Everyone is looking for the best way to cook something and that is especially true when you are looking for a way to cook your food on a flat top grill or griddle. Like you, I am always trying to find that one tip that will make my food taste better, easier or will save me some time.
Know what type of griddle you have
Most new flat top griddles come with thermal mats to help conduct heat evenly throughout the plate.
This helps to create better cooks by preventing hot spots on the surface of the grill. Also, having a lower resistance in the heating zone is helpful for nicer-looking seared meat.
However, all plates are not alike. Some older models were made without any matting at all, or they may still be using aluminum plates from the 80s. A solid steel plate will allow you to get a more uniform cooking experience. You can also try an alloyed metal composition, which is even smoother!
Some smaller cast iron models do not have any built-in mats, so make sure to buy one if needed.
Learn about its construction
A flat top grill or griddle is a cooking surface where you place either pancakes or frying items such as eggs and sausages. It can also be used for breading foods before fry day.
It works like this: You put some food on one side (the bottoms) of the pan and water on the other (top). As the food cooks, the temperature increases and steam dries the bottom while the egg coating gets crispy and delicious.
There are three types of flat tops: electric, gas, and wood. They all work off the same basic premise – heat + liquid = good meal.
Here are some differences between them: Electric tends to cost more. However, cleaning an electronic unit is easier compared to the others. With gases and oils, hygiene is important, but oil changes are easy and cleaning up requires little effort. Wood by nature is slow to cook with, and needs enough fuel to accomplish the task.
That being said, don’t ditch your microwave just yet! This method has been around longer than most people think and is still extremely useful when it comes to quickly heating up beverages after a long workout.
Understand how it works
A griddle is a large cooking surface that uses heated coals or an electric oven to cook bread, pancakes, cookies, and so on. The food doesn’t bake — it simply cooks on top of the heating element without melting into it.
Baking is not different from other methods , except that the griddle is used instead of the oven. Hot air goes around the item being baked, creating steam which helps lift the flavor during baking.
This method can be useful for many reasons; however, I must say that roasting recipes are my “go-to” recipe type when I want something simple and delicious. Also, given the proper equipment (next part of this article), any recipe can be roasted. It ends up giving you a crisp outer layer and a nice inner dish covered in skin because all the moisture jumps down through the grill/broiler as it completes its process.
Know how to use it
A griddle is not used every day, so it needs to be easy to operate. If you have no idea how to begin using it, then hire someone that can teach you or read about how to use it.
There are two ways to use your flat top grill. You can cook something directly on the surface of the grate, or you can put food in an oven placed into the grate.
The second option is actually baking bread on the flat top grill. By putting the bread in the pan with the oven, and adding some water, you can create a little bit of steam, letting you bake a loaf of bread without having to open a bag of flour.
As for meats, you can also make fried foods this way. Choose whichever method seems most convenient to you.
Be aware of it
There are many styles of griddles that do not require any special skills or techniques to use. They can be used effectively for various types of cooking.
However, there are some things about them that may not be advantageous for you to learn how to accurately cook with them.
First, although they’re useful for frying something, they lack versatility in that you cannot fry more than one dish at a time using them.
Second, they aren’t very user-friendly because you have to manage the food temperature pretty close to the heating element, which can lead to burning.
Third, they don’t allow enough room for pots to swing freely, so care must be taken when heating liquids.
Finally, since they’re made of steel, they tend to rust over time. Find another way to soften their impact on your kitchen environment if yours is full of chemicals.
Don’t preheat on high.
If you cook quickly, waiting for the grill to reach high temperatures might not be necessary. But preheating is important if you do not want your food to burn or keep cooking time down.
When using a flat top, always check to make sure it reaches hot enough before placing any food onto it.
Most people leave their stove top turned onto high heat before they start to get ready to cook.
This can be considered normal or default mode when cooking. You are immediately putting food in the fire/cooking surface instead of letting the fuel inside turn to ash while it waits for something useful to do.
If you don’t have access to a dedicated grill, you can use your oven so long as you maintain sufficient distance from the heating element.
For example, if you only have one burn pottery plate that you reuse for griddles (and this is what most folks will resort to), then using the oven isn’t very efficient. But, there are plenty of other options to choose from. If you need more than two burner surfaces, you are going to have to invest in some cast iron pans or even pots and pans.
