You have a gas grill, and you’re really enjoying your cooking, but now you’re looking to cook some other foods on your griller- but you can’t do it on your grill. So, it’s time to start looking at getting a griddle plate.
Griddle plates are a handy accessory as they can be used on various grills and sizes; they are portable, easy to use, and easy to clean and give you a wide variety of new cooking options, and more than that, they impart a deeper flavor to your food as well.
Before you rush out and buy a griddle plate, let’s take a deeper look into the do’s and don’ts and what to look for in a griddle plate.
What Is A Griddle Plate?
A griddle plate is a large flat rectangular piece of steel and can be made from steel, non-stick aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, ceramic, or cast iron. They range from 20″ to 72″ to match any grill top and have side handles for easy and safe carry.
Resembling a baking tray, these are placed over the grill, and once heated, you can use them for cooking foods like pancakes, eggs, bacon. Most foods you may find in your local restaurant and love the taste of are cooked on flat tops or griddle plates.
Griddle plates are designed to cook at high temperatures and heat up evenly across the surface, and the cast iron plates will stay warm for long periods, allowing food to stay warm.
When looking at the type of material your griddle is made of, consider what type of temperatures your grill will be operating at as well. If you have a big gas grill with four or more burners, the temperatures on the griddle plate will be high.
A cast iron, stainless steel, or carbon steel griddle plate would be better as these materials are built to cope with high temperatures. The lighter-weight non-stick options may have more appeal; they are not built to withstand high temperatures.
Types Of Griddle Plates
Griddle plates like griddle pans come with both flat and raised surfaces so they can do the searing side of cooking as well, and this gives them fantastic versatility on the grill.
So the flat surface gives you the perfect cooking option for breakfasts and the raised one you can use for the steak, chicken, and even toasted sandwiches that do better with sear marks.
If you want to do both types of cooking, you can always get two different plates, one flat and one raised, or you can buy slightly smaller ones that you could use simultaneously on the same grill to make breakfast with steak on the side.
Advantages Of Using A Griddle Plate For Big Gatherings
The griddle plate gives you a large cooking area to prepare a large amount of food for many people at once. It also means you can keep food warm while dishing up to your guests.
Not only that but using the plate will save you time when doing large volumes of food for a large group of people. If you are anticipating a large family gathering at Christmas, and your grill won’t cut it, then time to get yourself a grill plate.
Additionally, using the flat-top will eliminate the need to have a lot of different plans and skillets around you, making both cooking and cleaning a lot simpler and faster. Not only that, but you are less likely to have food falling off the plate and into the grill.
For a good range of flat top options, check out this range from Steelmadeusa.com
Is Cooking On A Griddle Plate Healthy?
Most griddle plates come with grease drainage holes that allow the fat to drop off the cooking surface and into a draw or trap on the grill. It’s obviously unhealthy to eat that kind of fat in your meal, so draining it off is preferable.
Also, too much fat in your food can alter the flavor as well. The grill also drains fat off, and the gas grill also traps this in the designated containers. So adding a griddle plate to your gas grill will keep the fat off and keep the flavor in.
Aside from the nutritional aspects, the griddle plate adds that delicious smoky flavor, leaving those restaurant-style sear marks.
While the griddle plate offers some great cooking options, it also has a few ‘cons’ that you need to be aware of.
The Cons Of Cooking On A Griddle Plate
As with any cooking accessory, the griddle plate needs to be cleaned, and this needs to be done immediately after cooking. This can be easily done using a little warm water and cleaning off the residue with a paper towel or cloth.
With a griddle plate, it’s not advisable to leave the cooking residue on the plate after cooking. It may be a mild inconvenience at the time, but the effort will be well worth it.
If you don’t clean the griddle plate straight after use, it will create a layer of carbonized grease and food debris that sits on the surface. This can be difficult to clean as it’s a rigid layer, and cooking on a surface caked with this layer will affect the heat distribution and deliver uneven heat to the cooking surface.
Not only that, but the seasoning on the grill plate may be affected, which will impact the corrosion of the plate over time as well as the flavor of the food coming off the grill.
Another consideration is that the griddle plate will be used at very high temperatures, which will lead to a lot of smoke being released while cooking. It would be advisable to use your griddle plate outdoors or in a very well-ventilated space.
Seasoning Your Griddle Plate
One of the critical and non-negotiable aspects of a griddle plate is seasoning. Seasoning involves applying a light layer of oil to the surface both before use and afterward.
This has two benefits for your griddle plate. Firstly, steel or cast iron exposed to high temperatures and moisture in the air will rust and corrode over time. To prevent this and extend the life of your griddle plate to well beyond your own, you need to season it.
The seasoning also gives the plate its non-stick properties, and above all that, it adds that unique flavor to your food. The oil you use is also essential, so a cooking oil or light flavor oil such as olive or flaxseed is perfect for this.
