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I Adore My Griddle


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I have a big griddle built-in to my Viking range at work. When I started my job I shied away from it, unsure how to control the heat effectively and unenthusiastic about cleaning it after finishing up. My girls pressed me gently about offering favorites like quesadillas and grilled cheese on a regular basis, so I started turning it on twice a week or so to make these foods for their lunches. I threw out a lot of burnt grilled cheese while I figured out how to moderate the temperature--it either seemed to be way too hot or not hot enough.

Eventually I got better with the temperature. I learned how to grease the griddle effectively so foods became crisp without being greasy. I learned when and how to scrape the griddle, and how to clean it effectively (the bench scraper is essential to this job). I got to the point where I could eyeball the flame under the griddle or hold my hand an inch above the surface to see if the temperature was correct. I started weighting the grilled cheese sandwiches with a heavy pot lid, and turning out perfect crisp quesadillas easily.

This semester, I'm using my griddle every day. I've instituted a standing short-order menu with things like fried egg sandwiches, Boca burgers and ham or turkey melts to go with the quesadillas and grilled cheese. The griddle is especially good for the fried eggs, which have that lacy crispness around the edges and release easily when I flip them. Boca burgers are much-improved with a little browning on the griddle, and they are made more special by toasting the bun. I toast bread for other sandwiches on the griddle regularly--a BLT on griddle-crisped bread is a beautiful thing. I don't even mind cleaning it so much these days as I've learned how to do it properly.

I sometimes use the griddle for dinner jobs, too. Vegetables cooked on the griddle are almost as good as grilled vegetables--either large slices browned on both sides, or moderate slices for fajitas come out terrific. On breakfast-for-dinner nights I've made pancakes on the griddle, 12 at a time, to get it done quickly right before service. I can sear the outside of a whole uncut pork loin on the griddle before finishing it in the oven, and offer a range of doneness on the finished meat so everybody's happy. And I can cook 20 chicken breasts at once easily.

My griddle has gone from my most-feared piece of kitchen equipment to my absolute favorite. It's becoming hard to cook without a griddle at home, I love it so much.

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Funny you should bring this up. A few months ago, I bought a small, round (10-inch diameter) cast-iron griddle. It has not yet displaced my cast-iron grill pan in my deepest affections, but it is definitely vying for attention.

Yes, it is perfect for eggs. And as a comal for tortillas -- its slightly raised edge makes sliding the tortilla off so much easier. The best use I made of it so far was Monday night, skin-on fillet of arctic char. After patting the skin dry and then scraping off the last bits of moisture with a knife blade, I smacked the fish skin-down on the hot griddle. When the time came to turn it, it was so much easier to flip. And CRUNCH what skin!

Has anyone tried using it for dosas???

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I have a cast-iron two-burner thing that has grill ridges on one side, a flat griddle on the other. I LOVE this thing - I've had it for just over a year, and it's got a nice, shiny black patina. Eggs slide around on it like they're hydroplaning; pancakes and bacon are no match for it. I love cooking chicken thighs and pork chops on it crusty and hot; something I can't typically do in my non-stick pans.

It has wonderful heft, would break your foot if you dropped it. It fits perfectly over my two burners. It retains heat like you wouldn't believe. I love my griddle too :wub:

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ooo... me too. Mine is the kind that fits over two burners. It is the one thing I MUST have for our new little cottage kitchen. Eunny, what brand is yours? Where did you get it? I inherited mine from a friend who never used it, so I'm not sure where to look for a new one.

Malawry, your girls are SO lucky. Just have to say that. :smile:

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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Growing up (my kids like to say it was during the Civil War), my mother's big electric stove (Hotpoint I believe), had a huge griddle in the middle, in between 2 burners each to the left and right. It measured about 15 x 20. If you lifted off the heavy griddle, there was a huge burner underneath, for cooking VERY large pots (my mother hardly ever used that). She, and subsequently I too, used it for just about everything, all those things you mentioned Malawry, and more.