However, it is perfectly acceptable to own only stainless steel appliances if that is what is convenient for you. It just might take a little bit longer to prepare food where necessary.
Oil your gas griddle surface after every cook.
‘Oil’ refers to both your choice of cooking oil (flavoring) and preventing sticking issues.
If you don’t, then there’s a good chance that, at some point, pieces of your food will stick to the surface of your gas griddle.
You can prevent this by lightly coating the entire surface with butter or olive oil when it is hot enough for using as an oven would be. You also want to keep an eye on the grill while you are using it so you know when it needs to be re-oiled.
Create a two-zone system.
This is probably my favorite feature of an indoor grill/grater. For example, have one set of pots and pans for cooking vegetables and another set of pots and pans for mixing everything together to make a pizza.
This way you can prepare two things at once without having to cook them both in the same pan or pot.
If you do not have a kitchen aid, hand blender, or food processor, this could be completely distracting since you would be doing two different things. It also takes up space that could be used for other foods.
Turn off your flat top grill a few minutes before your food is done.
If you cook meat, be sure to keep an eye on it as it finishes cooking so that you can turn off the heat soon enough to prevent it from burning.
If you’re cooking onions or peppers, for example, let them continue to sweat for a few minutes to soften them up before putting them into your sandwiches or burgers.
Also, check the hamburger(s) after they finish being cooked to make sure they are done to your liking.
Don’t use just one burner.
As with any type of cooking, never use just one burner to burn your fuel. If you have two burners, then by all means cook them separately.
However, now that we know what we’re talking about, let’s talk about how to separate your burners. There are several techniques people can use for separating their combustibles, here are two examples;
The first is something called “parallel paraffin paths”. What this does is that it puts both fuels on each platform (separately) simultaneously.
Then, there’s the so-called “fire log method” which uses a fireplace. You put the food in the middle of the fireplace and surround it with hot coals. This also works well if you need to make adjustments while keeping foods constant.
In conclusion, keep multiple burners when possible and learn how to adjust them properly. Also, check out our article on How To Separate Your Flames From Your Fuel.
Keep it clean
The main reason that cooking over a flat top grill is more popular now than ever before is that people realize how important it is to keep their grills cleaned regularly.
Many years ago, most homes did not have access to an internal kitchen furnace. Therefore, they would either use a cast iron stove or they would cook on a wood fire outside the house.
Since many families did not have access to an internal oven, there was little opportunity to bake with sugar, oil, cereals, etc., other than boiling water which was very time-consuming. Thus, opportunities to practice culinary skills were rare.
However, cleaning off old food after eating was common for every family, whether rich or poor. There must have been times when someone in the family got sick from some poison found in food, either from animals or through chemicals used to preserve foods.
Some members of these families developed cancers and similar problems due to exposure to harmful substances found in food. It is only recently that manufacturers started adding protective agents to processed foods.
These companies could not be expecting all types of illnesses as warnings for consumers. People need to understand risk communication such as threat perception and perceived control. These concepts are what drive beliefs about danger and motivate precautionary behavior.
Consumers should feel confident enough to take charge and protect themselves by maintaining safe cooking procedures. Things like keeping your fingertips clean, wearing gloves if you’re working with something hot, and
For most people, cooking is an activity that they enjoy. However, for some, it can be more like work. They feel obligated to do it because they have to.
You should set yourself apart from the crowd by keeping your kitchen clean. You will start to feel more compelled to cook and create memories with your family by doing so.
Don’t worry about what you don’t know or how much time it takes you to learn new techniques. Your goal should be to avoid using pans and other metal containers when possible.
The heavier the container used, the harder it is to stir things up and get them moving again once they’ve cooled down. Pans act as insulators, making it easier to chill liquids and dishes that are coated in one of them.
Pay attention to your propane tank.
This is probably one of the biggest bills you will face when cooking on your flat top grill. The cost of propane can really add up, so make sure you are getting a good deal.
Also, be aware that while most griddles require some form of gas, they can still be used exclusively on both natural and liquefied petroleum gases (LPG).
