If we want to eat at home the same tasty, juicy, and tender grilled meat, vegetables and fish we eat at restaurants, we must choose a top quality griddle. To master this cooking technique is not very difficult, although it has some tricks and secrets. When food is grilled the flavour of the main ingredient becomes the center of the recipe. For this reason we must ensure using the best raw materials. And this also includes the pan we are going to use.
The best option depends on your needs. Before making your choice, you must take few things into consideration. We explain them below.
¿Grill surface or flat surface?
The only difference between grill pans and a griddle pans is the surface. Griddle pans have a flat surface and grill pans not. Both pans have some pros and cons. Although the choice depends on your preferences, if you are not sure which one will suit you best, maybe we can help you:
. Griddle pans are easier to use and clean because its surface is completely flat. If you don’t master grill technique, using a flat griddle pan will help you prevent the most delicate ingredients to break or stick in the cooking surface. On the other hand, flat griddle pans doesn’t mark food with those lines we love, although flavour is almost the same. Anyway, flat griddle pans toast food uniformly and visual final result is also quite beautiful.
. Grill pans surface separates food cooking juices from the ingredient itself, which ensures food is grilled, not stewed or poached. It also reduces steam, which can be especially relevant in small kitchens. But, as we have previously mentioned, it’s a little more difficult to clean and not the most recommendable pan to grill delicate fish and vegetables.
The choice is yours. We would recommend you to have both pans. This way eating grilled food will be more funny and diverse. But if you can only have one, unless you are an unconditional grill pan fan, flat griddle is probably a more versatile piece.
We recommend cast aluminium and cast iron grill pans and griddle pans
To grill and griddle food properly requires cooking at very high temperature, which means pans must be able to reach and keep high temperatures during all the cooking process. Cast aluminium and cast iron are the materials with best heat retention and distribution. Consequently, they are the most recommendable ones to grill and griddle. Stainless steel and other materials are good for other cooking techniques, but we don’t recommend them to grill and griddle.
If you are considering buying a grill pan or flat griddle pan, we would recommend you a cast aluminium one. Cast aluminium weight is lighter, more versatile and easier to use and maintain than cast iron. Cast aluminium pans also come with non-stick coating, allowing to cook with less oil and avoiding food from sticking on cooking surface. You will get healthier results without renouncing to flavour. Cast aluminium grills and griddles are also easier to clean, both by hand and in the dishwasher, so as you will never want to stop cooking with them.
Details than count: cold touch handles and removable long handles
Although cooking surface and manufacturing materials are the main issues you must take into consideration before buying a grill pan or a flat griddle pan, there are other details than count. For example: some griddles have side handles and some other long handles. Both options provide the same taste results, but griddles with side handles have stretched cooking surface and griddles with long handles have square cooking surface.
Anyway, these small details are the ones that set the difference between good products and great products. If long handles are removable, you will save storage space, you will clean them easily by hand and in the dishwasher and even use grills and griddles in the oven.
On the other hand, one of the main inconveniences of grills and griddles with side handles is they burn a lot. Wouldn’t it be better if they won’t? We really think this is a very significative detail. For this reason our griddles with side handles –we call them Flat Tray Pans- come with silicone side handles. And you can choose between integrated side silicone handles or removable side silicone handles. We have also increased side walls height to reduce splashes and also to allow you using them as oven pans.
What about electric grills and griddles?
Even though some are really nice and fun to use in special occasions, conventional grills and griddles are better for the everyday cooking. Electric ones take up a lot of space and they are too much showy. At the end this leads us to feel lazy every time we think about using them, so we abandon them in that cupboard we use to store all those kitchen utensils we never use.
Anyway, if you really want to have one, you must focus on two important issues. First of all, ensure it is powerful enough to heat and keep griddle warm at high temperature during the whole cooking process. Low power electric grills will stew or poach food instead of grilling it. Secondly, ensure the cooking surface is made of cast aluminium or cast iron and that it comes with a good non-stick coating. If not, food will stick on the cooking surface soon after using it for the first time. Or it can even lose its shape and stop cooking food uniformly.
Now you only need to start cooking. Grill cooking is very easy and healthy, but master this technique requires some practice and knowing some secrets. Don’t worry, they are very easy. You will only need fresh food, an appropriate grill pan or flat griddle pan, following the tips of our post Secrets to Grill Like a Chef and to practice a little bit. And if you are always unable to cook a tender fillet steak follow our tips to cook perfect tender veal roast.