I really "cut my teeth" on that old stove. (now that i think about it, I cooked on it for over 20 years!) When i returned home after college, to do grad school locally, my parents retired to Fla, and I took over the house, until I married years later, and my husband moved in --and we lived there for 2 more years while building a new house. That griddle was the greatest thing in the kitchen (in addition to the stainless steel counters :shock: -- my mom was light years ahead of everyone! -- they built the house originally in the mid-fifties!). The most fun was whenever we had a dinner party or houseguests, people couldn't believe their eyes. :blink:

Yes, I cannot agree more: The incredible ease with which you can cook on it, not to mention the PERFECTION of the results: "lacey eggs", perfect pancakes and bacon, grilled sandwiches, quesadillas (again, my mom was waaaay ahead of the curve, as we ate things like tacos, quesadillas, and stir-fry japanese dishes growing up in the FIFTIES and 60's!)

I had to replace/buy a new cooktop just last year (different house). I was very limited by the existing space, but chose a 45" Dacor cooktop, with an interchangeable grill and griddletop. It's not quite the same, as I now use the grill more, but I long for that big ol' griddle of my youth! :sad:

I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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I'm jealous of your griddle. And I can't believe this campus house has a Viking!

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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ooo... me too.  Mine is the kind that fits over two burners.  It is the one thing I MUST have for our new little cottage kitchen.  Eunny, what brand is yours?  Where did you get it?  I inherited mine from a friend who never used it, so I'm not sure where to look for a new one.

Not Eunny, but mine is made by Lodge and I bought it at either Target, Wal-Mart or K's Merchandise. I liked using mine for corn tortillas and pancakes.

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Thanks for this. I am so looking forward to the new kitchen. My big thrill will be the griddle. (GE Monogram, made by DCS) When I was growing up, my dad had an electric one... Sunbeam maybe? He made dynamite pancakes on Sunday morning. My sister was away in nursing school though here in Houston. If my sister had duty, her roommates would still show up at our house on Sunday morning for those pancakes. Then he would crank it up and here would come the sausage patties and eggs.

I am sure that when I get it, there will be a learning curve and probably some time will have to pass before I get it properly seasoned. I would like to hear more about getting it seasoned and your cleaning routine.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I have a Jenn-Aire range at home. I have the grill plates but my range just doesn't have enough juice to make grilling possible--so I never bothered getting the griddle plates. Does anybody have Jenn-Aire griddle plates, and if so what do you think of them?

Simdelish, thanks for sharing about your ancestral stove. :wub: I hate cooking on electric but I grew up cooking on an electric stove too--my mom is afraid of gas for some reason. Your response gave me happy memories of those days trying to see above the lips of yummy-smelling pots. My mom had an average 1970s goldenrod range where I learned to cook spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese and other favorites.

I have never made a dosa at all, much less tried one on a griddle. Suzanne, I think you should try it and report back.

Cleaning and seasoning the griddle: I only clean it once a week, unless I do some really messy stuff on it or I cook meat on it. (I figure it should be clean enough for the vegetarians to feel good about getting their Boca burgers off of it at any given time.)

Every day, at the beginning of service, I fire up the griddle and add about 1oz oil to it. I use the back of an offset burger spatula to smear the oil around. This makes the griddle look black and a little shiny--perfect for griddle cooking. Bread tends to sop the oil up so there can't be too much of it, and sometimes I have to regrease halfway through service. I also regrease whenever I cook eggs--I just add a few drops and spatula them around, and then crack the eggs into the spot I just greased.

After service, I turn off the griddle and let it cool for a while. Then I take a bench scraper and scrape all the gook off. There usually isn't too much, and what I do get up is easily deposited in the trash by pulling the scraper against the trash bag. Monday and Tuesday, that's enough. Sometimes, if the grill is grosser, like on Wednesday or Thursday, I use an old rag to wipe it down. On Friday I give it a thorough scrub. First I scrape, and then I use a solution I buy from Sysco diluted with warm water to scrub down the griddle. I use a big metal scrubber--one of the coil type ones--and then switch to a sponge with a green scrubblie side to get more smaller gunk. I pay special attention to the corners and the lip in the front which tend to get especially nasty. Then I rinse several times, and wipe down four or five times with a sponge (cleaning the sponge in between each wipe-down) for the final treatment. The griddle is clean and ready for me Monday morning.

