Grill vs Griddle? Which one is best for you

Written in 2022
by Adam

    The question of which is better, a grill or griddle has been debated for years. Often at times, the names are used interchangeably because of the assumption that they are used for the same things.

    The truth is that there are many similarities and differences between the two appliances. There are so many features to compare, it can be difficult to pick just one! In this blog post, we will help you decide if a grill or griddle is best for your needs. We'll also go over what each appliance does well and what they don't do as well in order to help you make the right decision.

    What Is A Grill?

    Grills are typically made of metal and can be either powered by gas or charcoal. A grill has a grate that is raised above the heat source with enough space to allow you to place your food on top, allowing it to cook.

    There are two types of grills:

    • The open style, as seen on most barbecue grills, uses a metal grid with cast-iron ridges to hold food above the fire. The cast-iron ridges and centrally located handles allow for easy cleaning. On top of that, the cast-iron ridges require much less maintenance than traditional flat grills, since they don't.
    • The solid iron or stainless-steel plate with visible ridges,  which is better for searing. They are designed so that you can place your meat or veggies on the grill without having them fall through into the flame below. These grills are often referred to as "griddles" because they look like flat versions of a normal stovetop griddle pan. However, these have distinct raised ridges on the surface.

    Features of A grill

    Size:

    The size of a grill is usually determined by how much you want to prepare at once. A larger one will need more power and heat in order to cook quickly, while smaller ones can be used for small meals or sides.

    The standard size is around 400 and 500 square inches. This is ideal for small family meals. However, for commercial use or large family gatherings, look for one which is at least 600 square inches.

    Heat Source:

    When it comes to grills, this is often a choice between gas or charcoal. Charcoal gives you that smoky flavour that many people love but takes much longer for the heat to spread throughout your food since there are gaps in the grate where flames can't reach. Gas has no such issue, though it does require you to have a supply of propane canisters on hand.

    Type of metal

    Grills are made with aluminium, stainless steel or cast iron. Aluminium is the cheapest option, but it heats up very quickly, so may not be best for searing your meat if that's what you're looking for.

    Stainless steel will give off a more authentic grill taste, but it will take a while to heat up and maintain that temperature.

    Cast iron is the best option for searing since it heats evenly without warping or breaking down from too much exposure to high temperatures.

    If you want something easy to clean, choose porcelain enamelled cast iron or porcelain-enamelled steel. The porcelain doesn't add any value to the cooking process, it just keeps the cast iron from rusting and getting damaged.

    Add-ons:

    Most of the add-ons can be found on electric or gas grills. You can buy a side burner or sear station that allows you to add extra heat were needed for searing meats.

    LED-lighted control knobs are a great way to grill in the dark, while built-in thermometers with easy to see temperature gauges make it easy to monitor your cooking process without having to open up the lid.

    Another fancy feature is smart probes that allow you to control your grill's temperature from your smartphone, so you don't have to stand by the grill and constantly watch your food.

    Pros Of A Grill

    The main advantage of a grill is that it gives you those delicious, crispy sear marks on meat, which makes it taste much better than other methods like baking or boiling. It also allows for searing meats to lock in flavour as well as sealing in moisture from within the meat so that when you eat it, everything melts in your mouth.

    Grills are low maintenance. All you need is to make sure it is well cleaned after each use, and you're good to go for the next time.

    Cons Of A Grill

    Extra add-ons can drive up costs, so be sure to budget for them according to what you plan to cook regularly.

    If you choose a charcoal grill, you have to constantly monitor the heat in order to get the best results.

    They can be difficult to clean because of the juices and fat that drip through the grate onto the burner.

    What To Cook On A Grill

    Anything that takes longer than an hour to cook can be done on a grill. The natural sugars and carbohydrates burn well in the direct heat, providing a nice brown tasty crust.

    Some foods you can cook on a grill are:

    Vegetables. Some vegetables such as onions will develop pleasant grill marks if you place them directly onto the surface without using any utensils, so this is another option for what to make with your griddle. To keep flavours intact, avoid adding more seasoning before serving because too much seasoning may result in some overcooked pieces of veggies which may have a bitter taste once it's fully cooked

    Fish: If you want a traditional fish and chips recipe, try using your grill to cook the pieces of cod or other whitefish.

    Pizza: The high heat from a grill makes sure there's no soggy bottom on your pizza, so this one definitely belongs on our "what to cook" list! Just be careful not to overload it with too many toppings or else the cheese won't melt properly since they'll take longer than necessary to get done cooking through.

    Steaks, chicken breasts and fish filets are great when cooked on a grill.

    Sausages, pork chops and steaks are all great options when you're in a rush.

    Tofu is a delicious vegetarian option would. You can also use any crusty slices of bread to make an open face sandwich with veggies for added crunch.

    What Is A Griddle?

    A griddle is a flat surface that gets very hot, which allows it to heat up quickly as well as cook food evenly on both sides at once. This makes them perfect for cooking a wide range of foods from pancakes and eggs to steak and chicken.

    Types Of Griddle:

    Freestanding Griddles - these are usually made of stainless steel or cast iron. They can be used on top of one burner, but they heat up quickly, so it is best to preheat them before you start cooking. If using a gas stove, make sure the griddle fits over your burners properly for maximum efficiency and performance

    Built-in Griddles - this type of griddle is often found in restaurant kitchens. They are fed by two or more burners, and they come with a control panel so you can regulate the cooking temperature without having to lift the lid, which wastes time and energy.

    Tabletop Griddles - these griddles are not very common since they come with a small surface area, so you can't cook too much at once. They are usually portable and made of stainless steel, but they are great for cooking small portions.

