What Is a Griddle?
Griddles, also known as plancha or flat grills, are the most common machines in professional kitchens. Featuring a large open metal cooking plate across the top, these kitchen appliances allow you to cook multiple batches of food at the same time while easily monitoring the cooking process. Although many types of griddles can achieve the same result, carefully selecting the best option for your needs can help your business increase productivity, reduce utility costs, and produce delicious meals.
Thanks to their improved uniformity of temperature across their griddle plate, premium-quality commercial griddles can improve the quality of your food. A griddle plate is the primary cooking surface. Since it can significantly impact the final product, it’s critical to choose it wisely. When selecting a plate, you should consider its surface, material and thickness.
Traditional griddle plates are durable steel and suitable for most uses. On the other hand, some establishments may prefer a chrome top griddle. Chrome griddles are easy to clean and have a nonstick surface, ideal for delicate foods like eggs and pancakes. Furthermore, they use fewer BTUs and have better heat retention properties than steel plate models. This results in quicker heat-up and recovery times and a cooler kitchen.
Establishments that handle many frozen items, meats, and other lunch products will benefit from a thicker plate, while kitchens that handle a lot of frozen items, meats, and other lunch products will require a thinner plate. When handling large amounts of frozen products like hamburger patties, thicker griddle plates can store more heat and BTUs, recovering faster. If possible, an establishment that cooks a lot of breakfast and lunch items on the grill should have two separate griddles.
Although griddles’ plate thickness can vary among different manufacturers, some general guidelines exist. The standard-duty griddle features a 1/2″ thick griddle plate. The medium-duty one has a griddle plate that is 3/4″ thick, while the heavy-duty griddle plate is 1″ thick. However, due to the arrangement of heating elements and the unit’s intended purpose, specialised griddles such as Teppanyaki models may produce different results regardless of plate thickness.
Besides the standard flat griddles, plates with small grooves, or ribbed plates, can also be made. Like domestic BBQs, these plates channel fat and grease away from the food while also adding attractive chargrill-style sear marks. While this is excellent for meats and chunky vegetables, it is not suitable for all dishes. A flat griddle would produce more consistent results when cooking eggs and pancakes. If you need both flat and ribbed plates, larger griddles with flat and ribbed plates are a great compromise.
Power: Gas vs. Electric Griddle
Gas griddles have burners located beneath the griddle plate. The cooking surface is heated as these elements are lit. Gas griddles reach temperatures faster and recover faster than electric griddles. Moreover, gas may be less expensive than electricity, depending on your location.
On the other hand, electric griddles feature heating elements that are embedded in or below the griddle plate. Electric griddles take longer to heat up and cool down than gas griddles, but they’re a great alternative when gas isn’t available or electric is a cheaper option. Furthermore, depending on local regulations, an electric griddle may or may not require the same exhaust system as a gas model.
Types of Griddles
These convenient units can be mounted directly on an equipment stand or chef’s base and can be placed in various locations as long as the power and ventilation requirements are met. What’s more, countertop griddles can be easily moved whenever needed!
These griddles are used to create a flat surface in a cutout section of a countertop or table. The Drop-In griddles will be the ideal option when a uniform, flat look is desired throughout the kitchen, or when used in front of house or demonstration areas.
These drop-in Japanese griddles are commonly used in hibachi-style cooking. Because the heating elements are only in the centre of the unit, they differ from traditional drop-ins. This allows food to be cooked in the centre and then reheated at lower temperatures until ready to serve.
Control Styles: Thermostatic or Manual
Thermostatic controls allow you to precisely control the temperature of delicate items and breakfast foods such as eggs or hotcakes. The thermostatic style is ideal when you want to use your griddle as a holding plate for pans of food. Manual controls are set to high, medium, and low-temperature ranges rather than specific temperature settings. This makes them ideal for preparing burgers, bacon, cheesesteaks, and other meats.
Commercial griddles come in sizes ranging from 12″ to 72″ wide. However, there are a few factors to consider before purchasing your ideal unit.
The griddle size should match the size of the hood you have or are planning to buy. Allow six inches on either side of your unit for additional hood space, or six inches from each end of the equipment group if your griddle is attached to another piece of equipment. A 36″ standalone griddle, for example, will require a 48″ hood.
If your establishment uses a griddle for breakfast and lunch, you might want to consider a larger model with two cooking zones: delicate items and heavier meats and frozen items.
Choosing between a countertop and a freestanding griddle is a straightforward decision. Full-height models are typically mounted on sturdy stands with undershelves, allowing them to be used in traditional kitchens. Countertop models, likewise, can be placed where they are most needed, assisting you in creating an effective kitchen line. Remember that the griddle may need to be placed under an extraction canopy.