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Fat Guy

Using an inverted sheet pan as a griddle

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It's possible I'm the last to hear about this trick, or perhaps it's really as clever as it seemed to me when I saw it yesterday. I was at a street fair for my son's school and one of the booths was selling pancakes. The chef/owner of the restaurant Kitchenette was cooking pancakes on a charcoal grill. Rather than using a cast-iron skillet or heavy cast-iron griddle, she had laid several inverted aluminum sheet pans over the grill and was using those as a griddle surface. The pancakes came out great, so the idea is valid at least in this application.

Not-great cell-phone photo:

countyfairpancakes.jpg

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Unless they were teflon-coated, I wonder if sheet pans are non-stick enough to be used as a griddle? Every time I bake, I either need to lay down foil/parchment or deal with horrible sticking problems with sheet pans.

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She was using Pam cooking spray or some commercial equivalent.

I suppose aluminum sheet pans are the same in terms of stickiness as non-anodized aluminum cookware (which is what I see most often in non-fancy restaurant kitchens) and roughly equivalent to stainless.

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This is a pretty common trick down here in Ecuador, whenever something needs to be cooked a la plancha but no proper plancha is to be had. I'd wager that 99% of sheet pans sold here get used as griddles.... Definitively, this is the method for cooking delicacies like llapingachos over charcoal.

Shalmanese: if you oil your cooking surfaces properly, there's no problem with stickage. Griddle cooking is very, very different from baking in that way.

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In LA we don't bother to turn them upside down - the street carts use them right side up for our bacon wrapped hot dogs. You can see one in this LA Weekly article.

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"This is a pretty common trick down here in Ecuador"

"In LA we don't bother to turn them upside down"

Once again New York is playing catch up.

I guess for something that needs to be contained the lip is helpful so right-side-up makes sense. For something like pancakes, where you want to be able to slide the turner under at a low angle, upside-down might be better.

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I recently sacrificed one to act in lieu of a baking stone for pizza. Works decently.

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Do you have a picture of how the pancakes came out? You would have to watch you heat so they dont burn on the thin aluminum, and once a griddle sheet pan, always a griddle sheet pan. I like keeping mine clean and warp free, I dont think it would be worth it. I use one a while ago to pour water in to make steam in my oven after the thing heated up to some ungodly tempature, and it hasnt been the same, it feels like it lost its strength, if I bent it, it just sort of stays bent, it doesnt spring back to the way it should be (if that makes sense)

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They were probably the heavier 12 gauge sheet pans - I have a couple that are much heavier than the standard 18 gauge and do not warp when exposed to direct heat. I've used them on my stovetop and on the barbecue - they don't warp at all.

I've also got a couple of half-size sheet pans that are marked 13 gauge - made by Vollrath.

As soon as you pick them up you can tell they are a lot heavier than the standard pans.

Found an example.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Mine have done double duty inverted as cookie sheets, and for baking flat breads. I also use them right side up on my cooktop to cover two burners when my family craves a White Castle style slider. I load in the very wet onions and can lay out a dozen sliders at a time. I put another sheet on top to trap in the steam. Works great.

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I wouldn't have thought of the sheet pan trick but a couple years back at downtown Seattle's McCormicks and shmits [sp?] I watched a cook sear a loin of tuna on an upside down cast iron skillet. It was perfectly hot for the 20 second per side sear.

The question is, are these inovations or pure jury rigging?


Edited by RobertCollins (log)

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