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Alto shaam smoking combi

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


I'm setting up a new restaurant kitchen where I need both a decent combi oven and a smoker. Unfortunately it's a pokey little kitchen and I don't have room for both. I have a bradley digital smoker and my only solution so far is to keep it in a storage room and bring it out to get my smoking done, clean it up and put it back in the store… not ideal obviously.


I've recently found out about the alto shaam combitherm which has the ability to smoke as well as all the normal combi oven stuff. (why don't they all do that?, It's a great idea.)


Does anyone have any experience of this combi, or even alto shaams in general? While I don't expect it to be as good as a Rational is at least decent?


Thanks for any help.

post #2 of 11

The problem with it is that if you use it for any amount of serious smoking it will never clean up enough to not give your other delicate foods a smokey taste.


For some people that is a good thing - others not so much.


It's really up to you.   Can you get by with a stove top smoker?



"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold





"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold


post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately not, I'm going to be smoking quite a lot of stuff, hot and cold, so a need a good size and controlability.


I did wonder if cleaning might be a problem, the company who imports them said a quick clean won't do it but a full cleaning cycle would. I was a little dubious about that as I currently have my bradley in my office next to me and I feel like I'm working in a smoke house even after my KP spent an hour cleaning the damn thing.


I suppose I should resign myself to getting a bit of exercise moving the smoker to and fro wink.gif

post #4 of 11

I'd guess it really depends on what and how much you are making of different items.  Considering that smoking is typically a much longer process than steaming, and far messier and requires significant ventilation, I'd probably be more concerned with the smoking than the steaming.  


No room for a countertop steamer?  You could almost certainly get a quallity smoker and a quality steamer (or combi oven) for the price of the combi oven/smoker/steamer...those things look ridiculously expensive.   


Are there other methods you can utilize to make the things you are wanting to steam?  Would you be concerned about getting some smokiness into the things you are wanting to steam?  A little smoke flavor on some rice or some veggies might not be a bad thing...so the issue of residual flavors in the combi oven might not be a real issue.


What about setting up a smoker outdoors?  Would that be a possibility given your location and health code requirements?


Is there an indoor location aside from the kitchen that would work for either the smoker or steamer?  An indoor smoker would need ventilated, but might not need under ansul or under hood depending on your local codes and the smoker used.  An indoor steamer probably doesn't need to be under hood or ansul, so as long as the location its in is sufficient for health code purposes and you can get a cold water line to it it should be ok.


Probably what you would want to do is sit down and chart out all the things you are wanting to produce, the methods to produce them, the time involved, and any alternative methods of producing them.  Basically, take stock of what you are wanting to do.  Then look at the resources you have...space, time, money, labor...which ones you are short on and which ones you are long on.  Then figure out how to best use your resources to produce the things you want.  Maybe this means finding a different method of cooking something to fit everything in.  Or taking something off and/or replacing it with something else.  Or purchasing a piece of equipment you haven't quite considered yet, or going ahead and getting the combi smoker.  Or restructuring your scheduling to get certain things made at different times.  


All in all I'd probably be more concerned with having a quality smoker than worrying about a steamer.  The time and labor saved with a commercial smoker vs pulling out a bradley would be immense.  And unless theres some very specific things you are wanting to steam that just can't be done any other way, you can probably find a substitute method of cooking for the steamed items, or just jury rig something on the range or in the oven for when you need to steam.  With smoking its nowhere near as easy to do that, given the cook times involved and the issues of ventilation, cleanliness, and maintaining smoke and temps (especially for cold smoking).  So given the difficulties involved with smoking vs the ease of steaming I'd be much more concerned with having a good commercial smoker than a steamer or combi.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for your help fellas, I only just discovered this forum and I'm loving it already.


Smoking is a fairly big part of the menu but I'm using it for small things that don't need a lot of time for the reason that I couldn't figure out any way to get it in the kitchen as a fixture. Therefore my menu is currently tailored to smoking before lunch service for the day, that way I can get the smoker away or clean up the combi for service. That's why I went for the bradley to be honest, you can take it apart and it's fairly light to move about.


I don't know if you know London in the UK at all but we are luckily enough to live in a city where at least 90% of the restaurants are not built for purpose, just crammed into old buildings where they could fit them. Generally kitchens are in the basement (who needs to see sunlight anyway?) and as small as whoever first built them thought they could get away with. In the new restaurant my cooking range for an 80 seater dining room is big enough for an oven, a 4 top hotplate, a double fryer, a griddle and a small table for my water bath, literally not another inch for anything else. I see some American kitchens on TV that are bigger than my entire restaurant, so jealous lol.gif No outside space either.


My reason for going with a combi is more about fine temperature control and a level of humidity control than actual steaming, I'm even looking at not having a normal stove with an oven as I find them too damn inexact to bother with. I'll just go with a cooking range and free myself up a little storage space underneath.


I'm now toying with the idea of getting a smaller oven to do my pastry work in to avoid any smoke taint, I wouldn't worry too much about residual smokiness for anything else really. This could be on a shelf on the pastry section away from the hood so it wouldn't impact on my range space. I've barely started on the desserts for the menu yet so I can tailor those to fit the situation. Thinking about that though, a smoked soufflé could be interesting...


As I write this I'm leaning more and more to that solution, if nothing else the thought of making the KP spend 30 minutes plus cleaning out the smoker every day before we can put it away just as we getting geared up for service seems like a disaster waiting to happen. From what I've seen on TV (mostly diners drive-ins and dives I'm ashamed to say wink.gif) American BBQ joints tend to just let the smoke residue build up so the smoker is black inside but I'm damn sure the health inspectors that inspect us here would never let me get away with that, they'll want to see shiny metal inside.

post #6 of 11


please contact me via email as I'm a chef for Alto-Sham and don't want to start a commercial for ovens on this forum.

I can give you the straight truth about a combi smoker, how it works, how it cleans up and what it can and cant do.

sincerely, Roberts@alto-shaam.com

post #7 of 11

I would think that the people at Alto-Sham have the flavor carryover thing covered.  Most of their ovens are all Stainless steel so with a good cleaning I would think there would be little carry over.  Alto-Sham makes excellent equipment.

post #8 of 11

I have an Alto Sham Combi Oven in my kitchen (smoker,steamer,retherm,convection) it works like a dream. All you do is run the cleaning cycle after you have applied degreaser to the oven and voila its clean no smell at all. I also rinse it out after the cleaning.

post #9 of 11

The earlier commentary about smoke transfer from the Alto-Shaam Chef and others is the "company" line we were given, but in practical terms, conducting a deep cleaning when I need the oven to be cooking just did not work for us and the flavor transfer is still present.  We sold ours, got a stand alone Cook Shack smoker and a stand alone combi, I know you don't have the room, but if you want to do it right, you HAVE TO keep the smoking process separate.

post #10 of 11

hi Chef Ray, i would like to talk to you further about your alto-shaam smoker combi. pls email me at roberts@alto-shaam.com


post #11 of 11
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