or Connect
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Supplies & Equipment › Smoking Gadgets and Tools.  › Questions about food warmer uses (Cambros, Cateraides, etc.)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Questions about food warmer uses (Cambros, Cateraides, etc.)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I have been accumulating Amazon.com gift cards and have been thinking about getting a warming box. I have done the foil towel cooler thing for a while but since I have the gift cards I was thinking why not make life a little easier and look into one of these. My immediate family alone is 27 people so I am often cooking for big groups and having an easy to use warmer could definitely ease the stress for me. This is the box I am considering:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001PHEIUA/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470686309&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=cateraide+insulated&dpPl=1&dpID=41Jw8MBw%2BZL&ref=plSrch
I just had a few questions that I thought some of you can answer.

1. Do these always have to preheated and if so how? (Boiling water in a pan on the lowest rack?)

2. Do they keep food warm well if they are not completely packed with food?(Sometimes I might just want to keep a couple of racks of ribs or a brisket warm)

3. For meats that you cook to rare/medium is the heat in the box significant enough that you have to calculate for carryover cooking?

4. Are hotel pans a necessity or are reasonably loaded foil pans sufficient?

5. They advertise 4 hours of keeping your food at safe temps but is that just to cover their butts because I've had food piping hot from a well packed cooler for 5-6-7 hours

6. Would the outside temperature affect how warm things are kept (example: would food stay warmer longer if used outdoors on a hot day as opposed to indoors in an air conditioned house)

That's all I can think of for now haha. I stress over my purchases so any advice would definitely be helpful.

Thanks,
Chris
post #2 of 5

That should be a decent unit. As to the questions.....

 

1. Do these always have to preheated and if so how? (Boiling water in a pan on the lowest rack?)

 

Preheating or pre-chilling (of going with cold food) brings the interior to a temp close to what the food temp will be.  Yes, it does help a lot in keeping the food temp stable, but depending on what you are transporting, and what the initial and desired temps are, it may not be necessary.  Easy way to preheat or prechill is turn the unit on it's back and fill with hot water or ice water, then drain just prior to use.

 

2. Do they keep food warm well if they are not completely packed with food?(Sometimes I might just want to keep a couple of racks of ribs or a brisket warm)

 

Yes, but preheating really comes into play then. Again it depends on the temp of the food when put in the container and how long it will be before use.

 

3. For meats that you cook to rare/medium is the heat in the box significant enough that you have to calculate for carryover cooking?

 

Probably not so much an issue with rare/medium, but the higher the initial food temp, the more of a consideration it will be.

 

4. Are hotel pans a necessity or are reasonably loaded foil pans sufficient?

 

Yes, you need ridged pans as the pan is the only means of supporting the food in these.  Foil pans will tend to buckle in the middle from the food weight.  You might be able to get away with foil for some foods, but I would go with solid metal pans with lids.  You can line the metal pans with the foil units for cleanup and if you want to use the foil covers.  But I would not risk transport without a metal pan for support beneath the foil pans.

 

5. They advertise 4 hours of keeping your food at safe temps but is that just to cover their butts because I've had food piping hot from a well packed cooler for 5-6-7 hours

 

I agree, it's probably going to hold much longer than that, but again it depends on the initial food temps.

 

6. Would the outside temperature affect how warm things are kept (example: would food stay warmer longer if used outdoors on a hot day as opposed to indoors in an air conditioned house)

 

Not so much.  It will some, but these are really well insulated and unless you are trying to squeeze every possible minute out of storing & transporting food, I doubt it will be an issue.

 

On a side note.  I have a couple of stainless lined military grade food transport containers made by Sintplast, and the model is GB7.  Insulation is more or less like the container you linked or the Cambro units. We made some mac & cheese one morning for a lunch event, and yes it was still too hot to handle when served 4 hours later, but the noodles apparently continued to cook and had solidified into a large solid like block of mac & cheese!!!!  So issues like this can occur with certain foods in this type of storage/transport container. So my recommendation for any food you have not previously held in this type of container is to do a trial run approximating the time and temps you expect on the day of a catered event.  Better to be surprised on a trial run than the big day.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dward51 View Post

That should be a decent unit. As to the questions.....

1. Do these always have to preheated and if so how? (Boiling water in a pan on the lowest rack?)

Preheating or pre-chilling (of going with cold food) brings the interior to a temp close to what the food temp will be.  Yes, it does help a lot in keeping the food temp stable, but depending on what you are transporting, and what the initial and desired temps are, it may not be necessary.  Easy way to preheat or prechill is turn the unit on it's back and fill with hot water or ice water, then drain just prior to use.

2. Do they keep food warm well if they are not completely packed with food?(Sometimes I might just want to keep a couple of racks of ribs or a brisket warm)

Yes, but preheating really comes into play then. Again it depends on the temp of the food when put in the container and how long it will be before use.

3. For meats that you cook to rare/medium is the heat in the box significant enough that you have to calculate for carryover cooking?

Probably not so much an issue with rare/medium, but the higher the initial food temp, the more of a consideration it will be.

4. Are hotel pans a necessity or are reasonably loaded foil pans sufficient?

Yes, you need ridged pans as the pan is the only means of supporting the food in these.  Foil pans will tend to buckle in the middle from the food weight.  You might be able to get away with foil for some foods, but I would go with solid metal pans with lids.  You can line the metal pans with the foil units for cleanup and if you want to use the foil covers.  But I would not risk transport without a metal pan for support beneath the foil pans.

5. They advertise 4 hours of keeping your food at safe temps but is that just to cover their butts because I've had food piping hot from a well packed cooler for 5-6-7 hours

I agree, it's probably going to hold much longer than that, but again it depends on the initial food temps.

6. Would the outside temperature affect how warm things are kept (example: would food stay warmer longer if used outdoors on a hot day as opposed to indoors in an air conditioned house)

Not so much.  It will some, but these are really well insulated and unless you are trying to squeeze every possible minute out of storing & transporting food, I doubt it will be an issue.

On a side note.  I have a couple of stainless lined military grade food transport containers made by Sintplast, and the model is GB7.  Insulation is more or less like the container you linked or the Cambro units. We made some mac & cheese one morning for a lunch event, and yes it was still too hot to handle when served 4 hours later, but the noodles apparently continued to cook and had solidified into a large solid like block of mac & cheese!!!!  So issues like this can occur with certain foods in this type of storage/transport container. So my recommendation for any food you have not previously held in this type of container is to do a trial run approximating the time and temps you expect on the day of a catered event.  Better to be surprised on a trial run than the big day.

Thanks you so much for taking the time to give me this great advice. Just wanted to know the answers to those questions before I made the purchase. I really do appreciate the time you took to give me such detailed answers.

-Chris
post #4 of 5
Looks like your all set with the questions. If you have some old pillows they can act as insulation when you only have a little food in the box.
post #5 of 5

Dward did a good job answering your questions. I bought 2 Carlisle food keepers that are on a dolly from Craigslist. I stole them at $150 for the set. They are a real asset to have around.

Here they are with pork butts in them. I put them in there to rest overnight before pulling. They are still to hot to pull without gloves on the next day.

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Smoking Gadgets and Tools.
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Supplies & Equipment › Smoking Gadgets and Tools.  › Questions about food warmer uses (Cambros, Cateraides, etc.)