It has been ages since I have used one of these devices. They are honestly a bit archaic. So why are we talking about them today? Simply because I have learned that these beasts of the commercial kitchen world may actually be a large benefit to a restaurant if used in the right way. Certainly I am not expecting every kitchen in North America to go out and grab one, but in certain circumstances, you may be able to employ the use of a pressure cooker and serve better food more quickly.
Braising is one of the longest processes in the commercial kitchen. It can take hours to get meat tender enough. If you employ the uses of a pressure cooker, you can cut that time in half – or less! The best part about this process is that the taste of the meat does not suffer. This is a great example of how using a pressure based system can be quite beneficial in the commercial kitchen.
Why Does a Pressure Cooker Cook so Fast?
The reason these units are able to push out food so quickly is because they use pressure to help cook food all the way through. In fact, it is generally accepted that meat cooks in about a third of the time when cooked under pressure and vegetables go even faster. It is all due to the average of 15 pounds of pressure than is exerted on food while in the pot. As the pressure increases, so does the temperature of the cooker. It actually adds about 45 degrees Fahrenheit to the temperature of boiling water! I am sure you can imagine the speed increases you will get from being able to cook with that type of temperature.
Pressure Cookers are Energy Efficient Too
That’s right, you heard it here first. Pressure cookers are actually one of the most energy efficient units in your commercial kitchen. Unlike a stove top, oven or grill, pressure cookers lock in all the heat they produce. This means that less heat or energy is required in the cooking process. It also holds an advantage to the type of meat you can cook well. Typically, a commercial kitchen owner would be required to scrutinize the meat that they plan to serve. Since a pressure cooker produces more heat in a moist environment, lower quality cuts of meat can cook just as well. During certain times of the year, this may be the only way to help keep the quality of your food as high as possible.
Is a Pressure Cooker Right for My Kitchen?
Honestly, this is a question I will not be able to answer. There certainly seems to be a place for these units in many restaurants or commercial kitchen settings. It also must be noted that these units are fairly in-expensive when you are talking about commercial kitchen equipment. Unlike many pieces of commercial cooking equipment, buying one of these just to try out may be a smart idea. You might be surprised at how often you actually find yourself pulling it out.