Big Dipper digital control optimized for rotisserie ovens

Commercial rotisserie ovens, which are popping up in more grocery stores as well as some restaurants and institutional settings, bring with them unusual challenges when it comes to managing grease.

As chickens are roasted in the ovens, the grease literally cooks off the poultry and drops to the bottom of the oven, where it is collected and then needs to exit into a grease interceptor. Some commercial ovens can cook dozens of birds simultaneously, which means a lot of grease is generated during cooking.

Depending on where the rotisserie oven is placed, plumbing it into existing kitchen sewage lines may be easy — or it may be expensive and difficult. For that reason, a point-source grease interceptor — such as Thermaco’s Big Dipper — is a good solution to ensure that fat and grease from rotisserie ovens are properly processed.

But there’s another variable to consider. Demand for rotisserie chicken, especially in grocery stores, has a seasonal aspect to it. Demand may be higher in the fall and winter months, because of a desire for warm, home-style food for family gatherings during colder weather.

Rotisserie cooker

That variation means whatever grease interceptor is used to handle the rotisserie oven, it must be able to handle periods of relatively frequent use as well as periods of infrequent use.

Finally, unlike many other sources of kitchen effluent, the grease from a rotisserie oven is typically in a pure form and not mixed with water the way effluent from, say, a three-compartment sink is.

Grease interceptors of all types operate in part based on the principle that fats, oil and grease floats on water, enabling it to be easily separated in liquid form. So any grease interceptor for a rotisserie oven needs to have a supplemental water line plumbed to it to operate properly.

Thermaco’s Big Dipper is already being used in a number of commercial rotisserie oven installations. However, the latest improvements to the Big Dipper include innovations designed specifically for commercial rotisserie ovens.

Photo courtesy of Steve Parker / Creative Commons on Flickr

A Digital Big Dipper

The 40000 Series Big Dipper is the latest in the Big Dipper line. Big Dippers have been equipped with mechanical control units since 2001, and although effective, have difficulty adapting to the seasonality and variability of grease production.

The 40000 Series has a digital control that has electronic pre-sets to ensure the unit operates on an optimum schedule — enough to keep it running effectively and efficiently while avoiding unnecessary wear and tear.

Big Dipper W-250-AST Automatic Grease Removal Unit

The digital control comes with additional jumpers on its board for rotisserie operation. When configured for rotisserie operation, normal time-based operation is suspended and instead the unit operates when it detects a temperature increase of at least 15 degrees.

In a commercial kitchen, attached to a rotisserie oven, this is the kind of temperature increase you would expect when the oven is cooking poultry and starts sending waste grease to the interceptor. 

With this option in place, the Big Dipper can operate automatically based on the how frequently the rotisserie oven is being used. In this rotisserie mode, the Big Dipper can also take advantage of a supplemental water supply and can turn on the water supply when it is collecting grease through its normal skimming operation.

These features make it simpler and easier for any commercial facility operating a rotisserie oven to avoid clogs and backups in its plumbing and stay in compliance with water treatment regulations.