Griddle and Grill have plenty in common but these are still two completely different cooking surfaces that make it possible to prepare food in different ways.
The choice between a griddle and a traditional grill should start with understanding the key differences between them. Next you have to take into account what type of food you are planning to prepare.
With us you will find out what is a griddle and in what situations it will be better than a standard grill. You may come to a conclusion that it’s a good idea to have a grill and a griddle in order to take advantage of both – such solution is what we recommend the most.
Griddle vs Grill – The Main Differences
Of course we all know already that the shape of the cooking area is the most important difference but how does it impact cooking? Is it the only key difference? Of course not, that’s why we have created an extensive article on the topic.
The griddle utilizes indirect heat which means that the burners heat up the place where food is cooked. It means that the food has no direct contact with the source of heat. When it comes to the standard grill (charcoal), the food can be cooked directly over the flames.
Lack of contact with the flames means lack of flare-ups. When it comes to the griddle, all the food juices go 100% straight to the appropriate container for grease and food remains. When it comes to a regular grill, it all ends up inside, causing frequent flare-ups. In case of gas grills, it isn’t quite as frequent, but still present.
A typical grill is made for cooking at very high temperatures. This makes it possible to achieve a crunchy and crispy skin with sear marks on the food’s surface. Achieving a temperature of about 500 degrees is not a problem for a charcoal or gas grill.
The griddle, on the other hand, works best at medium temperatures of about 300-400 degrees F. These are still perfect conditions to achieve at least part of what a much hotter grill can, or to simply cook in peace at a lower temperature.
Type of food
When using a grill and a griddle, you can mainly cook the same types of food, but in different ways. Grilling allows to achieve fantastic sear marks whereas griddle allows to cook tinier food.
Frying eggs, pancakes or finely sliced vegetables is possible with a flat surface, and this is where the griddle has a huge advantage. On top of that, the flat plate is characterized by a much bigger capacity and the comfort of cooking large quantities of food.
This makes the griddle perfect for parties or wherever large quantities of food are cooked (like restaurants for example).
What is a Griddle
In simplest words, it is simply a flat metal plate heated with burners located directly under it. The hot plate makes it possible to cook food just like a pan, except that it offers much more room.
The greatest advantage of a flat plate is the ability to cook tiny food or liquids (pancakes, eggs etc). Just like a pan, however, a flat plate makes it possible to cook almost everything.
Types of griddles:
Generally speaking, a griddle is just a flat cooking plate, but in practice there are several types of this cooking device available in different versions.
These are small-sized and mobile griddles that don’t take much space, which makes it possible to bring them along on the road. They work great for cooking various meals away from home, we especially recommend them when going camping.
Of course they will work just as well at home for quick preparation of meat and pancakes. Once you’re done cooking, you can hide the griddle away in storage so that it doesn’t take space in the backyard.
They run on small, lightweight propane bottles, which are also easy to bring along on the road.
You’re planning to cook a lot? In that case, a perfect choice will be a full-sized griddle with a size of a typical grill.
Such big griddle is characterized by its large capacity and comfort of cooking. It works great when you cook a lot, especially if you cook different types of food at the same time.
The bigger number of burners makes it possible to create different heat zones.
The large construction provides a lot of working area, which makes the cooking comfort much better. On top of that, you have a lot of storage room for your accessories.
You already have a big gas grill but would still like to enjoy griddle grilling?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money or look for space in the backyard for a new cooking device. Just buy a high quality metal plate that can be used with other grills.
The operating principle is the same as with a standard griddle. The only difference is that you use burners of an existing grill for cooking.
All you have to do is place such plate directly over the grill’s burners and after some time you can enjoy all that is offered by the griddle.
Plates of this type have an adequate construction that catches the grease. The downside is slightly poorer effectiveness and speed of the plate heating up. The upside, on the other hand, is saving the money and room for a new device.
A great solution if you already have a solid gas grill and only need a griddle once in a while.
What you can cook with griddle
This article is about comparing the griddle with the grill, so it will be the best if we tell about what a grates grill can’t do.
Rice, eggs, pancakes and many other things like that can’t be prepared on grates.
Frying finely sliced vegetables separately or at the same time using different heat zones – that’s another thing you can’t do with a regular grill.
Besides these things, you can obviously prepare the same things as with a regular grill, as in wieners, wings, steaks, hot dogs and others (without sear marks).
As you can see, there are plenty of possibilities, and the ones the griddle is famous for really encourage to try this cooking style.
What is a Grill
The cooking area in a grill is grates, which have gaps that food remains or liquids might fall through. The grates are located directly over the source of heat, above the burners or hot charcoal.
Hot grates make it possible to achieve beautiful sear marks on the food’s surface, especially when sear marks are being formed.
Depending on the grill, the food is exposed to direct heat, which in many situations is an upside.
Types of grills:
There are many types of grills and configurations, you can choose among different types of constructions, sizes or sources of heat. Each of them has its upsides and downsides that cannot be described in one sentence, which is why I recommend reading more on them in separate articles.
We will list a few of them together with basic descriptions:
Charcoal Grills – The best type of grill for those who love interacting with the grill and the smoky flavor of food. It takes a lot of time to get the charcoal burning and attention for temperature control but the final results of cooking make it worth it.
Gas Grills – An incredibly simple, fast and easy to use grill, all you have to do is turn a knob and start the ignition. After about a dozen minutes you can start cooking, which tends to be very tasty, but to many people it lacks the smoky flavor. It’s a perfect alternative to laborious charcoal grills, which require a lot of time.
Portable Grills – Small-sized and usually lightweight grills that you can bring along wherever you want. Depending on the type of power, you can take them almost anywhere, the most popular ones are the versions that run on charcoal and propane.
What you can cook with grill
All solid food items that won’t fall through the gaps in the grates. A standard grill is brilliant at grilling steaks, hamburgers, wieners, wings, turkey and many other pieces of meat.
With use of the right technique, you can turn a regular grill into a smoker, which will allow you to also smoke thicker slabs of meat such as brisket, ribs etc.
There are plenty of possibilities provided that the food isn’t delicate and won’t fall through the grates into the grill’s inside.
The best advice that we can give is to buy a standard grill and a full-sized griddle if you cook very often. A griddle itself isn’t a huge investment but if you’d like to cut the expenses significantly, we recommend buying a griddle for an existing grill.
Buying just the plate is usually an expense of a few dozen dollars (no more than 100). So if you cannot afford another big cooking device then buying just the plate is a great solution (you need to have a gas grill).
Standard grilling is something great, and cooking with a flat metal plate gives new possibilities. You introduce new things into the typical grilled food that enrich your menu significantly (pancakes, eggs, small vegetables etc).
We really recommend the griddle for frying bacon and similar types of meat that create a lot of grease. Grilling bacon on regular grates is pretty complicated due to the excess grease and the resulting very high number of flare-ups upon direct contact with flames.