The Viking range is very nice, but one of the two ovens sucks. Can't win them all.

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Have you ever used this product: Grill Brick

This material is actually foamed glass. It's primary use is as a high tech insulation material for cold and cryogenic applications. There are really only two (soon to be one) manufacturers, the main one being Pittsburgh Corning. I am familiar with the product and the manufacturers from my real job and was amazed to see what percentage of their production (tons) goes into griddle (grill?) cleaners.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My first job at 14 was flipping griddle burgers at an A&W, so I got to appreciate griddles early. The only strike against them from what I can tell is that it's next to impossible to liberate our friend Mr. Fond in a way that can put him to use, so it's less than ideal for some meat searing applications.

My all time favorite piece of equipment is the tilting skillet (not endorsing this brand, just like the image.) Though it's a tiny bit awkward to reach into for flipping e.g. pancakes, it basically works as well as a griddle PLUS you can use it to braise, boil, stew etc. I worked a summer at a summer camp once and for the first month I just used it for storage since I didn't know what to do with it. By the end of the summer it was my most heavily-used piece of equipment by far (imagine it filled with mac and cheese for 300.) Someone should market a line for the serious home cook. Maybe 20 gallons or so, maybe on wheels.

"Tis no man. Tis a remorseless eating machine."

-Captain McAllister of The Frying Dutchmen, on Homer Simpson

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I have to say that I have tried various griddle pans. My well seasoned cast iron fry pan and I have never been able to produce the results that my dad did on that electric griddle. I will concede that I have never tried the Lodge thingy that fits over two burners. I wonder if those have differential temperature zones.

Does anyone know what temperature a griddle needs to be to make those dancing eggs, excellent pancakes, crispy edge sausage? For bacon and sausage, do I need to get some of those griddle irons? Where do you get a griddle iron anyway? And, what does it look like?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Just wanted to mention that I won't do bacon on my griddle. I tried it once and the whole thing made such a mess--maybe for just a handful of slices it'd be fine but after rendering 50 or so pieces it was swimming in muck. The griddle on my stove cannot just be picked up and all the grease poured off--it has a trap for greast but it's a pain to scrape all the mess into the trap. Not recommended, especially when I can pick up a skillet and pour the grease into an empty #10 can on the floor which is then easily emptied into a grease dumpster.

(No, I don't save bacon grease and cook with it. I might at home but several of my girls don't eat pork.)

A bacon press looks a little like an iron: a rectangular piece of iron with a metal handle. It should be heavy to weight the bacon down. I don't have one but sometimes I think I should--mostly for sandwiches. (I use a heavy pot lid for grilled cheese.)

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A bacon press looks a little like an iron: a rectangular piece of iron with a metal handle. It should be heavy to weight the bacon down. I don't have one but sometimes I think I should--mostly for sandwiches. (I use a heavy pot lid for grilled cheese.)

Here's a sample of one:

Lodge Grill Press

They're sometimes called a "Pig Iron".

I used to clean the grill in a campus cafeteria while in college. It wasn't the most fun thing in the world to do but you could see the results of your effort when you were through (as opposed to dishwashing where the stream of pots & pans never seemed to end).

We used the bench scaper and rags. Also used the cleaning brick that fifi pointed out. It dissolved into nothingness by the time you were through cleaning the grill.

We used cider vinegar and rags for the final wipe down. The grill was still hot as you cleaned it and there ain't nothing in the world as bad as getting your sinuses full of vinegar steam. Needless to say, I developed a talent for not breathing while cleaning the grill.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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  • 1 year later...

Eventually I got better with the temperature. I learned how to grease the griddle effectively so foods became crisp without being greasy. I learned when and how to scrape the griddle, and how to clean it effectively (the bench scraper is essential to this job). I got to the point where I could eyeball the flame under the griddle or hold my hand an inch above the surface to see if the temperature was correct. I started weighting the grilled cheese sandwiches with a heavy pot lid, and turning out perfect crisp quesadillas easily.

