Grills v.s. Griddles

Grills v.s. Griddles Image of grilled veggiesWith the hot weather and the summer nights at their longest, many of us find ourselves cooking outside rather than turning on the oven. This is especially true since there are so many options to choose from for outdoor cooking.

It used to be that all you needed to cook food on an open flame was some nice firewood and a stick to hold the meat. Then Webber created the kettle grill and backyard get-togethers were changed forever. Now, people wanting to throw a shrimp on the barbie have an amazing number of options for outdoor cooking.

Growing up, if you wanted to grill some steaks you lit the charcoal and waited for the coals to be perfect before throwing on your favorite cut of meat. But, now heating up a grill is as easy as pushing a button. (As long as the propane tank is full). Of course, BBQ connoisseurs will argue that wood fire is always best for flavor. And, others will prefer their big green egg.

Recently there has been a rise in popularity of the gas-powered outdoor griddle. They offer a little more versatility. But, beg the question, which do you need? A grill or a griddle? Or both? The answer is different depending on the person.

The main differences between grills v.s. griddles are obvious. A griddle is a solid slab of metal. And, a grill is made up of a number of metal bars that allow the heat, flame, and smoke access to whatever you’re cooking.

Griddles make cooking super-easy (they are essentially large frying pans) BUT they require seasoning (just like a cast iron pan) and other maintenance to keep them in top working order. BBQs require heat and some elbow grease to scrape off the grate.

Grills don’t require the same amount of upkeep. And, BBQ aficionados would agree that you just don’t get the same flavor if you aren’t using a grill. Gas vs charcoal is a whole other debate….

Another thing to keep in mind is that a griddle can get quite hot for great searing. But, you can’t get the same type of temperature control you would get when grilling over an open flame. Whether a gas grill or charcoal, you have the ability to make your cooking surface cooler or hotter depending on the needs of the items you are cooking. Griddles are generally simply going to be hot. There is no real way to cook something indirectly. Even if you turn off the heat source to part of the griddle, the heat from the other burners will creep over.

Food-wise anything you can cook on a grill can also be cooked on a griddle. But, the reverse is not true. No way you can cook eggs on a grill. Fish lovers might consider a backyard griddle because cooking flakier fish on a grill can result in losing some of the fish through the grates.

All this being said, which is better grill or griddle? There is no right answer. If you’re one of those people who like to cook large family meals outside, you might consider looking at one of each. This provides flexibility. For the best of both worlds, you can’t go wrong with a grill and a cast iron griddle plate to go on it when needed.

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