Increasing role for automation in BBQ products

As BBQ season kicks into gear, it is expected to be a particularly busy one given the focus on ‘staycations’ as the UK starts to navigate its way out of the national lockdown. Automated machinery is increasingly being used in the production of BBQ products to reduce labour input, improve product consistency and thus flavour and quality, in addition to enhancing shelf-appeal in what is a very competitive market.


One of the most popular machines supplied by Interfood into this sector is the very flexible ABM PRO Series Pre-duster manufactured by ALCO. It is designed to apply a coating to a product, from fine powdered ingredients to bread crumb, so is widely used in adding powdered marinades, spices and other flavourings to a range of BBQ meats, from kebabs and steaks to portioned chicken and burgers. A complete and even coating is ensured through a two-belt system: the lower belt runs the product through a coating material bed while the upper belt generates the sprinkling action. Precise coating is further enhanced through the Pre-duster’s adjustable speed (belt speeds of up to 29m/min), pressing, vibration and blower system.


Also produced by ALCO is the AFM Former, a popular option for forming burger patties and other shaped BBQ products. With the option of individually designed shaping plates, the machine allows 2D & 3D creative forming while also ensuring precision weight portions. It is specifically designed to accommodate products with different viscosities, with gentle product conveying and quick and easy changeover of forming tools.


Other equipment available from Interfood used in the production of BBQ products includes the ASW560 strip cutter from Weber; injecting, marinating and tumbling equipment from Henneken; fresh and frozen portioning machines from Astech and a Sous-vide machine from Maurer which can be used in the cooking of products such as ribs, wings and brisket. Also popular for adding value and making products stand out on the supermarket shelf is the Afo bar-marking equipment from Marlen. Available in infra-red and direct flame options, the gas-powered technology is used to create grill bars on meat, poultry, fish and vegetables.


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