Flat top grilling has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. It offers a unique cooking experience that allows for a wide range of foods to be cooked quickly and efficiently.
Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, a flat top grill is a great addition to any kitchen or outdoor cooking area.
One of the main advantages of flat top grilling is its versatility. Unlike traditional grills, which are limited to cooking certain types of food, a flat top grill can be used to cook just about anything.
From pancakes and eggs to burgers and steaks, a flat top grill can handle it all. It’s also great for cooking vegetables, seafood, and other delicate foods that might fall through the grates of a traditional grill.
Another benefit of flat top grilling is its speed. Because the cooking surface is flat and even, food cooks more quickly and evenly than it would on a traditional grill.
This means you can cook more food in less time, which is great for busy weeknights or entertaining guests.
Plus, the flat top makes it easy to cook multiple items at once, so you can prepare an entire meal on one surface.
What is Flat Top Grilling?
Flat top grilling is a type of cooking that involves using a flat, solid cooking surface to prepare food.
This surface is typically made of steel or cast iron and is heated by gas or electric burners located underneath.
Unlike traditional grilling, which involves cooking food over an open flame, flat top grilling provides a flat, even cooking surface that allows for more precise temperature control and a wider range of cooking techniques.
Flat top grilling is commonly used in restaurants and food trucks to prepare a variety of dishes, including burgers, pancakes, stir-fry, and even seafood.
The flat surface allows for easy flipping and turning of food, and the lack of grates means that smaller items won’t fall through the cracks.
Also, the flat top surface allows for the use of pots and pans, making it a versatile cooking method for a variety of dishes.
One of the benefits of flat top grilling is that it allows for a healthier cooking method. The flat surface means that excess fat and grease can easily be drained away from the food, resulting in a healthier final product.
Additionally, the lack of open flames means that there is less risk of flare-ups and burning, which can also contribute to a healthier cooking method.
Why Use a Flat Top Grill?
Flat Top Grills have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason.
They offer a variety of benefits that traditional grills do not, making them a versatile and convenient cooking option for many people.
One of the main advantages of a flat top grill is their versatility. While they may be called flat top “grills,” these appliances are capable of virtually any cooking style with help from the right accessories.
They can be used for everything from grilling steaks and burgers to cooking pancakes and eggs.
Another advantage of flat top grilling is that the surface area is much larger than a traditional grill. This means you can cook more food at once, making it ideal for feeding large groups of people.
Additionally, the flat surface means that you can cook a variety of foods at the same time, without worrying about food falling through the grates.
Flat top grills are also much easier to clean than traditional grills. The flat surface means that food and grease are less likely to get stuck in hard-to-reach areas, and most models come with a built-in grease management system to make cleaning up even easier.
Overall, a flat top grill is a great investment for anyone who loves to cook and wants a versatile and convenient cooking option.
With their large surface area, ease of use, and easy-to-clean design, it’s easy to see why they have become so popular in recent years.
Types of Flat Top Grills
When it comes to flat top grilling, there are several types of grills to choose from.
Each type has its own unique features and benefits. In this section, we will discuss the four main types of flat top grills: Gas Flat Top Grills, Electric Flat Top Grills, Stovetop Flat Tops, and Charcoal Flat Top Grills.
Gas Flat Top Grills
Gas flat top grills are the most popular type of flat top grill. They are easy to use and offer precise temperature control.
Gas flat top grills are powered by propane or natural gas and are perfect for outdoor cooking.
They come in various sizes, from small portable grills to large commercial-grade grills. Gas flat top grills are also easy to clean and maintain.
Electric Flat Top Grills
Electric flat top grills are perfect for indoor cooking. They are compact and easy to use, making them ideal for small spaces such as apartments or condos.
Electric flat top grills are powered by electricity and offer precise temperature control. They are also easy to clean and maintain.
Stovetop Flat Tops
Stovetop flat tops are designed to be used on top of a stove. They are compact and easy to store, making them perfect for small kitchens.
Stovetop flat tops are also affordable and easy to clean. However, they are not as powerful as gas or electric flat top grills.
Charcoal Flat Top Grills
Charcoal flat top grills offer a unique flavor to your food. They are powered by charcoal and are perfect for outdoor cooking.
Charcoal flat top grills are also affordable and easy to use. However, they require more maintenance than gas or electric flat top grills. They also take longer to heat up and cool down.
How to Choose the Best Flat Top Grill
Dedicated Griddle or a Grill?
When choosing a flat top grill, the first decision to make is whether you want a dedicated griddle or a grill that also has a griddle feature.
If you plan to use your flat top primarily for cooking breakfast foods, burgers, and sandwiches, a dedicated griddle may be the best option. However, if you want the versatility of both grilling and griddling, a grill with a griddle feature may be the way to go.
The size of your flat top grill will depend on how much cooking space you need and how much space you have available.
Flat top grills come in a variety of sizes, from small portable models to large restaurant-grade units. Consider how many people you will be cooking for and how often you will use the grill.
If you have limited space, a smaller model may be the best choice. However, if you plan to cook for large groups or host outdoor events, a larger model may be necessary.
Flat top grills can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Consider your budget when choosing a grill, but also keep in mind that a higher price tag may mean better quality and more features.
Determine the features that are most important to you and find a grill that fits within your budget.
