabinet Styles

Cook and hold ovens come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Regardless of your kitchen's needs in terms of space and cooking volume, there is sure to be a cabinet style for you.
Restaurant Equipment

Undercounter

  • Holds up to 100 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 31-34" tall
  • Low-profile height allows unit to be slid under counters and work tables to save on space
  • Casters simplify moving the cabinet for cleaning and maintenance

Restaurant Equipment

Half Height

  • Holds up to 150 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 40-48" tall
  • Compact design saves on vertical space
  • Can be stacked with a second holding cabinet

Restaurant Equipment

Countertop

  • Holds up to 36 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 12-14" tall
  • Great for small batch cooking
  • Compact design takes up minimal counter space

Restaurant Equipment

Pass-Through

  • Holds up to 240 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 73-75" tall
  • Doors on both sides make loading and unloading easier
  • Individual timers and thermostats for each section
  • Perfect for operations that load from the kitchen and unload in serving area

Restaurant Equipment

Full Height

  • Holds up to 300 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 73-82" tall
  • Two section design allows for simultaneous cooking of different foods
  • Double the cooking potential in a singular unit footprint
  • Individual timers and thermostats for each section

Restaurant Equipment

Food Holding Safety Considerations

When it comes to food safety there is no room for error. It is very important to know what holding temperatures must be maintained for food after it is done cooking and to stay out of the "danger zone." Fortunately, cook and hold ovens remove the guess work and automatically drop to the proper holding temperature after the cooking period is finished, as established by the penetrating thermometer probe. 

What are Recommended Holding Temperatures?

Meat

FOOD
HOLDING TEMPERATURE
Beef Roast (Rare) 130°F / 54°C
Beef Roast (Med/Well Done) 155°F / 68°C
Beef Brisket 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Prime Rib (Rare) 130°F / 54°C
Steaks (Broiled/Fried) 140°F-160°F / 60°C-71°C
Ribs (Beef Or Pork) 160°F / 71°C
Veal 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Ham 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Pork 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Lamb 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C

Poultry

FOOD
HOLDING TEMPERATURE
Chicken (Fried/Baked) 160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C
Duck 160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C
Turkey 160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C

Fish / Seafood

FOOD
HOLDING TEMPERATURE
Fish (Baked/Fried) 160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C
Lobster 160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C
Shrimp 160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C

Misc.

FOOD
HOLDING TEMPERATURE
Casseroles 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Dough (Proofing) 80°F-100°F / 27°C-38°C
Eggs (Fried) 150°F-160°F / 66°C-71°C
Frozen Entrees 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Hors d'oeuvres 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Pasta 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Pizza 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Potatoes 180°F / 82°C
Sauces 140°F-200°F / 60°C–93°C
Soup 140°F-200°F / 60°C–93°C
Vegetables 160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Restaurant Equipment

Why is Humidity Good for Meat?

Along with low-and-slow cooking, another factor of cook and hold ovens that creates a delicious end product is added humidity. Everyone can agree that meats taste better when they are moist and not dried out. A lot of flavor is contained within the meat's natural juices, and losing those juices is a detriment to the quality of the finished product. 

Some cook and hold ovens include hot water heaters that create steam and add moisture into the cooking cabinet. This full control over humidity allows for foods to be ready to serve at not only the ideal internal temperature but also the perfect moisture content. 

Restaurant Equipment

What is Low and Slow?

Cook and Hold ovens utilize a "low and slow" cooking style. What this means is that instead of cooking food at a high temperature for a short period of time, these ovens cook their contents at a low temperature for long periods. The benefit of this is that when meats and other foods are cooked slowly, they lose a lot less juices and experience minimal shrinkage.

Foods cooked in a standard convection oven may shrink as much as 30%, however when cooked in a low and slow cook and hold, you may experience as little as 5% shrinkage. Not only does this give you a better and juicier end product, you also greatly increase your yield, saving on overall food costs. 

Pan and Tray Holders

Each cook and hold oven will include either shelves, slides, or both in order to hold your pans and trays of food.
Restaurant Equipment

Shelves

  • Wire style provides better heat circulation to food
  • Can slide all the way out for easier loading and unloading
  • Able to hold smaller pans that will not work with slides
  • Grid design is more difficult to clean 

Restaurant Equipment

Slides

  • Capable of holding full size pans of food
  • Open style allows all drips to fall into drip tray
  • Reduced hot air circulation
  • Not ideal for smaller pans

What Size Cook and Hold Oven Do I Need?

To determine which size cabinet is best for your operation, consider the below table on how common meats translate to actual poundage.

Food Capacity
Beef Brisket 3 Roasts
Prime Rib 2 Roasts
Beef Tenderloin 6 Tenderloins
Pork Chops 4 Half-Sized Sheet Pans
Ham (Cured and Smoked) 4 Hams
Pork Loin 4 Roasts
Chicken (Whole) 4 Chickens
Turkey (Whole) 2 Large Turkeys
Salmon Steaks 28-32 Steaks

To determine which size cabinet is best for your operation, consider the below table on how common meats translate to actual poundage.

Food Capacity
Beef Brisket 6-8 Roasts
Prime Rib 6 Roasts
Beef Tenderloin 15 Tenderloins
Pork Chops 4 Full-Size Sheet Pans
Ham (Cured and Smoked) 8 Hams
Pork Loin 9 Roasts
Chicken (Whole) 18 Chickens
Turkey (Whole) 5 Large Turkeys
Salmon Steaks 60 Steaks

To determine which size cabinet is best for your operation, consider the below table on how common meats translate to actual poundage.

Food Capacity
Beef Brisket 12-16 Roasts
Prime Rib 12 Roasts
Beef Tenderloin 30 Tenderloins
Pork Chops 10 Full-Size Sheet Pans
Ham (Cured and Smoked) 18 Hams
Pork Loin 18 Roasts
Chicken (Whole) 54 Chickens
Turkey (Whole) 12 Large Turkeys
Salmon Steaks 150 Steaks

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