thermometer calibration log

What Data Do You Need to Record in a Thermometer Calibration Log?

Good record keeping is an essential part of any smokehouse or dehydrator thermometer calibration.

The ability to review temperature differences, comments from previous calibrations, who performed the calibration, and if the thermometer needs to be replaced is essential to any HACCP program — and will save you the headache of trying to track down the data later.

If you’re cooking product in a smokehouse, dehydrator, or steam cabinet, getting your team in the habit of calibrating thermometers on a regular basis and recording the results is a must!

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chain driven dampers

3 Reasons to Avoid Chain Driven Dampers in a Smokehouse

Chain driven dampers were the industry standard for decades when it came to “controlling” the breakpoint in an industrial smokehouse or dehydrator.

If you have an older oven, or one manufactured in Europe, chances are the dampers are driven and kept at a 90 degree angle from each other using chains and sprockets.

While this design was revolutionary in the industry when it was first introduced, new technology and updated designs have made chain driven dampers a thing of the past — and a very ineffective way of controlling the breakpoint in an oven.

In order to understand why chain driven dampers should be avoided in a smokehouse or dehydrator, it’s beneficial to know what the breakpoint is and how it’s controlled.

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oven maintenance

4 Tools You Need To Have For Oven Maintenance

Maintaining a food processing oven requires special tools to ensure the oven is operating at peak performance.

Evaluating air flow and speed, finding air leaks, setting dampers, determining static pressures and gas burner settings, and calibrating probes are normal, sometimes every day, maintenance tasks that require specialized tools.

Larger food processing companies likely already have these tools on hand. However, start-ups and smaller food processors may not have needed these oven maintenance tools before — and might not be equipped to properly maintain their oven when it is installed.

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lock out tag out warning signs

8 Safety Signs You Need to Improve Worker Safety with Commercial Ovens

Commercial ovens, as with any food processing equipment, can pose serious safety hazards for employees.

Burns, pinch points, crush points, cuts, chemical burns, carbon dioxide suffocation, or being trapped in an oven while in the cook cycle are all possible if proper care is not taken when operating a commercial smokehouse, dehydrator, or steam oven — leading to serious injury or death.

As a food processing company, it is imperative that proper safety signs be posted on and around any commercial oven to notify employees of potential dangers associated with this piece of equipment.

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6 Maintenance Tested & Approved Features You Need in an Oven

A commercial smokehouse or dehydrator is a big investment — one that requires regular checks and maintenance to keep it running efficiently.

An oven designed to provide easy access to the components that require regular and preventative maintenance will reduce the time your team needs to upkeep the oven. The less amount of time spent maintaining and repairing an oven results in more cook time, more product, and more profits.

It’s important then that when you invest in a commercial smokehouse or dehydrator, you find one with components that are easy to access, easy to repair, and don’t need replacing as often.

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oven life

How to Schedule Maintenance to Ensure Longer Oven Life

A commercial smokehouse or dehydrator is a big investment — one that requires regular and ongoing maintenance to ensure a long oven life.

Commercial oven manufacturers provide information on how and what should be routinely inspected and maintained, but in many facilities, those instructions are often buried in a user manual that gets stuck in a drawer somewhere or made inaccessible to maintenance personnel.

Regular preventative maintenance is necessary to keep your oven operating for a long period of time.

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load smokehouse trucks for best airflow

How to Load Smokehouse Trucks for the Best Airflow

The way trucks are loaded into a smokehouse or dehydrator greatly affects the creation and strength of the breakpoint — and can have a negative impact on the consistency of the product.

Anytime you add an object, like a smokehouse truck, into the flow of air, you change the way that airstream moves. It will either break apart or diminish if it’s hitting a wall, or it will flow around the object into a new path.

Overload product onto a truck and you’ll create a wall that prevents air from moving across the product. Under load product or trucks in the oven, and air will flow to the place of least resistance.

This is why it’s critically important to know the best ways to load trucks into a smokehouse or dehydrator.

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heat source

How To Choose the Best Heat Source for Your Oven

Choosing the proper heat source for your product when purchasing a commercial smokehouse or dehydrator can be a daunting task.

What are the differences between heat sources? Which works best for what you’re trying to achieve? What heat source is going to be easy to maintain and inexpensive to run? What is the price difference between each heat source? Do you have the proper utilities already in your facility, or will you need to have more brought in?

There are a lot of aspects to consider when choosing the best heat source for your product. So where do you start?

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airflow calculations

4 Oven Airflow Calculations You Need to Know

Airflow is the most important feature of any industrial smokehouse or dehydrator.

It’s the airflow that is ultimately responsible for creating the breakpoint that in turn cooks product in the oven. The better the airflow, the stronger the breakpoint, and the more consistently product will cook — resulting in better yields, better coloring, and better texture.

The airflow is critically important to any cooking process, which means it’s critically important to be aware of any variations in airflow that may affect the creation of the breakpoint and result in inconsistent cooking.

But how do you do that? How do you know if the air is moving optimally in an oven? How can you determine if something is wrong with an oven and affecting the airflow?

The answer is simple.
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smokehouse breakpoint

5 Design Components You Need to Improve the Smokehouse Breakpoint

The smokehouse breakpoint is the most important aspect of any industrial oven.

This one feature is directly responsible for cooking your product, coloring your product, and either increasing or decreasing your product yields, depending on the strength and velocity of the breakpoint.

A strong breakpoint — one that makes it all the way across the cart to heat all product on that level — should be the main focus when investing in a smokehouse, as it results in a more consistent product, as each piece of product is receiving the same amount of airflow.

But how do you know if a smokehouse will have a strong breakpoint?

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