How to Choose Between Using Your Grill or Your Griddle

This guide will help you decide which is best for your goals.

  • Maggie Talley
  • Jul 19, 2022
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When it comes to outdoor cooking, there are two greats that every cook needs: a grill and a Griddle. With these two essentials, you can create a range of perfectly charred proteins and flame-kissed vegetables right in your backyard. While these high-heat staples have much in common, they also have a few key differences: a grill uses dry heat and exposes your ingredients directly to an open flame, while a Griddle has a large, flat surface that is placed over your heat source.

Both tools are versatile and can bring a crisp texture and rich, smoky flavor to nearly any ingredient, from cuts of meat or fish to fresh vegetables and even fruit. Keep reading to get all the knowledge you need to decide which tool is right for a range of recipes.

What Is a Griddle?

A Griddle is a popular choice for cooks who don’t have access to a grill as well as grillers who want to develop more of a crust on their ingredients. Ours is made from Carbon Steel, making it incredibly durable and high-heat friendly—it can handle up to 1200F. It has a wide, flat surface that spans nearly 20 inches, providing  you with plenty of space to whip up a few (dozen) Lemon Blueberry Pancakes.

Our Griddle is designed to be easy to transport. With two raised, easy-to-grip handles and Italian-leather grip covers you can add on, this piece can move from your stove to your grill with ease. Sloped sides ensure that you don’t spill any grease along the way. You can discover more about the design of our Griddle here.

Pros of a Griddle

There is so much to love about a griddle. Its solid, flat surface removes the risk of losing smaller ingredients through the grill grates and provides maximum heat contact for proteins and vegetables. This contact helps incite the Maillard Reaction,  a chemical interaction that creates a delicious browned crust on your food, similar to the process of caramelization. This is why almost all steakhouses use griddles to sear their steaks: the charred exterior texture simply can’t be recreated over an open flame.

The best part? This crispy exterior can be created on almost any ingredient due to the versatility of a griddle. It’d be easier to list what you can’t do on a griddle than to list everything you can. It can be used over a grill, stovetop, or even an open flame like a campfire.

Considerations of a Griddle

While a Griddle may be inexpensive, it is relatively large. And because Carbon Steel must be kept dry while not in use, you must store this piece indoors, taking up valuable kitchen cabinet real estate.

Carbon Steel is one of the greatest cooking materials on the planet, but there is no denying it requires some additional care. When cleaning your Griddle, it’s important to maintain the seasoning, or the slick oil sheen that forms on the surface. Your pan cannot be washed with soap, and will need to be partially reseasoned from time to time. This is all manageable and well worth having this versatile, high-heat tool.

And although Carbon Steel is nearly half the weight of cast iron, this Griddle is still on the heavier side at almost 10 pounds. It’s ergonomically designed, but will still require a little muscle.

How to Cook With a Griddle

There are many ways to cook with a Griddle—it all depends on where you’re cooking. If you’re using it over your stovetop, it’s a very similar process to cooking with a pot or pan. Simply light your stove and heat the Griddle before adding whatever you’re cooking to the pan.

Similarly, if you’re using the Griddle on a grill or open flame, you’ll want to start your grill or get your fire roaring before moving your Griddle onto the grate. The Griddle’s high heat tolerance ensures that your ingredients will burn long before your Griddle is at risk of damage.

What Can You Cook With a Griddle?

When we say there are endless meals to make with a Griddle, we mean it. If you’re wanting to start with a classic, check out this roundup of our favorite griddle recipes that features favorites like smash burgers and the perfect, golden grilled cheese. Craving something fresh and new? Chef Amanda Turner’s Blackened Snapper with Dirty Rice always pleases a crowd. And for Sunday mornings when a pancake sounds a little too bland, we recommend Chef Dawn Burrell’s Johnny Cakes with Sorghum-Glazed Bacon and Corn Cream. Shop now to discover the versatility of the Griddle.

What Is a Grill?

Grilling is associated with so many classic meals. There’s the ease and affordability of a charcoal grill that’s backyard BBQ ready. And there’s the reliability and control of a gas grill. Both are perfect for feeding a crowd, having some fun, and serving up favorites like hot dogs, steaks, and vegetable skewers.

Pros of a Grill

Grillers swear that you can grill anything, and they’re mostly right. These extremely versatile tools use direct flame contact to cook your ingredients and leave them with a lovely (and delicious) char, no matter what you’re making. From the obvious staples like skirt steak for fajitas to exciting sides like charred carrots, there’s not a vegetable or protein that doesn’t benefit from the smoky flavor of a grill.

Grilling is also a wonderful option for the health conscious. Because grills use dry heat, you don’t need oil or fat to prevent your ingredients from sticking to a pan. Plus, the high heat of the flames will gradually release fat from your meat as you cook it—resulting in a leaner, lighter cut.

Considerations of a Grill

While grills are a great option, they aren’t necessarily an option for all. You can procure a charcoal grill for under $50, but a gas grill can cost you thousands. And because they always require charcoal, gas, and some maintenance, they’ll continue to cost you after your purchase.

Grills also aren’t well suited for smaller ingredients, like shrimp or mushrooms. These ingredients tend to fall through the grill grates and burn before you ever get to enjoy them. Skewers can help solve for this, but it adds extra time and tools to the making of your meal.

How to Cook on a Grill

Cooking on a grill is fairly straightforward. Lighting it will vary based on the type of grill you’re using, but regardless of the grill, you’ll want to make sure you grow your flames to a desired level before adding your ingredients to the grill. Like searing protein in a pan, you’ll need to keep an eye on whatever you’re cooking and flip it over when it looks like it’s cooked about halfway through.

You can cook your ingredients directly on the grill grates, or, pair them with grill accessories like a Griddle or a Grill Frying Pan. A Grill Frying Pan is a perforated Carbon Steel Pan that can be used over an open flame to prevent smaller ingredients from falling into the grill grates. With 62 carefully placed holes, it allows you to replicate the flame contact of a grill with the ease of a frying pan.

Best Foods to Grill

The list of ingredients a grill can perfect is nearly endless. From flame-kissed, bone-in Grilled Chicken Wings to refreshing Grilled Watermelon Margaritas, there’s no course that can’t be grilled. The grill isn’t just for meat lovers, either—this recipe for Grilled Oyster Mushrooms from Chef Rick Lopez combines an umami flavor with bright, zesty chimichurri.

Do I Need a Griddle If I Have a Grill?

While you don’t need a Griddle to grill, it certainly makes it better. A grill and a Griddle were designed to serve different purposes, but they can also be used to replace one another. However, our favorite way to use a Griddle is on a grill. It’s not a requirement, but it’s pretty dang close.

There are several ingredients that work better on one tool or the other. For instance, highly acidic foods like citrus or tomatoes will strip the seasoning on the Carbon Steel of your Griddle. For this reason, meats with a citrus marinade or vegetable skewers that feature tomato would be better suited on the grill.

However, small ingredients, like scallops, shrimp, and loose vegetables like shishito peppers or brussel sprouts will slip through your grill grates. They will need to be cooked either on the flat surface of our Griddle or on the perforated Grill Frying Pan.

While there are certainly ingredients that will only be successful on one tool or the other, the overwhelming majority of protein and produce will yield delicious results on both the grill or the Griddle. The best way to see which you prefer? Experiment. While both tools create rich, smoky flavors, you’ll see that the texture varies. So fire up your grill (or your stove, or your campfire), and see which tool is more to your taste.

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