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Though a lot of people might think a griddle and a grill are the same, we are here to tell you that they are not, and there is a difference between them which many get confused about.
The grill has been a staple of the barbecue for years but over the last decade, the outdoor gas griddle has soared in popularity. Many have replaced their old-fashioned grill with a griddle and use it as their cooking device for barbecues with friends and family.
But what is the difference between them? We have written this article to tell you a little more about the two cooking devices and how they differ in terms of cooking, size, temperature, and more. Let’s dive right in!
The key difference between the two cooking devices is that the cooking surface differs from the griddle to the grill. A griddle has a solid cooking surface that is flat, whereas a traditional grill uses grates that are parallel metal bars with space in between them.
Ultimately, however, they are both grills and cook the food in similar ways. This means there is a common overlap in their abilities, which we are going to discuss in this article.
However, we will also discuss what one cooking device can do, that the other can’t, and why so many people are choosing griddles over traditional grills for their barbecues.
Both a griddle and grill use fire and metal to cook food. However, they do this slightly differently.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of what you can or can’t cook, or how the food turns out in terms of taste and texture.
When you cook on a griddle, the food isn’t exposed directly to the heat and instead, the heat is transferred from the heating element through the metal cooking surface to the food.
This means there are no fire flare-ups and any oil or grease gets left behind on the cooktop, instead of falling through the grates. You can also scrape the excess into the grease trap.
The temperatures used for cooking on a griddle will be lower compared to traditional grilling temperatures, and you should find 350F is usually the sweet spot.
You should adjust this temperature to what you are cooking, however, as food like eggs should be cooked at around 275F. The temperature can also go as high as 500F and if you are trying to sear a steak, the higher temperature is what you should be aiming for.
Griddles are perfect for sautéing food, and this is something that makes it so different from a traditional grill - where veggies would fall through if cooked directly on the grates. Foods that are cooked on a griddle, taste a lot more fried, and have a much crispier texture.
Griddles are constantly increasing in popularity, and many people are learning more and more about the types of food they can create. They put a spin on traditional grills and make delicious, tasty food.
Differing from a griddle, the open grates of the grill exposes the food directly to the heat as heat is transferred to the food from the metal cooking surface. Grills are also equipped with a lid, that can be closed and this can instantly kick up the temperatures that are being created by an oven effect.
Cooking temperatures start as low as 250F-300F, but they can reach 600F or higher. This can help cook different foods that need high temperatures and food that benefits from being cooked as if it were oven-cooked as a result of the grill’s lid.
Food that has been cooked on a grill is less fried and crispy and will taste a lot smokier. This will be particularly noticeable if you use charcoal whilst cooking and the smoky flavor comes from the smoke created as the oil and grease drips through the grates and directly onto the fire.
With a grill, you can purposefully create grill marks and this means you can get not only that perfect taste but also that perfect texture and finished look.
Unlike a griddle, you do have to deal with fire flare-ups however, as just like we previously mentioned, the oil and grease drip onto the grates which causes the flames.
This means you have to be extra careful not to burn yourself when using a grill, yet don’t be afraid to give them a go as they can cook up some super tasty smoky-flavored food, with texture and taste added to each dish.
Generally, similar foods are cooked on both a griddle and grill, yet one might yield a better result than the other, depending on the food type.
Griddles have a flat cooking surface, lower temperatures, and a lack of a lid, and because of this, they are great for cooking smaller or thinner types of foods, or even runny foods such as pancakes as the liquid cannot fall through the grate.
The griddle is often popular for cooking breakfast foods as it lets you cook eggs, pancakes, bacon, French toasts, hash browns, and other items, all at the same time and with minimal fuss.
If you attempted these foods on a grill, you would need to use a pan or foil to stop the food from slipping into the flames and this can be tricky for foods such as eggs or pancakes.
When it comes to lunch and dinner, grilled cheese or a cheesesteak sandwich is often popular. Griddles are also able to sauté vegetables, cook tricky Mexican foods like quesadillas, and stir fry items such as fried rice.
Griddles are versatile and can cook a lot of foods that would otherwise be difficult to cook on a traditional grill.
Smash burgers are also a favorite amongst griddle users and unlike a normal hamburger, the meat is ‘smashed’ onto the cooktop using a press.