Some features to consider include the number of burners, the size of the cooking surface, and the material of the griddle surface.
How to Season a Flat Top Grill
Oil Choice for Griddles
Seasoning a flat top grill is essential to ensure that it lasts longer and cooks food evenly. The first step in seasoning a flat top grill is to choose the right oil.
Vegetable oil is a popular choice for seasoning a flat top grill because it has a high smoke point and is readily available.
Canola oil is another popular choice because it is affordable and has a neutral flavor.
Flaxseed oil is the best choice for seasoning a flat top grill because it creates a hard, non-stick surface. However, it is more expensive and can be difficult to find.
When choosing an oil to season a flat top grill, it is important to avoid oils with low smoke points, such as olive oil, as they can burn and create a sticky residue on the grill surface.
Steps to Season a Flat Top Grill
Once you have selected the oil of your choice, you can begin seasoning your flat top grill. Follow these simple steps:
- Heat the grill to around 300°F – 350°F (150°C – 175°C) for 30 minutes.
- While the surface is slightly warm, apply a small amount of oil to the surface of the grill using a paper towel or a brush. Be sure to spread the oil evenly over the entire surface of the grill.
- Turn off the heat and let the grill cool down completely.
- Repeat steps two and three several times until the grill surface is dark and shiny.
It is important to note that seasoning a flat top grill is not a one-time process. You should season your grill regularly to maintain its non-stick surface and prevent rusting.
How to Cook on a Flat Top Grill
Griddle Heat Zone and How To Use Them To Your Advantage
Flat top grills have a large, flat cooking surface that allows for even heating and cooking. One of the key advantages of a flat top grill is the ability to use different heat zones to cook different foods at the same time.
The heat zones on a flat top grill are typically divided into three sections: the hot zone, the warm zone, and the cool zone.
The hot zone is located at the center of the grill and is the hottest part of the cooking surface. This is where you can sear meats, cook pancakes, and other foods that require high heat.
The warm zone is located on the outer edges of the hot zone and is slightly cooler. This is where you can keep cooked foods warm while you finish cooking other items.
Finally, the cool zone is located on the outer edges of the grill and is the coolest part of the cooking surface. This is where you can keep foods warm without cooking them further.
To use the heat zones to your advantage, start by preheating the grill on high for 10-15 minutes. Then, adjust the heat as needed to create the desired temperature zones.
For example, if you want to cook pancakes in the hot zone and keep bacon warm in the warm zone, turn down the heat in the warm zone while leaving the hot zone on high.
This will allow you to cook both items at the same time without burning the bacon or undercooking the pancakes.
Cooking Tips and Techniques
When cooking on a flat top grill, there are a few tips and techniques that can help you achieve the best results:
- Don’t preheat on high. Preheating on high can cause the grill to become too hot, which can lead to uneven cooking and burnt food. Instead, preheat on medium-high and adjust the heat as needed.
- Clean the griddle as you go with a scraper. This will prevent food from sticking to the surface and make cleanup easier.
- Oil your gas griddle surface after every cook. This will help prevent rust and keep the surface non-stick.
- Don’t rely on your heat zones alone. Use other cooking techniques like flipping, stirring, and moving food around the surface to ensure even cooking.
Flat top grills are versatile and can be used to cook a wide variety of foods, from breakfast items like pancakes and eggs to lunch and dinner items like burgers, stir-fry, and fajitas. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Maintenance and Cleaning of a Flat Top Grill
One of the most important aspects of maintaining a flat top grill is proper grease disposal. After each use, it is essential to remove all grease and debris from the grill’s surface.
This can be done using a scraper or spatula to push the grease into the grease trough. Once the grease has been collected in the trough, it can be disposed of in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
It is important to note that grease should never be poured down a drain or disposed of in a regular trash can.
Re-Oil After Every Cook
After each use, it is also important to re-oil the grill’s surface. This helps to prevent rust and keep the grill in good condition.
To re-oil the grill, simply apply a thin layer of oil to the surface using a paper towel or cloth. Be sure to use a high smoke point oil, such as canola or vegetable oil, to prevent the oil from burning and creating smoke.
Despite proper maintenance, rust may still occur on a flat top grill. If rust is present, it is important to address it as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
To remove rust from a flat top grill, use a rust remover specifically designed for use on grills. Apply the rust remover to the affected area and let it sit for the recommended amount of time.
Then, use a scraper or steel wool to remove the rust. Once the rust has been removed, be sure to re-oil the grill’s surface to prevent further rust from forming.
Maintaining and cleaning a flat top grill is essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance.
By following these simple steps, grill enthusiasts can enjoy delicious meals on a well-maintained and clean flat top grill for years to come.
Flat top grilling is an excellent way to cook a variety of foods, from burgers and hot dogs to vegetables and seafood.
With the right equipment and techniques, it’s easy to achieve delicious, evenly cooked meals that will impress your friends and family.
When choosing a flat top grill, consider factors such as size, portability, and fuel type. It’s also important to season your grill properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
Whether you’re a seasoned grilling pro or just starting out, a flat top grill is a versatile and fun addition to any outdoor cooking setup.
So fire up the grill, grab your favorite ingredients, and get ready to enjoy some delicious meals in the great outdoors!