To season your griddle plate, simply unpack your plate and then wash it in warm water, a little soap, a very little soap. These steel plates need very little soap to clean them. Once clean, you can wipe off the extra moisture with a paper towel or cloth.
Before applying the oil, make sure your plate is completely dry, as you don’t want moisture trapped between the oil and the steel surface.
Once the surface is dry, you can apply a light layer of oil over the whole surface and then pack it away. Remember that you need to do this every time after using it to ensure it stays seasoned and reduces the risk of corrosion.
Storing Your Griddle Plate Properly
Depending on where you live, you need to ensure that your griddle plate is stored in a dry, well-ventilated area that can provide consistent airflow and not allow moisture to build up and create corrosion on your cooking surface.
This is especially relevant if you live by the coast or other areas with high humidity, and you need to be vigilant and disciplined with storing and seasoning your griddle plate.
Choose Your Griddle Plate Size Carefully
Remember that a griddle plate is large and very heavy, and you need to find one that will match the cooking area of your gas grill and one that you have space to store. Even if you have a large grill, you may not necessarily need the same size griddle plate.
You need to match your griddle size to the volume of food you will be cooking most time when you use your gas grill. If you are only going to be cooking for four people, you won’t need a 72″ griddle plate.
On the other hand, if your existing grill isn’t going to accommodate your large family, it may be time to get a larger grill too!
Make sure that you have adequate space to store your accessory as well; living in a small house may not be suited to finding a place to keep a full-sized griddle plate.
Picking the best option is about the griddle plate material that will suit the temperature levels you use, the size based on how many people you’d be cooking for, and remember the maintenance as well.
The first prize would be cast iron or stainless steel, as the toughest materials for griddle plates. Stainless is highly resistant to corrosion and can certainly stand the high temperatures of the gas grill.
On the other hand, cast iron will outlast most things and survive more than a few generations if well looked after. Its durability is legendary, and the added benefit of that seasoned smoky flavor is tough to ignore. On a side note, there are many cases of cast iron cookware lasting more than a century and still working perfectly.
Cast iron also adds a certain beauty and effortless functionality to any kitchen. This is why many chefs and restaurants use this material for their flat tops, pans, and skillets.
Griddle Plates From Steelmade USA
While there are a few suppliers and manufacturers of griddle plates, Steelmade USA offers a solid range of these products for gas grills, so let’s look at a few of those.
The Flattop Starter Kit
This kit comes complete with everything you need to get going. It includes:
- Flattop grill tray
- Dishwasher safe removable drip tray
- Stainless steel drip tray
- Flat top toolset which consists of two large restaurant-style spatulas -one solid and one perforated; a grill scraper, and two squirt bottles for oil, water, or sauce
- Flat top conditioning oil
- Flat top scrubber
This is designed for a standard 30″ gas cooking surface with four burners and has a total of 540 square inches of cooking space. The 3/16″ mild steel heavy-duty construction comes with a lifetime warranty. You can see this starter kit here.
Pro Series SteelMade Flat Top Grill
This grill features a similar mild steel construction as the previous one but is double the thickness at 3/8″ and features a lifetime warranty. The dishwasher-safe removable drip tray is also included with this griddle plate.
With the 540 square inches extra thick surface, this is the professional’s choice as this allows for heavy pots to be utilized on top for boiling water, and it cooks 20% faster than the standard flat top.
The thicker surface also means faster recovery time and lower temperature drop when adding food to the cooking area, and the hand-oiled finish creates a natural non-stick finish.
You can see this product here.
The Pro Series Flat Top Ultimate Kit
Saving the best for last, this is indeed the Ultimate kit from Steelmade for the flat top. The flat-top grill is the Pro Series featured above, but the kit comes with a few more items.
This kit also comes with a tool kit, the flat top care kit, and the cover board care kit, along with the ½ inch stainless steel drip tray.
This set comes with either a maple or walnut cover board that will add a touch of wood and protection to your flat top griddle plate. It covers the whole surface and is a thick and solid fit over your flat top.
Over and above being a protective cover, the board is also a high-quality cutting board, so you have the option of prepping food right next to the gas grill or gas stove.
The most convenient aspect to all of this is that you don’t need to remove your flat top from the gas grill or gas stove as the board covers it entirely and keeps out the hair and dust that would otherwise end up on the cooking surface.
Not only that but the board has been specially designed with a u-shaped cut to fit securely over the griddle plate. Another benefit is the added counter space!
You can see more of this and other Steelmade USA Products here.
There are evident advantages to acquiring a griddle plate for your gas grill, and all of them add up to great meals, good fun, easy cleaning, and a lifetime of effortless cooking.
While you may need to scout around to find the best one suited to your grill size and the number of mouths you need to feed, starting with the range from Steelmade USA is a great place to begin!