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  1. #1
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    Aug 2009
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    Tilt skillets: What's your favorite brand?

    Replacing a Groen NHFP(E)-4. Wondering what brand I should suggest from a maintenance and service point of view.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2008
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    Where I work, we have Groen, Cleveland and Market Forge.

    I prefer the Cleveland units since most of the repairs (of the the controls) I've done to them are accessible from the front. The only exceptions would be getting to the burners or (maybe) having to have side access to replace a gas valve. I also like that their gas burners aren't mounted to the bottom of the skillet, so they're much easier to access for servicing. That and there's no need for a gas trunnion for delivering gas to the burners. Trunnions will eventually leak...and are a pain to repair.
    Cleveland's only downfall is the linear actuator for the power tilt. It has a high failure rate...and is ridiculously expensive to replace.

    As for the other two brands?
    • Groen is okay. Their gas train (on ours) is easy to get to when you raise the pan. The burners are mounted to the bottom of the pan, so there's a trunnion. You gotta have full right-side access to repair the controls.
    • Market Forge is junk. The burners are also mounted to the bottom of the pan. Our two skillets are less than ten years old, but the bottom of the pans (the radiant fins) are crumbling from rust. Their setup for fixing/replacing their high-limit and temp probe is a knuckle-headed design...and is their most frequent problem.


    I haven't worked on any Vulcan tilt skillets in a dozen years, so I can't advise on those due to my failing memory...
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  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Tilt skillets are my favorite type of hotside cooking equipment. There extremely versatile and at the same time pretty basic.

    I haven’t come across a a bad one yet. Fortunately the crap brands like Atosa and what not haven’t began manufacturing them yet. ECtofix does make a good point about models with trunnions and the Market Forge design. There are mostly Cleveland’s in my area and they work just fine. Probably the most robust I’ve serviced would be Vulcan. Groen, Blodgett, Southbend all make a decent tilt skillet.

    Now, I have zero experience with this unit but the Rational VCC (Vario Cooking Center) looks pretty cool. Its certainly not a basic tilt skillet like pretty much every other brand. And I’m also certain that it’s far more expensive too. But it can braise, be used as a huge soup pot, deep fryer
    and even a pressure cooker. I haven’t seen one in person and I’m not even sure they’ve made it to the states yet. Still, looks pretty cool.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2002
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    SE Texas
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    We have two very old Cleveland natural gas tilt skillets. They have to be at least 20, maybe 25 years old. I don't have the model numbers in front of me, but one is a manual hand tilt and one is a power tilt. In the last 8 years, since I've been working there, the manual tilt had a hydraulic fluid leak that was an easy fix and the power tilt had a bad pilot valve. We have a Cleveland SGL model that is about 9 years old and I haven't had one problem with it. We have two natural gas Groens in our high school kitchen. One had a defective actuator which has still not been repaired because the boss didn't want to lay down that kind of money on a part for a unit that didn't get used that often. For my money, I would choose Cleveland for dependability and for ease of access to controls and troubleshooting.
    With your chrome heart shining in the sun, long may you run.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2016
    Location
    Clearwater, Florida
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    Cleveland, We have 3 of them and they are great. Easy to fix, accessible and rarely have problems.

  7. #7
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    Aug 2009
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    Thread Starter
    Thank you everyone for the input. Looks like there is a consensus on Cleveland. I am concerned about the high failure of the actuator that ECtofix mentioned. I had to replace the one on the Groen and the new one lasted less than 2 years.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by FieldGen3 View Post
    Thank you everyone for the input. Looks like there is a consensus on Cleveland. I am concerned about the high failure of the actuator that ECtofix mentioned. I had to replace the one on the Groen and the new one lasted less than 2 years.
    Yep, I'm pretty sure they win the "Best in class" awards or whatever they are called on their tilt skillets, which is a user based voting system, they also happen to not win that for their combi ovens, which I am sure there are reasons for.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanMan812 View Post
    Tilt skillets are my favorite type of hotside cooking equipment. There extremely versatile and at the same time pretty basic.

    I haven’t come across a a bad one yet. Fortunately the crap brands like Atosa and what not haven’t began manufacturing them yet. ECtofix does make a good point about models with trunnions and the Market Forge design. There are mostly Cleveland’s in my area and they work just fine. Probably the most robust I’ve serviced would be Vulcan. Groen, Blodgett, Southbend all make a decent tilt skillet.

    Now, I have zero experience with this unit but the Rational VCC (Vario Cooking Center) looks pretty cool. Its certainly not a basic tilt skillet like pretty much every other brand. And I’m also certain that it’s far more expensive too. But it can braise, be used as a huge soup pot, deep fryer
    and even a pressure cooker. I haven’t seen one in person and I’m not even sure they’ve made it to the states yet. Still, looks pretty cool.
    I had my yearly Rational re-cert last week and I brought up the VCC to the instructor. He said there are only 4 of them in the US currently and there all in Chicago. He also said they require a minimum of 100 amp service! And they cost roughly 4 times the amount of a traditional tilt skillet. Probably not a huge market for the VCC in this country.


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