You can use a griddle to prepare pancakes, burgers, seafood, vegetables, and much more. But can a griddle be used for grilling?
Yes, you can use a griddle for grilling. Although grills and griddles are distinct cooking surfaces, you can use them interchangeably for some foods. A griddle will not produce grill marks or separate the food from its fats like a grill. However, you can use a griddle to add smoky flavors to food.
Let’s understand this in more detail.
- How Does A Griddle Work?
- Difference Between A Grill And Griddle
- How To Grill On A Griddle?
- Benefits Of Griddles Over Grills
How Does A Griddle Work?
Griddles are versatile cookware. In its most basic form, a griddle is a flat and smooth metallic surface.
You can place it on a heat source and use it for cooking. It may have a square, rectangular, or round shape.
Griddles have been used by cooks all over the world since ancient times and are known by different names like “teppan” in Japan, “planc” in Wales, and “comal” in Mexico.
Unlike grills, a griddle doesn’t have raised edges or ridges in the base.
It’s suitable for cooking foods that need flipping, like pancakes or burgers.
Since it has a flat and uniform surface, you can also use it for cooking batter-based items.
When you turn the heat on and place the food in the griddle, it transfers heat to the ingredients and cooks it.
Different materials are used to build griddles.
Cast iron and cast aluminum are the best choices. These are sturdy, durable, easy to clean and maintain.
They heat evenly and allow thorough cooking of ingredients.
They also develop a good layer of seasoning which allows food to glide off the surface.
The only downside to these metals is that they tend to be very heavy.
Griddles made of carbon steel, aluminum, and chrome steel are also available in the market.
Difference Between A Grill And Griddle
The main difference between a grill and a griddle is their type of surface.
Griddles have flat surfaces. Meanwhile, grill grates and pans have ridges in the base.
Since the base of a griddle is even, it heats uniformly and maintains the same temperature throughout the surface.
The food you place on a griddle comes in contact with the metal and gets cooked evenly.
Meanwhile, ridges in a grill pan or grate raise the food off the base.
During cooking, the juices in the food flow down into the gaps between these ridges.
The part of the food that touches the ridges develops brown char marks.
The rest of the food has a lighter color, and it doesn’t develop brown marks.
So, grilling produces a unique texture and characteristic coloring on the food.
Since grilling uses high heat, the food develops beautiful smoky flavors.
When using a grill pan for stovetop cooking, you may not get the same smoky flavors of cooking on an outdoor grill.
Nonetheless, the structure of the pan and high temperatures will produce a certain level of smokiness.
Recommended Further Reading:
How To Grill On A Griddle?
Many high-end restaurants and barbecuing experts use flat-top griddles for grilling.
A big griddle offers multiple heat zones, making it possible to cook various items at differing temperatures simultaneously.
They also offer excellent temperature control.
Outdoor griddle grills are also popular because of their versatility and ease of use.
These griddle grills have a flat, uncoated griddle surface.
You can cook all types of meat, seafood, vegetables, breakfast, or even desserts on it.
Now, if you don’t want to buy a dedicated griddle grill, you can place a griddle pan on a traditional grill.
Grill-top griddle plates are also available.
Some of them have flat griddle surfaces on one side and raised ridges on the other.
These griddle pans allow you to create beautiful char marks that you get when you grill food on a traditional grill.
To successfully grill on a griddle, here are some tips.
1. Keep the griddle well-seasoned.
Seasoning with oil creates a natural non-stick layer on metals like cast iron.
This layer allows food to glide off. A well-seasoned griddle pan is easy to clean.
To season a griddle, apply a uniform layer of oil to the entire surface and heat it till it begins to smoke.
Then, let it cool.
This allows the oil to penetrate the metal and seal the pores, forming a smooth, non-stick surface.
2. Cook at the right temperature.
Griddles operate at high temperatures.
They produce the best results at temperatures lower than the smoking point of the oil or fat used for cooking.
You should be able to operate a griddle safely at a temperature of 350°F.
Related Further Reading:
- Do Grill Pans Create Smoke?
- Cooking with a Grill Pan in the Oven – Is it Possible?
- Uses of a Double Boiler
3. Use the right accessories.
Since griddles are very hot, you should be very careful when placing ingredients or taking food off the surface.
Be quick but careful to avoid accidents when working with this hot surface.
Stainless steel spatulas and tongs are ideal for picking items off a griddle.
To create grill marks on food, you can use a grill press.
Although the marks may not be as defined as when you cook the ingredient on a grill grate, it will still be attractive.
4. Use manufacturer-recommended lids and accessories only.
If you wish to use a grill press or lid to speed up cooking, ensure that it is provided or recommended by the griddle manufacturer.
Using other lids or covers may prove unsafe and lead to accidents.
5. Clean the griddle thoroughly.
Cleaning griddles is not as difficult as cleaning grill pans or grill grates.
The smooth and even surface lets food glide off easily.
Additionally, it will not have burnt fat or oil.
Nonetheless, you should clean griddle pans thoroughly after each use and remove the food residue.
Handwashing is recommend to keep the seasoning intact.
Avoid using harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners that can erode or damage the surface.
Wipe away any moisture that remains to prevent rusting.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Does Teflon Exist on Copper Pans?
- Can Stainless Steel Bowls Go In The Dishwasher? They Discolor?
- Do Ceramic Pans Suffer from Scratches?
Benefits Of Griddles Over Grills
By using griddles, you can get smoky flavors into the food.
Additionally, there are a few advantages when you grill on griddles instead of traditional grills.
Firstly, griddles are easier to clean than grill grates and pans.
Since they don’t have ridges like grill pans, burnt food and fat do not stick to the gaps.
So you don’t have to worry about removing them.
You can conveniently dislodge any remaining food from the surface of a griddle by soaking it in soapy water.
Griddles are more versatile than grill pans and grill grates.
The flat, uniform surface is suitable for cooking a variety of ingredients.
While you can’t make pancakes, small shellfish, or vegetables on grills, you can cook them on a griddle.
Griddles also allow for excellent temperature control. They heat evenly and don’t develop hot spots.
The layer of seasoning that forms over time will also enable the food to slide off easily.
You can easily maintain this layer of seasoning while keeping griddles clean between uses.
Griddle grills also brown the exterior surface of food faster than grills.
Finally, you can easily scrape off any burnt or charred bits of food from griddles using a spatula and reseal the surface by brushing it with oil.