Griddles have been in use right from many years ago. They have evolved from the primitive clay, stone, and brick models of early ages to the modern stainless steel or aluminum griddles.
Numerous establishments have used them, ranging from famous brands such as McDonald’s to local diners. The manufacturing of portable griddles made it easy for people to bring that delicious flavor to their homes.
Types of Griddles
Different varieties of griddles have hit the market in recent years, especially after 1960. Popular styles and grills include outdoor griddles, stovetop griddles, cast-iron, and electric griddles. They have become popular, with many consumers eager to buy them and experience outdoor cooking.
Let’s look at each of them in detail, including the pros and cons of each.
We will also look at the different foods you can comfortably cook on each.
Outdoor grills are great because as you cook outside, they save your house from the smell of food.
Imagine cooking sizzled chicken, and the smell lingers inside the house for hours! As much as it’s a delicious meal, that may not be what you want for your house.
You can also take your outdoor grill to any event you attend.
Are you going for a hike, camping, or an excursion? Simply carry your outdoor grill and enjoy an incredible outdoor cooking experience with your family and friends.
Outdoor grills are also great when it comes to flavor. They give your food that nice smoked flavor. I love using them to cook my eggs, steaks, chicken, and much more.
The surface of an outdoor grill is flat. You will need to pay more attention to your food when cooking. Make sure you use a spatula to prevent your food from burning.
Most portable outdoor grills are made of Ceramic or Stainless Steel. Consequently, they can easily fit all types of gas grills.
What about the high heat?
You need not worry; the construction of outdoor griddles allows them to handle more than 12,000 BTU. This is more than what many standard grills can handle.
Cleaning an outdoor grill is simple. You only need a wire brush to scrape off any food remains, then wipe them out using a paper towel.
Ensure you clean it after every cooking to prevent it from rusting. Ensure also you store your grill correctly.
Do you know that outdoor grills are perfect for cooking pizza? The best part is that they add flavor to your pizza, giving that delicious smoked flavor.
- You don’t have to worry about food dropping off
- Easy to clean
- They are portable
- Offer a large grilling surface
- Powerful stainless steel burners
- Have a drip tray that collects any extra grease
- May rust, if not well taken care of
- They lack side handles
Thanks to their design, stovetop griddles are ideal for cooking large amounts of food concurrently. They come in different sizes, shapes, and materials.
The two most popular stovetop griddles are the non-stick and cast-iron.
Stovetop griddles have been among the oldest grills in the market for over a thousand years. They have, thus, become the most popular grills around.
A stovetop is a more concentrated fire. When you place your grill on the stovetop, its entire surface heats up, allowing you to cook whatever you please.
The only major setback with stovetop griddles is that they have two burners. Consequently, your food is likely to cook slower than when using other grills.
The exposed surface is also relatively larger; thus, much heat escapes during cooking, causing cooking to take longer. Food may also fall off when cooking unless you use a skillet with a lid.
The design of stovetop griddles is that they are flat. Whereas there are foods that you can cook on a flat surface, there are those that you can’t.
However, cleaning it is simple. Clean when hot by running water over it as you scrape off any food residue using a spatula.
Avoid using too much soap when cleaning, for it can lead to rusting. If possible, simply use a cloth dipped in olive oil to clean your grill after every use to protect it from rust.
On your stovetop griddle, you can cook foods such as:
Cook foods that cook slowly and those that produce a lot of grease in a skillet. A skillet is good as it helps to hold both the oil and water.
It’s important to note that the heat begins at the center of a stovetop grill before spreading to other areas. The center of the griddle gets hot first.
If you want your food to cook correctly, place the slowest cooking foods at the center so that they cook faster. Put the fast-cooking foods on the sides of the grill so that they can cook evenly.
- Good when cooking food for the whole or larger family
- Easy to clean after cooking
- Have side handles that make it easy to handle them
- Suitable for cooking on a campfire
- Non-stick surfaces
- Rusts, if not well taken care of
- Food may fall from the cooking surface
Cast Iron Griddles
Cast Iron grills have been in use for hundreds of years now. Many top griddle manufacturers have been making them for years.