    Insert Griddles - In a pinch, a flat square cooking surface that can be fitted over a heating element or firepit to turn it into a griddle is known as an insert griddle. For instance, if you already have a grill and don’t have the space to invest in a freestanding griddle, then an insert griddle is a great option for this.

    Features Of A Griddle

    Size

    A griddle comes in different sizes. The larger the surface area of your griddle, the more you can cook at once, but it also takes up more space on your stove or outdoor cooking station.

    Freestanding grills or built-in griddles are bigger than tabletop griddles.

    Number Of Burners

    A typical built-in or tabletop griddle has one burner, while freestanding ones usually come with two burners. If you want to cook multiple foods at once then a double-burner may be worth investing in, but if your primary focus is cooking meat then having just one will do the job.

    Types Of Metal

    Most griddles are made out of either stainless steel or cast iron because they heat up quickly and distribute the heat evenly across the surface.  The more expensive ones are made of stainless steel or chrome.

    Cast Iron: This material is resilient, but it can be difficult to maintain because food tends to stick onto them very easily, which makes cleaning up a hassle. On the plus side, cast iron griddles retain heat better than other types, and they also distribute it evenly, so you don't have to keep fiddling with your stove's controls.

    Stainless Steel: These are easy to clean and do not rust.

    Chrome: These griddles are top-of-the-line, and they come with the highest price tags. They heat up quickly, so you save energy.

    Extra Add Ons

    The more add-ons a griddle has, the better. Look for one that comes with extra side trays and grease drains, so you can cook multiple types of food, and it's easier to clean up after cooking.

    Some griddles come with a built-in thermometer.

    Pros Of A Griddle

    Cook food quickly since it heats up quickly.

    Useful for cooking an entire meal at once since you can use multiple burners to cook different types of foods. You also save energy by using all the burners because one burner is always on standby while the others are in use.

    Heat gets distributed evenly, so your food cooks faster and more efficiently than it would on a grill.

    You can use different types of utensils, including metal spatulas and tongs since it is much easier to maintain than other types of grills.

    Cons Of A Griddle

    You need to cook with oil to prevent food from sticking, so if want healthier cooking methods then a griddle is not your best option.

    It takes up a lot of space on your stove

    If you don't use all the burners, then one is left idle which wastes energy.

    What To Cook On A Griddle

    A griddle is ideal for cooking foods that cook up fast.

    You can use a griddle for different cooking methods such as pan-frying, sautéing and searing. Some common foods you can cook with a griddle are:

    Eggs -scrambled or omelettes

    Pancakes and French toast all cook up on a griddle quickly.

    Fish fillet or steaks or burger patty that is at least an inch thick can be cooked on moderate heat to prevent them from drying out easily since they take longer than other foods do. You should use oil when cooking these types of food as well.

    Stir-fry vegetables are also a good choice because they cook up fast and don't require that much oil.

    What Is The Difference Between A Griddle and A Grill?

    Cooking Temperatures

    Grills cook at much higher temperatures, generally over 204 °C (400 °F). Griddles perform well between 177 °C and 182 °C (350 °F and 360 °F).

    It is easier to control temperatures on a griddle compared to a grill, unless your grill comes with a temperature gauge.

    A griddle heats up faster and more evenly compared to a grill, which can take longer depending on the type of stove you have in your home.

    Cleaning

    Griddles are easier to clean than grills because they do not accumulate grease or burnt residue that is difficult to remove. Additionally, you don't need to disassemble the griddle when cleaning, as you would with a grill.

    To clean a griddle in between cooking sessions use a griddle scraper while aluminium foil can help you remove the burnt residue. For a grill, you can use a grill brush to clean build-up before it burns and sticks more, making cleaning later a hassle.

    Storage

    Griddles are also easier to store since they can be stacked or placed in a cupboard, as opposed to grills that need more space.

    When it comes to assembling grills take more time because of the different separate parts

    Griddle Vs Grill? Which One Is Best For You?

    By now we can conclude there is no better choice between a griddle and grill. It all depends on what you need.  The best choice will depend on your lifestyle, the type of food you want to cook and how much time are you willing to dedicate to the cooking process.

    Do you like cooking indoors or outdoors? Grills are mostly made to be used outdoors because of the smoke or if indoors place it under a  vent hood or near an open window.

    The type of food you want to cook matters. As we have seen grills are ideal for dense foods as the temperatures are higher. Whereas, griddles are ideal for cooking lighter foods. So it will all boil down to if you are a meat or breakfast food fan.

    Grills are ideal if you are patient and have time to dedicate to the cooking process. Griddles take about 3 seconds to 5 minutes to heat up while with grills it might take 30 minutes for the heat to distribute. A grill may take longer to heat up but once it gets hot, it will maintain its temperature better.

    Foods cooked over a grill can take more than an hour to get done and will need constant monitoring, but it is all worthwhile if you are a meat fan!

    The smokey flavour and sear marks are a plus point for a grill as well.

    Are You Finding It Hard To Choose?

    If you need both but have limited setup space, or you are just looking for more versatile options, try a grill and griddle combo like the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Rectangular Reversible Grill / Griddle

    It comes with a reversible cast iron cooking top which can be used as either a grill or griddle in one unit powered by propane gas, natural gas or liquid fuel depending on where you are using it.

    This versatile option makes your cooking experience easier since all the work gets done at once!

    Alternatively, you can opt to have griddle plates for your grill. They work by replacing the plates on your grill with a griddle plate.

    It is easy to set up and use, so you can have an amazing breakfast or dinner right at home!

    Article Written by Adam

    Adam is the creator of the SmokeGuys website, running it since 2016. Hater of coriander, lover of all things meat... Adam currently works in marketing with a dream of being able to make food his full-time 'job' in the longer term.

    Top magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram