Let’s discuss how to clean an outdoor griddle in today’s article! It is summertime, the sun is shining bright and you have a crowd of people over and all they can talk about is the amazing meal you cooked for them, or it may just be a quiet family dinner.
No matter the situation, you have one companion, your griddle. It does not matter if you are an occasional griddle enthusiast or even a seasoned veteran, one thing is certain, taking care of your griddle is a must.
If you fail to take care of your griddle, it can lose its non-stick properties, get rusty, chip, flake, and even stop working.
Most outdoor griddles are built to last for decades, perhaps even a lifetime, however, if you do not take care of it, it will not last that long. There are a few practices that you can adopt daily to take better care of your grill.
In this guide, we shall answer the question “How to clean an outdoor griddle?” in thorough detail as well as cover some important tips to help improve the life of your griddle. Before we begin, we first need to ask ourselves, is it hard to take care of a griddle?
The easy answer is no. It would, in fact, take less than a few minutes every week or so to keep your griddle in top-notch condition. Every machine designed to cook food requires maintenance and your griddle is no different.
Griddles are often used less than say your everyday cooktop, and fortunately, your griddle is also easier to maintain. The only aspect of the griddle you really need to focus on is the seasoning, which is what makes the griddle non-stick.
How To Clean An Outdoor Griddle Before Use
Picture this, you have just opened the box and are setting up your brand new griddle, you turn it on and are just waiting for the surface to heat up.
You cannot wait to throw some steak and inaugurate your griddle, however, doing this would be a bad idea. You should clean the griddle before you fire it up. You need to do some preparation before you get started.
In fact, if you JUST got your griddle, you may want to read up on this handy guide to 5 Steps To Make BEFORE using A New Griddle.
The first thing you need to do is to use a little soap to clean the surface so that you can clean off any dirt that came from manufacturing, storage, and shipping. Here is how you should proceed:
- Fill a bucket with hot water and mix soap into it.
- Use a towel, not an abrasive scrub, to wash the entire surface with soapy water. Doing this removes any coating and residue from the factory.
- Use paper towels to speed up the drying process. Let the surface dry off completely before you use it.
- Repeat the process after using the griddle, and let it dry before you store it. Albeit without any soap. Once you have cooked on the griddle do not use any soap on the surface.
Soap should be used only on a new griddle before using it, and rinse it thoroughly after. You do not want to use soap on a used griddle as it may leave a residue and will strip your hard-earned seasoning.
You might be used to the notion that using soap while cleaning is good, ditch this thought when you are dealing with griddles. It is unnecessary and can even ruin the taste of the next batch of food you cook on the griddle (not to mention making the food stick). Once you are done cleaning the griddle, you must season it.
How Can You Season A Griddle?
A perfect season on a griddle is completely black and is non-stick. The first layer of seasoning is crucial for the perfect cooktop. It does not take any time at all and when you relish the bite from your next meal, you will immediately notice the difference.
First up: The oil
There are many kinds of cooking oil and you can choose one as per your preference, we recommend the following:
- Grape Seed Oil
- Avacado Oil
- Flax Oil
- Shortening (fat)
- Olive Oil
Many people swear by their own seasoning oil of choice. Just remember, it needs to have a high smoke point or it wont work very well. After you have decided on which oil to use, the rest of the process is as follows:
The Griddle Seasoning Process
- Add a few tablespoons of oil to the griddle, around 2-3 tablespoons should suffice. Use a few paper towels or a plain dish towel to rub the oil onto every inch of the griddle. You want to evenly coat every part of the griddle, including the sides and the back.
- Turn on your griddle and keep the temperature high. You want the oil to start smoking, in this case, a smoking griddle is a good thing!
- Once the griddle starts to discolor, it is a sign that the oil is bonding to the metal. The process usually takes around 10-15 minutes.
- Turn off the griddle and ensure that the oil stops smoking before you repeat the process.
- Repeat this process a total of three to four times to ensure an even coat and good base layer of seasoning.
- Once you are done, turn off the griddle and let it cool.
At the end of the process, you will find that the griddle top has turned black. You will also see a very slick and shiny coat on the surface. The coat is completely natural as it is just the oil that you have used. It is also non-stick!
The best part about this coat is that you basically need to do it once. A griddle has to be seasoned like this only once as you regularly cook, the surface will maintain itself.
Griddles tend to maintain themselves as the more often you cook on it, the better it becomes, just like a cast iron pan. It retains the oils and seasoning over time, adding new flavors to your meat and vegetables as you cook on it. You can check out what Blackstone recommends on seasoning here.
To maintain the flavor and taste of your griddle, here are a few tips you can follow:
- It is important to clean the surface after each cooking.
- Repeat the oiling process on the whole surface. Only use a THIN layer, otherwise storing it with too much oil will cause smoking and sticking on your next cook.
- Once you rub it all over the surface, remove any excess oil.
- Store the griddle in a cool and dry place. The latter is especially important as you do not want any moisture to interact with the oil. Now the most important part of maintaining a griddle!
How to take care of a griddle after using it?
Before we proceed, keep the following things ready: paper towels, a scouring pad, hot water, and cooking oil. Once you have everything ready, here is what you need to do:
- First, you want the griddle to cool down after you are done cooking. Leave it for an hour or so for best results. You do not want to burn your hands. Use a scraper or a spatula to remove any bits and pieces remaining from the previous cooking session.
- Use a paper towel to wipe it down. Alternatively, a dishcloth also works, however, it can get greasy.
- If there is any food stuck on the griddle, put some water on the griddle while it is warm. This helps the food unstick quicker and even the hardest residues can come off easily.
- Use a scouring pad to thoroughly remove anything from the surface. Note that you should keep a separate pad and that it should not have any soapy residue on it. I also recommend trying out a chainmail styled griddle cleaner as they really do a good job of removing debris and food on your griddle, something like this is inexpensive and works well.
- Use water and paper towels to rinse the surface and dry it using a cloth.
- Apply a layer of oil in between usage. To ensure that your griddle is ready for the next time.
Now that you are aware of the basics when it comes to taking care of the griddle, let us look at some professional tips to help you step up your cooking game.
Pro tips for better griddle cooking
- Ensure that the griddle is level before you start cooking. This helps any grease or juice to get drained properly. To see if your griddle is level, pour water from a point farthest from the grease drain. If it flows properly, to the drain, it is level.
- Use accessories such as grease cups to clean up. Blackstone, Blue Rhino, and Camp Chief all provide the best accessories along with their world-class griddles.
- If you need to heat up or cool down your griddle, do so slowly. Rapidly increasing the heat can damage the metal.
- You should pour a very small amount of oil before every cooking session. It should be done when the griddle is heating up. Doing this will help the seasoning last longer and for your food to get cooked evenly.
- As it continues to age with use, it will acquire a patina. Do not worry and do not try to clean it as it is completely natural.
- If your foods look rusty or get discolored, or taste metallic; it is a sign that either your griddle has been inadequately seasoned or you are cooking very acidic foods. When this happens, wash your griddle and season it again.
- Use accessories to help you cook better and more efficiently. Cook frequently to become better as practice makes perfect. For a detailed breakdown of what accessories your griddle needs (and what it doesn’t need) check this article out.
So now that we have covered the basics of griddle operation, there are other important things such as recovering a rusty griddle. While it may seem uncommon, it is not. A lot of people often get griddles on a spontaneous whim, use it a few times and forget it. Doing this creates rusty griddles and thus arises the question
Is It Possible to Recover a Rusty Griddle?
We know that the amount of moisture in the air naturally causes metals to rust and corrode. Most outdoor griddles are made out of metal and hence they are prone to rust.
This effect is compounded if you live in a humid area or by the beach. Living in these places means that you will need to take care of your griddle in more ways than one.
There is a solution if your griddle gets rusty and for those of you that have not been regular in the maintenance department, this one is specifically for you. But before you proceed, ensure that these tools are in your kitty.
- Heat-resistant gloves
- Paper Towels or Dish Towel
- Metal scraper
- Cooking oil
- Grill stones (Pumice Stone)
As for the process, here is how you should go about it:
- First, turn the heat up on the griddle and keep it very high. Doing this will loosen the rust and makes it easier to remove. Put on your heat-resistant gloves to protect yourself.
- Use a metal scraper. This is an accessory that is sold by the best griddle manufacturers such as Blackstone, Camp Chief, and Blue Rhino. The heat will ensure that you can scrape the rust off.
- Make sure that you scrape every inch of rust you can find.
- Once you are done scraping, let the griddle cool and wipe off any debris.
- Add a few tablespoons of cooking oil to the surface and spread it. Once you do this, use a grill stone to scrub the surface. This method is more effective than using any other brush. Scrub every inch of the griddle.
- Wipe the griddle with a cloth. Put a little more cooking oil and wipe it again. You have to keep repeating this process until all the rust is gone. Each time do not forget to add the oil.
- Once all the rust is gone, it is time to season your griddle with oil again.
How Should I Store My Griddle?
Now that we have learned to remove rust from our griddle, it is important to store it properly. You should keep your griddle in a cool and dry place. You want to avoid damp places or super hot places, as the propane tank can get damaged. Make sure that it is easily accessible if you are a regular at using it.
You should also not put any objects over the griddle when you store it. Wherever you store it, check in on it from time to time. A heavy-duty canvas cover is also very useful. For more on this, check out this article “Can I Leave My Griddle Outside?“
As the summer approaches, it is time to start using a griddle and preparing yourself for a season of fun cooking. This guide was made to answer the question, ’ how to clean an outdoor griddle ’ along with other queries that are helpful.