People either love griddles or have no idea how to use them. So, how does a griddle work?
A griddle is a cooking appliance with a flat cast iron top. This cast iron top is heated by several straight burners located underneath it. These burners are either powered by gas or by electricity. The burners heat the cast iron top of the griddle, and you can then cook your food on this flat top.
While this sounds straightforward, the confusion begins when you start looking at options available for sale. So, in this article, we’ll be covering topics such as how different types of griddles work, how to use one, and more.
How To Use Griddles?
Most people know griddles from their favorite eggs and bacon place.
This makes them assume that griddles are only good for breakfast items.
While you can make breakfast items on griddles, what you can cook on them is endless.
Think of all the sizzling fajitas, steaks, and even Asian food.
But there are a few things you have to do when using your new griddle for the first time.
There are also some tools you’ll need, even if you’re just making scrambled eggs.
Griddle Cooking Must-Haves
Like any must-haves list, this is a little subjective one.
However, not having one of these on hand while trying out your griddle may cause anything from an unpleasant experience to actual damage.
So, we’ve listed the main five items you’ll need every time you turn on the griddle.
- Cover: Every griddle needs a cover, even the ones kept indoors. Accidents happen, and with just a scratch or a little moisture, you may end up with rust that will require maintenance.
- Scraper: Food debris must be removed as soon as you’re done cooking and before your griddle cools down if you don’t want cleanup to be a nightmare. That’s why scrapers are essential.
- Spatula(s): Long, metal spatulas that can handle heat well are necessary. You’ll likely need two to easily flip, smash, or even chop things as needed. Just avoid digging into your griddle’s surface.
- Squeeze bottles: You’re always using oil and water when griddling, and using a normal bottle can make a huge mess or even ruin your meal. That’s why squeeze bottles can be lifesavers.
- Cleaning rag: Once you’re done cooking, you’ll need to wipe any grease from the cooking surface thoroughly. It’s best to use a heat-resistant material here so that it doesn’t fall apart right away.
Other items that you might need include tongs, dome covers, surface thermometers, and a food wire rack.
You should also know that there are ready griddle sets available, but they lack the flexibility of choosing your own tools.
Using Griddles 101
Now that you know all the tools you’ll need, let’s take a look at some of the most important things to remember when operating a griddle.
1. Seasoning Your Griddle
We’ll admit, when and how to season a griddle can be confusing at first.
However, it becomes a muscle memory once you get the hang of it.
While a lot of griddles will come pre-seasoned, it’s a good idea to do it yourself before your first meal anyway.
You’ll also need to reseason it when you notice spots that are rusting or discolored.
Seasoning is essentially baking a protective layer of oil into the metal surface so that it doesn’t rust or get damaged and remains non-stick.
So how do you do that?
- Make sure your griddle is completely clean.
- Splash enough oil on the surface to create a very thin layer (a teaspoon or two).
- Distribute the oil over the cooking surface, edge to edge, with a paper towel.
- Bring the heat to medium-low until you see smoke coming out.
- Bring it back down to low and let it burn through the oil for 2-3 minutes.
- Wipe again with a paper towel if you see excess oil.
2. Preheating On Low
One of the first and most frustrating mistakes beginners make is to preheat their griddles on high.
Starting your griddle on high, especially when it’s unused and cold, is a surefire way to warp your metal.
This results in spots where juices from different foods pool or mix together, among other issues.
In fact, you’ll find that high heat is often way too high unless your griddle is packed with enough food for a crowd!
Instead, always start it off on low heat and gradually increase as needed.
You can also put higher heat on one side and keep the other low to have quick control over how hot your food is cooking.
3. Actually Cookin’!
And that’s it!
You now have all the essential tools and knowledge to start cooking.
Just remember to cook through all your basic foods for yourself and your family before inviting all your friends to a BBQ party.
4. Propane Tank Care
Another thing to remember when exploring your new griddle is to handle the propane tank safely.
Make sure to turn the tank off completely after you’re done using the appliance, and don’t just rely on the griddle’s knobs, regardless of when you intend to use it next.
Some other things to consider:
- Make sure the tank is securely attached to its holder on the griddle before ignition.
- Consider purchasing one with a gauge to avoid running out of gas mid-meal.
- Ensure it’s upright and secure while transporting it and keep the car windows open while it’s in there.
- Close all knobs on the griddle before connecting a new tank to it.
- Minimize the griddle’s exposure to sunlight.
How Does An Electric Griddle Work?
Electric griddles are essentially tray griddles that are heated by electricity instead of gas.
They have electrically heated coils embedded into the cooking surface or directly below it.
Once you turn on the griddle, these coils fire up until they reach the temperature you choose on the dedicated knob.
After that, they switch on and off to maintain the desired temperature.
How Does A Blackstone Griddle Work?
Blackstone is one of the biggest griddle companies on the market, and it offers numerous models with lots of different setups.
Blackstone griddles work the same way every other griddle does; a flat cast iron surface is heated from below with straight—and sometimes circular—burners.
The griddles are powered by propane tanks that attach to the side of the griddle stand.
Blackstone also offers some smaller electric models that plug into the wall.
Interesting Further Reading: Can Stainless Steel Bowls Be Washed In A Dishwasher? | What Are Double Boilers Used For? | Can Saucepans Go In The Oven? | Can Saucepans Be Recycled?
How Does A Griddle Pan Work?
This is probably the most commonly known type of griddle.
It’s a slab of cast iron that you place on a regular stove range.
Griddle pans are perfect for home chefs since you can whip them out and cook yourself a crazy good breakfast at a moment’s notice.
They either come with handles or various styles of trays.
Using griddle pans is as easy as it gets; it’s essentially just a spacious pan that you can put on your stovetop.
Tray griddles offer you more cooking space and do incredibly well in the oven too!
How Does An Anti-Griddle Work?
Let’s start this by highlighting that the only common thing between griddles and anti-griddles is their flat “cooking” surfaces.
The cooking surface of anti-griddles lies on top of a system that pumps freezing agents to flash-freeze the foods on top.
You’re likely to have seen anti-griddles in those rolled ice cream shops that took the world by storm in the early 2010s.
This type of dessert is also mistakenly known as fried ice cream or even weirder, stir-fried ice cream.