Now that summer is in full swing, you may be itching to cook outside in the warm weather. Everybody loves a good BBQ, and there’s no better time than now.
One of the best ways to grill outside is with a flat-top grill (aka a griddle). These grills are extremely versatile and fun to use.
In this article we’ll go over what flat-top grills are, the benefits of using them, and more. Let’s get started!
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What is a flat-top grill?
A flat-top grill is a grill with a flat cooking surface instead of grates. The surface is typically made of cast iron or stainless steel.
Commercial kitchens commonly use flat-top grills, but they are becoming increasingly popular for personal use outside, too.
They are heated from below, usually by gas burners but sometimes by charcoal or pellets. The food goes directly on the surface, or you can put the food in a pot or pan on top of the grill. Either way, food never comes in contact with the flame.
Types of flat-top grills
Personal flat-top grills come in different forms. Some are built into outdoor kitchens, some are free-standing, and others are highly compact and portable.
Free-standing flat-top grills often have two or four wheels and two shelves on either side of the cooking surface for prepping food.
Compact flat-top grills can usually fold up and are ideal for traveling and camping.
Now that you know what a flat-top grill is, let’s go over all the benefits it has to offer.
1. Low learning curve
Cooking with a flat-top grill is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t require any special skills. All you have to do is make sure you periodically empty the grease cup.
The flat cooking surface gives you more flexibility to move food around, and it’s easier to flip things like hamburgers and pancakes. Less food misses the pan.
You also don’t have to worry about adjusting any coals or having an open flame that flares up because the grease never drips into the flame. It’s directed away into a grease cup.
2. More cooking space
Because it’s flat, flat-top grills have more room to cook. That means you can cook more food at once and not need multiple appliances.
This is great for when you have many guests and need to cook for a large group.
3. Fast heating
They have multiple burners. The increased firepower helps them heat up fast so you don’t have to wait too long before you can cook your food.
Flat-top grills allow you to cook multiple things at different temperatures. For example, you can turn on some burners at a high heat while you keep others low.
This way, you can cook different types of foods at the same time. You can also turn off burners for foods that cook quickly while you let others run longer.
Because flat-top grills keep food from falling off them, they can cook a variety of dishes—more than what a traditional grill can. You can use them to cook pancakes, fried rice, eggs, and more.
How to choose a flat-top grill
If you’re in the market for a flat-top grill, here are a few things you should consider:
- Size. How big the flat-top grill is will determine how many people you can cook for and what types of events you can host. Small family gatherings or large parties with friends? It’s up to you.
- Burner output. Burner output refers to how hot the grill can get and how fast. It’s typically measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs).
- Grease management. You’ll want to know how the grease is collected and how easy it is to remove as you’ll be cleaning it out frequently.
- Fuel type. Many flat-top grills run on propane. Others run on natural gas or even charcoal. Choose a fuel type you are comfortable investing in long-term.
Flat-Top Grill Accessories to Consider
On top of a flat-top grill, you should consider getting the following accessories:
- Long spatulas and tongs. These allow you to cook on the flat-top grill without ruining your regular kitchen utensils or getting burned.
- A meat thermometer. This helps you check the internal temperature of meats so you don’t get sick by not cooking them all the way through.
- A grill cover. This can help protect the flat-top grill from the elements since it will more than likely be stored outside.
Once you have your flat-top grill, be sure to take care of it so it doesn’t fall into disrepair. Regular maintenance is essential to keeping rust and other stains from forming.
To that end, clean your flat-top grill before and after each use. Don’t forget to clean the grease traps frequently and keep them from overflowing.
You may even consider saving grease for the next time you cook. Whatever you do, don’t flush it or let it go down a sink since grease can clog your drains.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of reasons to invest in a quality flat-top grill. They provide endless cooking options and can be used for a lifetime if you maintain them well.
If you’re in the market, be sure to shop around online and at local hardware stores to compare models and prices.
The trick is to strike the right balance between quality and affordability. Some flat-top grills are relatively low cost but may not be the best build. Others may be highly durable but vastly unaffordable.
Set a budget and then do your research on different flat-top grils. Consider your and your household’s needs and wants and try to find a product that meets them. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of different options.
With enough effort, you’ll be able to find just the right flat-top grill for you and your family.