Learning The Back Shift
The back kitchen positions are essential in making operations smooth. They obviously cook all the food, organize the food, maintain cooking hardware and equipment, and keep all food temperatures in line with health standards. Here at Pitmaster, depending on your location, we have 1-2 different cooking positions.
The Hot Line
The Hot line organizes and cooks all the food, making it ready to be delivered to the customer. It is essential for Hot Line staff to be familiar with all the dishes served and how to make them. (We'll cover that in a little bit.)
They are also responsible for making sure the food doesn't run out. There are a few exceptions to that rule, being the smoked meats, as they take 5-13 hours to smoke. Maintaining order and constant communication with the front staff to make the process as smooth as possible and bring the customers the best experience they can have.
Fremont Store >>
<< Hitt Road Store
Making an order Crash Course
- Read Ticket
When a ticket is first hung up you as the chief need to understand how to read it and then interpret it into the dishes. Each main food item is on top with its side dishes and modifiers underneath. A modifier is something that is added, or selected for the main dish.
For example: the 2 meat combo on the right.
The (2) Meat Combo is the main item, And the Pork and Brisket are the modifiers. This tells you what meats have been chosen for the meal. While the Baked Beans are the chosen side dish.
Here on the Pork Sandwich the French Fries are the side dish, and it has no modifiers.
Understanding each dish and each side dish will greatly help this understanding because you will be familiar with what is a side dish, and what is a modifier.
The main objective of every cook is to have all the food be finished and ready to serve at the same time. This proposes an inherent issue. All the food cooks for different lengths of time. So the most difficult task for you as a chief is to time all the cooking to come together in the end. Prioritize items that take longer over items that don't, and prioritize items that are cold over items that are hot. We've broken the items here at Pitmaster down into a few different categories.
-Long Cook Items
-Short Cook Items
-Non Heated Items
Long Cook Items
Short Cook Items
Non Heated Items
Items that take the longest to cook/fry.
Items that take the shortest to cook/fry.
Items that aren't hot, or are not heat dependent.
Items that are hot and are heat dependent.
- Lay Down Trays
Count the number of Main Items on your ticket and then place out the number of trays accordingly.
Each tray represents an item on the ticket.
- Long Cook Items
Long cook items are the first thing you should start cooking. After you have read your ticket and placed your trays look for these items to make first.
Start them cooking and then move on to the next step.
*Remember: We want all the items to be done at the same time. So it is ok if you start them cooking and then leave them as long as you try to time when they are completed.
- Non Heated Items
Non heated items are next in line and should be placed on your trays accordingly. Place them reflecting the order on the ticket to reduce confusion.
Non Heated items include:
-Burger Set Ups (Lettuce, Tomato, Onion)
The buns are placed on the trays for the pork sandwich and the burger.
Next is the cornbread and the burger set up.
- Short Cook Items
Short cook items are items that need to be cooked, but obviously take less time to cook. These go on next.
Short cook items:
- Heated Items
Heated items are probably the most important part of the process. Here at Pitmaster we are famous for our smoked meats, so they need to give the best impression that they can. And it's like my momma always says "Hot food is best served hot!".
Take care to insure that each heated item from the meat, to the green beans is hot and ready for the customers.
Hot Items Include:
-Mac and Cheese
- Finishing touches
Add the long cook items to the trays. They should be done at this point. And then sauce all the items that require it.
Again, the goal is to have all the food ready to serve at the same time.
The very last thing that you need to do before you send the food out is do one last check over everything. Make sure all the food is accounted for. Make sure it is hot, and make sure that it looks good. No big sauce messes, or oil from the fryers.
And that's how you make a plate here at Pitmaster. Remember to take things slow at first. Eventually we want everyone to be fast and efficient, but we understand that it takes time. In the beginning we would rather all the food be correctly made consistently then fast and sloppy.
The Warmer Side
(Fremont Location Only)
The Warmer position is only located at the Fremont store. They are primarily responsible for assisting the Hot Line Person with whatever they need. They stand on the other side of the butcher block table and control the ins and outs of the warmer. When the Hot Line person needs ribs? They grab them. When the Hot Line person needs a salad made? They make the salad. Assisting and working together as a team, being in communication with the front staff to make a good customer experience.