For instance, there are some models that can be equipped with an electric heating element or heated from within using liters. These work great for those who do not have access to either natural or LPG, or simply want to reduce their bill.
Flat Top Grill Tips and Techniques to Look Like a Pro
There are so many cooking methods for you to choose from! If you want to eat healthier, there’s still an option that can make your meals unique. Try searing foods over a hot fire using professional BBQ techniques.
This method gives these foods a tasty smoky flavor that works well with most recipes. You can also re-purpose old cookbooks as guides for how to do it right.
There are several tools designed specifically for pancakes, skillets, and other flat surfaces that help you achieve the perfect crust every time. Your local grocer may have all kinds of options available if you don’t feel like buying them online.
Look for advice on the internet
You can search “flat top cooking” or “traditional griddling” to find recipes that use all types of flat top cookers, including convection if you are concerned about pollution.
There are hundreds of blogs written about traditional ways of doing things. If there is no online recipe, then perhaps nobody has told you how to do it. Try different methods until one feels comfortable.
Google helps when you don’t know where to start. Type foods into the search box and see what comes up.
Some people put food words in quotes like “grilled” or “broiled”. That is because those techniques work better for certain foods. For example, only broil or grill liquids.
For now, keep tabs on websites with reviews about your favorite restaurants. These can give clues about their cooking styles.
Make a plan for your cooking
This is what separates good cooks from bad cooks. You can be one of the world’s greatest chefs without having know how to cook, but you have to be willing to learn something new.
When you are planning your meal make a recipe or two, but also think up some others. If there are several things you want to try then making a list helps! Don’t worry if they don’t all work out, as soon as you understand why something worked or didn’t work you can use that knowledge in another way.
The best way to do this is by reading about food prepared by other people. With such an emphasis on health these days, many more people are turning to the internet for advice and inspiration.
There are lots of blogs and websites with various tips and ideas so it doesn’t feel like you are going into this unknown area.
What to Cook on a Flat Top Grill
The menu for your outdoor kitchen should include enough variety that you don’t have to cook with it removed from your indoor or out of your outdoor kitchens. Some people prefer cooking with friends, but this is not possible when you have a flat top grill.
There are many things you can fry or bake with a flat top grill. Many like putting one in their portable barbecue baskets and taking them somewhere else to eat what they have cooked.
You can make pancakes, waffles, pizza, cookies, and so much more on a flat top grill. You will also find that all types of dishes can be made easier using a flat top grill.
Have good ingredients
If you are spending money on any kitchen item, make sure it is a great quality product. You will be putting your hard-earned cash into this device, so you want to be confident in doing so.
Quality knives are an investment that look after themselves but other items such as cutting boards and cookbooks do not have warranties. A cheap knife can break easily or leave you with bad cuts from poor materials.
Same thing goes for glasses and utensils; avoid buying items that cannot be washed repeatedly. Any device used for cooking should be thoroughly cleaned before use of making another one your own.
Keep foods cool and fresh with the right storage containers. Spill-proof and leakproof, they are perfect for storing liquids or dry goods in your kitchen. You can also use them to transport items in your car or take them on a picnic. They come in different sizes and colors, so you can find one that suits your personal style or needs.
This refers to prepared food only and does not apply to fresh produce or other non-prepared food. Ice packs and frozen meals (though heat safe) may be worth a try if you don’t feel like going out.
If there is no food service available, then running cold water through the refrigerator or eating something chilled may help. Choose what works for you, because it is better than having a hot day while trying to eat healthy.
Final Takeaway – Cooking on a Flat Top Grill
Once you’ve mastered the basics of cooking on a flat top grill, let your mind wander to more adventurous food ideas!
Grilling has taken over many people’s diets due to its simplicity and the variety of foods that can be grilled.
You may have noticed in your recent visits to a restaurant or meat shop that most meals are available as grilled dishes. The versatility of grilling allows for a wide range of flavors and nutrients.
Rather than buying just any grilled dish, try making your own creations by combining different ingredients and concepts successfully using a griddle.
Let’s look at some examples of breakfast recipes that can be made using a griddle. As we know, pancakes can be prepared multiple ways, with several flours being used together. Let’s look at two unique pancake recipes.