Most cast iron griddles look alike. They have rubber handles that make it easy to handle them to avoid burning your fingers.
Cast iron is among the most preferred materials for griddles. They affect the overall flavor of your food, making it tastier and delicious.
One thing I love about cast iron grills is that they are versatile. You can comfortably use it on the stovetop or grill or place it in the oven.
The best part is that cast iron grills are excellent at spreading heat evenly on the cooking surface. With that, anything that you cook on this grill gets cooked evenly. The process is simple; you only need to place a thin layer of oil on the grill and then cook whatever you want.
Moreover, cast iron griddles have flat cooking surfaces with slightly raised edges. The advantage of this is the edges help to retain your butter, oil, and other ingredients.
They also feature shallow ends ideal for maneuvering spatulas and other cooking utensils. If you are baking cakes, for instance, you will find that flipping them is pretty easy.
Some of the foods you can cook on a cast iron griddle include:
- Sausage, among others
Cast iron griddles are durable and easy to take care of. However, you will need to clean it well to prevent rusting and keep the surface non-stick.
Most important to note is never to put cast iron griddles in an automatic dishwasher. Excessive exposure to water and harsh detergents will affect the finish and cause rusting.
- Slightly raised edges help to hold grease and food from falling off
- Shallow ends are great for maneuvering spatulas and other cooking utensils
- It can last for hundreds of years if you take good care of it
- Among the healthiest metals, you can use for cooking
- Adds flavor to your food
- It might rust if you don’t take care of it
- Heavier than most cookware
Electric griddles are ideal for indoor cooking. They are highly portable; thus, you can use them anywhere there is a power outlet.
Most of these griddles are non-stick, so you need little or no oil when cooking on them. They heat up quickly and self-regulate. Unlike most flat-top grills, some electric models feature the griddle grill combination and come with a lid.
The surface area of an electric grill is more significant than an ordinary pan, meaning you can cook a large family meal at once or various dishes simultaneously.
You can make bacon, sandwiches, veggies, steaks, quesadillas, pancakes, eggs, and many other foods on the flat surface of this grill.
The heat of an electric griddle is uniformly distributed, making it possible to cook meals evenly with no hot spots.
Another unique characteristic of an electric griddle is that you can elevate it and use the space underneath to keep your food warm.
When using this unit, you don’t have to worry about messing up your countertop or floor with grease. It comes with grease traps to safely collect oils from fatty foods for re-use, recycling, or disposal.
For instance, making perfect bacon is a great challenge for most people. It has much grease, which stays in the pan while cooking, making it soggy. If you use an electric griddle, the excess fat drips into the grease tray, leaving a nicely done, crispy bacon.
An electric flat-top grill consumes very little power and will save you a lot of money compared to gas.
- Heats evenly across the cooking surface
- The griddle comes with adjustable heat settings
- Easy to clean cooktop
- Large cooking surface
- Perfect for indoor use
- Easy to store in your kitchen cabinet
- Sometimes the cord can be short
- Small grease trays that are a bit difficult to clean
Choosing the Right Griddle
Choosing the right griddle among the myriad of options in the market can be overwhelming and frustrating.
Grills come in different types, sizes, and shapes. Here are the key factors to consider when purchasing a flat-top grill:
The Griddle Plate
The plate is the primary cooking surface and influences your cooking results. When choosing a griddle plate, there are three essential aspects to consider:
The cooking area
A large plate allows you to cook more food simultaneously. The larger the griddle plate, the more space it takes and the more energy it needs to reach the optimal cooking temperature.
Big grills are not the best for smaller kitchens. If you insist on getting a large griddle, consider one with multiple heat zones. You can save some energy by heating only the areas you are using.
Griddle plates come in steel, cast iron, ceramic glass, or chromed surfaces.
Cast iron cooking surface retains heat longer and is highly durable. It is ideal if you cook on your griddle for prolonged periods.
However, this material is pretty heavy, thus not suitable if you are looking for a portable option. It also needs frequent seasoning to maintain the non-stick coating and prevent food from sticking.