Hi Malawry,

For us griddle neophytes, what's a bench scraper, and where would I find one? Also, would this be the best way to clean one of those 2-burner grill/griddles that Eunny Jang raved about?

Thanks.

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For us griddle neophytes, what's a bench scraper, and where would I find one?  Also, would this be the best way to clean one of those 2-burner grill/griddles that Eunny Jang raved about?

Thanks.

The sort of griddle Eunny was talking about can be picked up and cleaned any number of ways. The griddle I was using at work (the subject of my initial post) was built-in, so there was no way to clean it at a sink or over a trash can. The bench scraper is also called a dough scraper--a common tool in pastry kitchens that I find dozens of uses for at home or at work. They're not very expensive--here's one from Sur La Table. The bench scraper might be useful for decrudding the home griddle between loads of pancakes or whatever.

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For us griddle neophytes, what's a bench scraper, and where would I find one?  Also, would this be the best way to clean one of those 2-burner grill/griddles that Eunny Jang raved about?

Thanks.

The sort of griddle Eunny was talking about can be picked up and cleaned any number of ways. The griddle I was using at work (the subject of my initial post) was built-in, so there was no way to clean it at a sink or over a trash can. The bench scraper is also called a dough scraper--a common tool in pastry kitchens that I find dozens of uses for at home or at work. They're not very expensive--here's one from Sur La Table. The bench scraper might be useful for decrudding the home griddle between loads of pancakes or whatever.

Thanks very much, Malawry. Since it sounds like the cleaning technique may vary, I'd welcome any advice from Eunny on how she got her grill/griddle to have the nice black patina, and how she cleans it. I have one of those 2-burner griddle/grills on order, and want to get off on the right foot.

Thanks to all participants for a very helpful post.

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I have one of the ones that straddles two burners....and I hate it. There are obvious hot spots, it doesn't fit over the burners very well, things stick to it, and it's hard to clean.

It's not a Lodge, but is cast iron as well. I'd assumed that all griddle/grill pans must be about the same, but it sounds like the Lodge might be worth trying out.

No hot spots?

And easy to clean?

Show me the way, oh griddle gurus...

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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My griddle came with my range, and it straddles two burners and is cast iron. I love it..

Although I guess that doesn't help you much does it? :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Here's stuff on griddles that I've collected over several years.

All-American Double-Burner Griddle (Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry) - needs seasoning and oil spray - no ridges, so no outdoor look

Bridge has its own $150 12¼ x 19 super heavy corrugated cast iron grill preferred by many pros - fits over two burners - heats slowly but holds heat very well

Burton Grill (Max Burton Enterprises) - the first and still the best - doesn't need preheating, like others - heats quickly - water-filled ring to avoid drying - inferior quality nonstick surface - must be sprayed with oil - domed surface makes it hard to cook, e.g., peppers, which roll off

Chef's Design Giant Reversible Rangetop Griddle (Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry) - 2-burner model - nonstick - cooks well but slowly - hard to clean

Peerless makes the standard for restaurants, 24" x 36" - maybe the best way to cook steaks

Stove-Top Grill (Amco Corp.) - cast iron - cooks quickly and well after preheating

Lodge Pro Logic Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Grill Pan 12” x 12” - plenty big for normal uses - low, slanted sides that make flipping easy

Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Griddle, 17½ by 9½ inches - will fit whole lobsters and fish, big steaks and company-size portions. It uses two stove-top burners and turns into a griddle when reversed. Won't fit into standard sinks to soak.

The Le Creuset Round Grill - small, tiny handles, good looking but overpriced and doesn’t distribute heat well to the edges.

Look Cookware Superior Non-Stick Grill Pan - good but overpriced and high sides make flipping awkward. Cumbersome to store.

Staub Authentic Enameled Cast Iron Grill - poor performer with a flimsy handle.

The important thing is a heavy grill and thorough preheating, since the grill, not the flame, does the cooking - in fact, little or no flame should be visible, even with a gas grill - scrupulous scrubbing and seasoning are also essential - meat should be at room temperature - salt and pepper before cooking - let rest for 5 minutes after grilling.

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