If you’re cooking on the stove, you wouldn’t think twice about adding some butter to the pan to baste or fry your food, but when it comes to our griddles and grills, it can seem a little daunting.
So, can you use butter on a griddle or grill? Well, the answer to that is YES, you can use butter on a outdoor griddle, but there is a big difference on when butter makes sense to use on a griddle and when it doesn’t. So let’s look at that closer.
Butter For Cooking
If you’re cooking, then butter is actually a brilliant choice on a flat top grill or griddle. It adds flavor, adds color, and will make your dish that much better. In many ways, cooking on a flat top grill or griddle with butter is one of the best things you can do.
While oils certainly do the job, and there are oils available that will add a certain flavor to your food, such as avocado oil or peanut oil, you won’t get as excellent results as you would with butter.
There’s just something about seeing a piece of meat or fish cooking in oozing butter that already gets a person’s mouth watering.
But we would also just give you a word of warning. Butter burns far easier than oil does, and this can be problematic if you’re cooking something that will take a while at a higher heat.
In this instance, you could always add butter at the end, just before serving to baste your food and add additional flavor to it. We would always recommend starting with an oil in this case to start cooking the meat so you don’t burn anything, and then using butter right at the end to enhance the dish.
So yes, you can use butter on your flat top grill or griddle, but just be sensible about when you add it to the cooking surface, because many people will be caught out by how quickly it can burn at high temperatures.
Practice will make perfect though, so don’t be afraid to experiment with butter on your griddle for cooking, because it will certainly make for even tastier meals!
Butter For Seasoning
You already know that seasoning your griddle is essential. Doing so will protect it, create a nonstick surface, and add depths of flavor to your food: and it’s that last point that makes people think of butter for seasoning.
Surely if the flavor of the thing you season your griddle with is going to stick around, then you want to use something that tastes as great as butter does, right? Well, actually that couldn’t be more wrong.
As we mentioned in the section above, butter burns a lot quicker than oil does. For reference, butter has a smoking point of around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas a cooking oil such as vegetable oil has a smoking point of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Read more about butter and smoke points here.
Now, the trick to seasoning any griddle or flat top grill is to get the surface temperature as hot as possible. You really want to get it as close to that 400 degree mark as you possibly can, because it’s through this very high temperature that you’re able to create the effects you want from seasoning your griddle to begin with.
Using butter, therefore, is not a viable option, because either you would burn the butter on the griddle (creating a headache for you later as you try to clean up the mess), or you would have to keep the surface temperature below the smoking point of butter, which would lead to less effective seasoning. For seasoning, butter just isn’t effective. So what can you use?
Alternatives To Butter For Seasoning
So, we’re on a butter ban when it comes to seasoning our flat top grills and griddles, but what can we use instead? Well, really it’s up to you. A cooking oil is almost certainly your safest best, because people have been using cooking oils to season their griddles for years.
Look for something with a high smoking point and don’t think too much about the finished look of your griddle. For years, people would recommend flaxseed oil to season a griddle because it would create a really attractive finish, but in reality the season cracked and peeled easily and was largely ineffective at retaining the nonstick quality of the cooking surface.
We’ll list some popular cooking oil options below:
- Olive Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Vegetable Oil
The above options are prominent examples of cooking oils that you can use to season your griddle. They all have high smoking points, have been used successfully by multiple griddle users, and will all add varying degrees of flavor to your food (especially avocado and coconut oil).
But what if oil isn’t your thing? The traditionalists amongst you might not want to use oil at all. Generations of families have been cooking outdoors successfully, long before we had access to the variety of oils that we have today. And one of the most popular choices back then had to have been lard.
Now, is it the healthiest option available to you? Of course not. Will it add bags of flavor to your food? You bet! Lard actually has a relatively high smoking point of around 370 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s definitely a viable option when seasoning your griddle, and it’s certainly a better option than butter.
But if your heart is set on using butter to season your griddle, then there is a way around it. Your first option is a butter flavored oil. Now, we don’t know how effective this is from experience, and the smoking point of them isn’t something we know a lot about either, but it’s certainly something you can experiment with at home if you like.
But the second (and our preferred) option is ghee. Ghee is clarified butter, It’s been used in Indian cooking for generations, it has tonnes of flavor, and it has a smoking point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s better than most oils.
So, whilst we wouldn’t recommend butter for seasoning, you could certainly use ghee or lard as great alternatives, or else stick to the more modern cooking oils that people are fond of today. Read our full Guide to Griddle Seasoning Oils here.
Take Home Message
Butter and flat top grills and griddles go together a lot better than most people would think. Just remember it burns quicker, but you should certainly still use butter on your griddle to enhance your food.
Avoid butter while seasoning, but keep in mind the alternatives we have mentioned above and try something new next time you season your griddle – who knows, maybe it’ll have better results than you first expected!