Steel is the most common griddle plate material. It has an easy-to-clean non-stick surface and heats up fast. Thicker plates are preferable as they retain heat better than their thinner counterparts.
Chromed griddle plates are more of premium steel. They are highly effective at cooking foods faster and emitting less heat to the surrounding. They are perfect for cooking delicate foods that stick easily.
Ceramic glass is a new griddle plate technology. These grills channel more energy to the food rather than the plate. They are highly efficient and easier to clean.
The plate surface
Besides the standard flat griddle plates, other grills have tiny grooves, also known as ribbed plates.
The grooves are similar to those of a traditional grill. They add appealing sear marks to your food and channel away grease.
Ribbed plates are not suitable for every food. They are great for chunky vegetables and meat but not pancakes or eggs.
If you are looking for versatility and consistency in your cooking, a flat-top grill is ideal. You can also consider a griddle with combined ribbed and flat plates to enjoy both cooking styles.
After deciding on which plate material to purchase, another essential consideration is the thickness.
Thin plates heat up faster and are more responsive to temperature adjustments. They are also cheaper and consume less energy. Nonetheless, they tend to warp faster when heated on high resulting in hot and cold spots, which cause uneven distribution of heat.
Thick plates are sturdier, less likely to warp, retain heat longer, and have an even heat distribution. However, they need more energy to attain the desired cooking temperatures. They are also slow in responding to temperature changes.
Gas or Electric
Gas griddles have burners underneath the griddle plate. Electric models come with a heating element embedded into the plate.
Gas grills are more responsive to temperature controls. They heat up quickly and cool down faster than their electric counterparts.
Gas grills can get extremely hot, thus perfect for searing. However, sometimes they have uneven heat distribution; most are not portable and need professional installation.
Electric grills offer more even heat distribution and are more energy-efficient than gas units. They also don’t require piping or professional installation for household use.
They are ideal where electricity is a cheaper utility and gas is not an option.
Do you need a freestanding or countertop griddle? Full-height units are mounted on sturdy and durable stands with under-shelves. They are ideal for traditional kitchen use.
Countertop models are installed strategically, forming an efficient and practical kitchen line. Irrespective of the model you choose, you will need to position it under an extraction canopy.
If kitchen space is an issue, you can explore other options like an oven with a griddle top or a griddle with a fridge base.
Griddles vary in size, depending on the intended use. There are full-size griddles, ideal for commercial usage like in restaurants.
There are also smaller griddles designed for domestic usage. The small the size, the less energy, and space they will consume.
Assess your specific needs to help determine the optimal griddle size to save energy and money.
Ease of Cleaning
An electric griddle plate is easy to clean and maintain than most griddle types. Griddles with a non-stick finish are preferable because food does not adhere to the plate and when it does, it comes off pretty fast.
You also don’t have to worry about transferring aromas in between cooks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What material is best for a griddle?
Grills made of steel have been the industry standard for many years. They are economical, durable, and work well with most applications. However, on the downside, they emit the greatest heat in the kitchen.
Why are Blackstone griddles so popular?
Blackstone griddles have a large cooktop which is ideal for cooking for the whole family or neighborhood. The large cooking surface allows you to cook multiple foods at once. Blackstone griddles also feature adjustable heat. You can control the burners independently to create different independently controlled cooking zones.
Which is better, steel or cast iron griddle?
When it comes to strength, cast iron is better than steel. Cast iron is also more durable, and if you take good care of it, it can last for hundreds of years.
How thick should a griddle top be?
The ideal thickness of a griddle top should fall within these three categories. The standard-duty thickness is ½-inch, the medium-duty thickness should be ¾-inch, while the heavy-duty thickness should be 1-inch.
Griddles are invaluable when it comes to outdoor cooking. They offer you an opportunity to enjoy cooking outside or with your family and friends during outdoor activities.
Although relatively expensive compared to grills, griddles are hugely versatile. You can use them for cooking any type of food that you want.
Thanks to the flat cooking surface, cleaning a griddle is also straightforward. All you will need is some warm water and, at times, a little soap.