The griddle is a a popular piece of equipment for caterers, used to simply heat food on a metal plate, but any kitchen will find that it has many uses and desirable effects. In most cases, griddles are available as either gas or electric, but these days in some places steam powered griddles are offered on the market too. Flat griddles are by far the most popular due to the ease of cleaning. However, both ribbed and half ribbed griddles are available on the market.
Having a griddle in the kitchen can offer many positives, including;
– The development of flavour that occurs with the browning (caramelising) process.
– The tenderising of meats such as steaks and chicken breasts.
– The development of crispness or a crust.
– The drying out of products such as pancakes, bread and buns.
– The melting off of fats, especially in food like sausages and bacon.
Facts to Consider When Buying When it comes to buying a griddle, things to consider include:
• The kitchen requirements for the grill; this will help when considering the size to suit the needs.
• Ask for advice when buying a griddle and tell a dealer what the needs will be; they are there to help.
• Choose equipment which is easy to clean.
• Griddle plates should have no gaps to allow grease to seep into the body. Look for fully welded plates or one-piece castings. Splash guards should be integrated for the same reason.
• Larger units should offer the flexibility and energy saving capacity of a dual heat zone.
• Major manufacturers offer a wide range of griddle plates including machined steel, ribbed, half-ribbed and chrome. Chrome griddles radiate less heat into the atmosphere and so are more energy efficient than steel plate models. This contributes to a more pleasant working environment.
• Check the drainage channel – will it be easy to use and keep clean?
A griddle can be a handy instrument to have in a commercial kitchen as it can be utilised in many ways.
Making Decisions When Choosing a Griddle
Other than the fact that griddles come in different shapes and sizes, there is another key decision to make when buying them; what type of metal will be used for the plate and what the finish of the surface will be. As with contact grills, griddles are available in cast iron, but rather than aluminum, are usually available in different types of steel as the alternative.
Once a decision has been made about the metal for your griddle, the thickness of the plates has to be considered, as both have varying successes.
Thin plates are more responsive when adjusting temperature, come up to temperature quicker requiring less energy and are generally cheaper. But they can warp if preheated at high temperatures and distribute heat less evenly causing hot and cold spots.
Thick plates are less likely to warp, retain heater longer and distribute heat more evenly. But they respond slower to changes in temperature control and they require more energy to bring up to the desired temperature.
Electric or Gas
One key decision a customer will make is whether to use a gas griddle or electric griddle. Gas is often seen as heavier duty and tends to be more responsive to temperature control. However, electric has the benefit that it doesn’t need to be installed by an engineer and easier to move to a different location if needs be