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Thinking about getting a new grill for the summer? Check out outdoor griddles too! Griddles have been gaining in popularity, but the outdoor griddle is still not as well known as a traditional grill. Grills and griddles can provide similar cooking experiences, but have different cooking surfaces so they each have their pros and cons.
A griddle is a flat, metal cooking surface that is heated from underneath from heat from propane, etc. You can cook almost anything on them, but foods that work especially well on a griddle include foods that are granular like rice or liquid heavy like eggs or pancakes. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. You can choose from a free standing griddle that comes attached to their own stand. These are great for use on the deck or in the yard. These often come with grease traps and a folding side table for easy preparation. Some griddles also come with a hood which is a nice feature for cooking and to keep it sheltered from the weather. You can also choose from a tabletop griddle that can come in especially handy for camping or if you want something a little more portable. If you don’t have room, an insert griddle that can fit over a heating element or fire pit could be a good choice for you. This is a nice option for those who already have a grill and don’t want to add another outdoor appliance.
On the other hand, the grill differs as it has a series of slatted cooking grates, generally suspended above a charcoal fire pit or gas burners. The food is exposed to an open flame, and the metal grills transfer heat, browning the meat on contact. There are many types of grills, but we are talking mainly about the traditional gas grill for this comparison.
Grills work best when heated to around 400 degrees, but griddles work best around 350 degrees. The grill’s temperature works great for steaks and items that need a good sear on the outside while leaving some pink in the center. The fat on the meat can run off through the grates and vegetables can keep much of their nutrients, providing a healthy cooking experience. The griddle temperature can still sear well but also can be easier to cook vegetables or foods with a sauce without burning them. Also, keep in mind that you need to use oils or cooking spray with a high smoke point.
Which on is better? It really depends on what kinds of food you want to cook. Both can be a good option for different reasons. Some friends of mine have had their griddle for a few months now and have really enjoyed it. They enjoy making breakfast on it and the surface is large enough that they can cook their pancakes, bacon and eggs all on one surface. This keeps from creating mess and dishes in the kitchen. Breakfast cooks quickly, plus clean up is simple with a few scrapes of the griddle. They also enjoy making quesadillas. They fill a tortilla with beans and shredded cheese and the griddle cooks the quesadilla quickly with a nice golden brown tortilla. Chicken stirfry and fajitas are a dinner favorite too! While cooking a burger on the griddle is easy too, my friends do prefer a grill for this to get that charcoal flavor that the grill offers.
Grills and griddles range in price depending on the brand and features. Grills tend to be slightly less expensive, but it really depends which ones you choose. The Blackstone brand is a popular brand with several options. You can get a smaller free standing griddle for under $200 or an insert for under $100. The insert is definitely a space saver and cost effective option for new griddle users.
Let me know if you have a griddle or looking to buy one!