For kitchens that put out a great yield of soup or anything that contains liquid, a large stockpot is indispensable. Today’s versions are called steam kettles and do the same job with greater productivity, convenience and energy efficiency. Steam kettles cook by induction and have an outer wall to contain raw steam that provides even heating to food inside the kettle. Some may come with additional connections for cold water where the kettle first cooks food and then chills it. With devices to measure water flow into kettle, cooking timers, automatic valves that control cooking and chilling or mixers, the kitchen crew is free to do other tasks instead of watching over the pot.
Tilting and Stationary Kettles
The tilting function makes it simpler to pour out large volumes of food and ranges in size up to 100 gallons. Generally fitted with a hand-operated wheel to tilt it, the kettle can also feature an electric motor for the job. By counterbalancing the kettle, it is able to stop and remain in any position when tilted and a pouring lip ensures direct pour into serving containers. In larger sizes, a tangent draw-off valve is present at the bottom of the kettle for draining food, for example, spaghetti before decanting.
Direct Steam Kettles
Steam is supplied from an external boiler, making the design of the kettle simpler. However, it needs maintenance of a daily and manual “blown down” process to eliminate condensation build-up in the steam supply line although some models have a system that automatically settles the condensate.
With a closed steam system, steam is supplied by a gas or electric boiler contained in housing on the kettle’s stand. While the design comes across complicated, it allows steam kettles to be used in kitchens of any size without configuring gas and electrical plumbing. It is also easy to maintain with a sight glass to inspect water level while the jacket will only require occasional manual venting or refilling.
Lower capacity steam kettles of less than 10 gallons can be found in countertop models and are either gas heated-, electric-heated or direct-steam configurations. This style of steam kettles can be either stationary or mounted for purposes.