If you have been under a rock the past year, you may have missed the griddle craze that seems to be popping up everywhere, from Instagram to your local hardware shop, griddles are everywhere!
But, if you haven’t used a griddle (or flat top grill) you might be wondering what this odd-looking grill is, how to use it and, more importantly, what is a griddle in the first place?
Welp, I’m here to answer all your questions and also give a little insight into the vast types of griddles, including the history and modern day uses.
What Is A Griddle?
Griddle Defined: According to the smart folks at Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a Griddle as: a flat stone or metal surface on which food is baked or fried”.
Basically, a griddle is just what that says, a flat cooking surface, where the heat source is located under the cooking surface.
So, is that it? Well, yes and no. Griddles have a long-standing history on a global level and it wasn’t until Blackstone made the griddle one of the trendy outdoor grilling go-to’s.
In Latin culture, the griddle goes back as far as the 14th Century where griddles (referred to as budare) were more of a stone slab that was heated to cook flatbreads like tortillas, casabe and more.
Additionally, griddles have a Welsh history as they were used for centuries in Scotland to cook foods such as scones and oatcakes.
However, in Scotland, the griddle carried a slightly different design with a round, flat piece of iron, curved upwards on the end, and could be suspended by chains to heat and cook over open fire.
Over the years, the griddles evolved into several more modern devices. With the advent of griddle tops for stoves as well as electric griddles.
In more recent years, the popularity of the outdoor griddle has taken shape to compete with the big boys in backyard cooking, offering rivalries to brands like Treager and Webster.
Once again, a new toy and new style of cooking for the backyard chef in all of us!
An electric griddle is just like it sounds, it’s a (generally) non-stick cooking surface that uses an electrical heating element to heat the cooking surface.
These grew in popularity as a way to cook several breakfast items at once.
Electric griddles were always popular as they gave so much flexibility in cooking, the space to cook on and the ability to really dial-in the temperature with digital displays.
The electric griddle was generally the only griddle game out there, until recently when the outdoor griddle partnered up with some great marketing to make the wildly popular Blackstone Griddle.
In-fact, Blackstone recently released an “E-Series’ ‘ model of the Blackstone Griddle that’s designed to be a tabletop griddle and comes with a hood.
If you are intrigued by the thought of a Blackstone Electric Griddle, check out my full review here along with video walkthroughs of the features.
Outdoor griddles are on the rise, there is no more denying it.
What i thought might be a short-lived fad a couple years ago, has grown to an almost pop-culture icon breathing life into the #griddlenation
Outdoor griddles are a more unique take on the both, modern electric griddle and a hundred year old fire fueled griddle.
In the modern griddle design, the cooking surface is made of either cold-rolled steel, carbon steel, or sometimes, a stainless steel surface material.
The heating element is an H-Shape design that routes propane or natural gas to ignite under the cooking surface.
Heat is controlled via a traditional grill-styled knob.
In my testing, the Blackstone 28’inch model can generate heat up to 700 degrees, which is pretty darn hot.
The griddle top and heating element are packaged well into a “gas-grill” design with a metal cart body on rollers and side tables for assisting in managing cooking and food prep areas.
Ever been to Waffle House? If so, you are already familiar with commercial griddles. These cooking power houses give a line cook the ability to manage multiple meals and temperatures over a very large cooking surface.
Commercial griddles are generally made of stainless steel materials, although it’s entirely possible that some out there are more of a cold-rolled carbon steel style.
Is it a Flat Top Grill or a Griddle?
Great question, and frankly no one really addresses this as both terms are tossed around interchangeably.
While there are publications that imply the heating elements of a flat top grill are in some manner able to create more intense heat, there is nothing that really supports this.
Most modern outdoor griddles have a gas tube heating element that rivals all gas grills and well, griddles.
Bottom line, a flat top grill in modern terms, is the same thing and depending who you ask, the term is interchangeable.
Is a Griddle Worth it?
Yes. Griddles offer a very unique cooking experience where cooks can create more, have more flexibility and do more at once than with any backyard grill I can think of.
With heat zones, no grates for food to fall through and room to cook several things at once, a griddle just makes sense for most.
Let’s look at it this way, next time you grill up a breakfast, remember how little you can do on one pan or grill at a time.
Then, think about a griddle, you can literally cook eggs in any style, bacon, sausage, hash browns and veggies…..ALL AT ONCE.
I head a quote somewhere that sticks with me:
“My griddle can do anything your grill can do, and about a hundred things your grill cant”.-Some Dude
I love that quote and agree, but I’m partial I suppose.
Well, hopefully this was helpful in getting a better understanding of what a griddle is. Even more so, I hope this possible tipped you over the edge if you where trying to decide on buying a griddle. Either way, get outside and get griddling!