This provides a brown crust that becomes crispy and delicious on the griddle, whereas it would just fall right through the grate on a grill. Other meat items that are also commonly cooked on the grill include steak, pork chops, fish, and sausages.
There are very few items you cannot cook on a grill as a result of its flat cooking surface, yet despite this, the next section looks at foods that will give you a better result if you cook them on a grill instead.
Some foods, although they can be cooked on a griddle, cook a lot better on the grill. A grill is much better at cooking larger foods such as thick cuts of meat, and vegetables you don’t want to sauté.
Examples of these foods are whole chickens, thick cuts of steak, pork tenderloins, large chicken breasts, ribs, or juicy corn on the cobs.
As we mentioned, you can cook these foods on a griddle but it might be more difficult, take a lot longer to cook through, or end up with poor results.
In certain cases, it would not work at all, especially larger foods that need to be cooked slowly all the way through. If this is the case, you might end up with food that is cooked on the outside but still raw in the middle.
The lid of the grill is also useful in creating the oven effect. This helps you to cook the food to its proper internal temperature without burning the outer skin of the food.
Grills are still great for cooking up similar foods you find on a griddle such as burgers, hot dogs, and fish, and with these types of food, you should expect results just as good as each other.
Cleaning and maintaining your griddle or grill is an important part of keeping your device safe and prolonging its lifespan. It also ensures you still get great quality food and will prevent rust or other deterioration from building up.
Usually, griddles are a lot easier to clean and maintain because of the flat surface top you use to cook. This is because, unlike a grill, you are not left with food bits and grease dripping down and getting all over the heating elements.
You do need to clean the surface of the griddle properly every time you cook on it.
The cleaning process of a griddle consists of scraping the cooktop surface with a scraper or a spatula to remove any of the remaining food or grease that has come off the food whilst cooking.
This gets collected in a grease trap on the griddle, which you simply empty and clean too. You can use a disposable foil liner in the grease trap to make things easier for you whilst cleaning and minimizing mess.
Once you have cleaned the griddle cooktop of food and oil, you will need to wipe it down with paper towels and if you have food still left on top of the griddle, you will need to apply a little bit of water and let the steam loosen up the remaining food bits.
You need to make sure you have cleaned the cooktop thoroughly and keep it protected when you are not using it.
It should always be covered to prevent damage from outdoor elements such as rain, dust, or even snow. If you fail to cover it, you might find it starts to rust easily and this will minimize its lifespan.
You might want to use both a soft and hardcover for extra protection and if you can, you should try wheeling your griddle to a covered area such as a garage or shed when you are not using it.
Grills usually require slightly more work when it comes to cleaning and maintaining as the food and grease will inevitably fall through the grates whilst cooking. This will collect below and cover the heating elements and base.
Use a grill brush and some damp paper towels to keep the grates clean between cooking and if you are using a charcoal grill, you will also need to remember to remove any ash or coal left after each separate cooking session.
If you are using a gas grill, you will need to clean it a lot more thoroughly and you will need to take apart the whole grill and its components. This can be time-consuming and can get particularly messy.
You will often find a lot of thick grease and cooked food that has been collected on the various parts of the grill below the grates. Grill Cleaning Service professionals are available if you do not have the time to clean it yourself.
Grill cleaning services will often use a steaming device to clean the grill components and will leave it good as new, but this method might not be cost-effective and with some spare time, degreasing product, gloves, and paper towels, you can tackle the grill yourself and save that dollar.
Before we round off this article, we are going to go through a basic summary of the pros and cons if you are still stuck on whether to use a griddle or a grill.
We hope by reading this article you now understand the difference between a griddle and a grill and which might be better for the types of food you want to cook at the barbecue.
Griddles are much more practical when it comes to cooking smaller foods or foods that would slip through the grates on a grill such as eggs or pancakes, but if you’re looking to cook an entire chicken, maybe choose to use the grill instead.
Always keep in mind the flavor and texture, and if you’re looking for a fried taste with a crispy texture, the griddle is your best option, but for that deep smoky flavor, stick to the old faithful grill.
Whichever you choose, we hope you cook up a delicious feast for you and some friends and family, and happy grilling!