Can you make instant noodles in the microwave? Definitely.
But does it taste better when you boil it in a pot on the stove? YES!
Well, the same thing applies to whether you cook food on a griddle or a grill.
While both are excellent appliances, they’re different. They provide different flavors better suited to different occasions.
Keep on reading to discover what makes them different, what you should cook with them, and how you should clean them.
What is a Griddle?
A griddle functions very much like a hot plate. Most griddle plates are rectangular and they can also come in various sizes.
For example, there are large dedicated griddles for industrial or commercial kitchens. An example of a commercial griddle would be the kinds that you see in teppanyaki restaurants.
And with small griddles, you can easily fit them into a burner range top.
Now, it doesn’t matter what type of griddle you use. It can be a portable griddle, a Blackstone griddle, an outdoor griddle, or even an electric griddle. It doesn’t matter because most types of griddles are made out of steel or iron. What matters is the quality of this material and the overall thickness.
The most important thing to remember is that when it comes to this, thicker is always better.
Why? Well, the thickness is what ensures that the flat metal cooking surface retains more heat. Which in turn, helps to ensure an even cooking enviroment.
A thicker and heavy griddle also helps to ensure the longevity of the metal surface. This is because a thin, flat surface can easily end up warping over time.
This warping is usually caused by heat damage. What’s worse is that you won’t have a flat griddle to use anymore — which defeats the whole purpose of tabletop griddles. After all, the selling point of this appliance is that the flat griddle surface ensures an even cook.
What Is a Grill?
When you think of a grill, what’s the first thing that comes up?
A gas or charcoal grill that has bars with a heat source below and is popularly used for cookouts?
Well, did you know that’s there’s also another type of grill? The second type includes a metal plate that has ridges. Much like the griddle, these are commonly made out of steel and iron too. A hallmark sight of food that’s been cooked on a grill is that it has these nice charred lines running across it.
Whether you’re using a grill grate or a metal grill plate, both are guaranteed to produce those nice lines. Hence, they’re great to use if you want to caramelize fatty meat.
What Is the Difference Between a Griddle and a Grill?
Well, the most obvious and main difference between a griddle and a grill is their cooking surface.
One is completely flat, and the other has bars or ridges. The flat surface of griddles makes sure that the heat source is never in direct contact with the food.
However, if you’re cooking with grill grates, then there’s a high chance that the fire might come into direct contact with the meat through the bars. Overall, grills tend to have a higher heat compared to griddles.
Apart from that, both don’t differ in terms of their energy sources. For example, both come in all types that use gas, charcoal, electricity, etc.
The Type of Material Matters
We’ve established that griddles are mainly made out of steel or cast iron. However, other varieties of it can include chrome or stainless steel. Of course, these types are more expensive. And they’re not as commonly found in homes. Chrome and stainless steel griddles are mainly used in commercial environments.
While they are more pricey, steel or stainless steel are very good. This is because they retain heat well and they are known to not warp when used with intense heat.
On the other hand, grill grates can be made out of …
- cast iron
- nickel-plated steel
- stainless steel
- porcelain-enameled cast iron
- porcelain enameled steel
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with grill grates that are made out of plain steel or plain iron. Sure, they can rust over time. But there’s a way to prevent that. The key is to run some vegetable oil on the surface of the grates after each cleaning session. This can help to keep the rust at bay.
Another great thing about plain steel or iron is that you can season them and they practically become non-stick.
Either way, no matter the material, the biggest takeaway for both griddles and grills is …
the heavier and thicker the metal, the better.
What Should You Be Cooking on Each One?
Griddles are excellent for cooking breakfast foods. Like pancakes, hash browns, scrambled eggs, etc. On the other hand, grills are great for kebabs, steaks, sausages, corn cobs, and much more!
What Are the Cooking Temperatures?
Grills produce higher cooking temperatures compared to griddles. The question is, how much higher exactly?
Well, they both have different optimal heating temperatures. Griddles work best for foods that are cooked at around 350℉, while grills operate best at 400℉.
Is One Easier to Clean?
Since their cooking surfaces have proven to be very different, they also diverge when it comes to cleaning. For starters, griddles are easier to clean because it’s essentially just one big flat surface.
Cleaning a Griddle
It’s even easier if you’ve got a removable griddle. This is because you can simply remove it and take it over to the sink. After that, you can wash it much like you would an oversized baking tray.
If you can’t remove the griddle, then it’s best to start by turning off the heat. After that, you should pour in a little soapy water onto the surface and go in with a rubber-tipped scraper.
The soap and the scraper will help you loosen stubborn burnt bits. Keep repeating this until the griddle gets gradually cleaner.
Most griddles that have an irremovable cooking surface are industrial griddles. In that case, they should have a hole at the front or back of the appliance that will allow you to drain out all the dirty water.
Cleaning a Grill
Cleaning grills are more difficult because a lot of food can get stuck in between the bars.
Most grills are removable, so it’s best to remove the grill grates and soak them. After that, the only way to clean it is to go in with a wired brush or steel wool. It’ll take time to scrape everything off, but cleaning your grill is very important.
So, Wrap It up for Me. Which Is Better, a Grill or a Griddle?
You can’t exactly compare the two of them because they’re both great for cooking very different types of foods.
For example, it’s virtually impossible to cook a pancake on a grill. But a cob of corn tastes better when it’s been cooked on a grill. That way, you’re left with those charred grill lines running along with them.
So, there’s no real decisive winner in this case. However, if you’re torn and you don’t want to buy them separately, there’s a solution. For example, you can get a hybrid, so you can benefit from both cooking surfaces.
For me, a home/ outdoor cook, I use a grill. When I used to work in a fast-food joint, back in my youth we used a griddle. It is good for cooking commercially but not really suitable for small cookouts!
Plus I like the flavor you get from a grill. Nothing beats that charcoal flavor and those distinctive grill marks!
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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