control (either manual or thermostatic) for every 30-60 cm (1 to 2 feet) of length. This can allow for cooking multiple foods at different temperatures on one griddle, and depending on the construction, a griddle can reach and hold temperatures of up to 400 °C (800 °F), though they are typically used at temperatures of 60-230 °C (150-450 °F). Large griddles can also accommodate more than one cook at a time, but accordingly, they will require a larger grease hood.
Portable electric griddle with temperature controlPortable electric griddles differ from portable electric "grills" only in that a griddle has a flat cooking surface and a grill has a ribbed surface (see the George Foreman Grill).
A griddle can be used to cook many foods—from vegetables to meat, and it can also be used to keep soups and sauces warm or to heat up plates in pots and pans that can be placed directly on the cooking surface for even more cooking flexibility. It works in most applications where a frying pan or sauté pan would be used. Griddling is a cooking technique that combines traits of sautéing, toasting, simmering, pan frying, browning, caramelizing, grilling, baking, braising, and roasting. In most cases, the steel cooking surface is seasoned like cast iron cookware, providing a natural non-stick surface.
Griddles can be powered through natural gas, propane, or electricity. More recently, steam-heated and infrared griddles have entered the commercial griddle market. Gas heat is often favored by professional cooks because of its reputation for even heating. Most gas models use 6-9 kW (20,000–30,000 BTU/h) per burner.
Griddles are to become a part of Energy Star’s commercial food service listings in 2009. To save energy, many cooks turn the griddle temperature down during off-hours. Snap-action temperature controls can help curb energy costs by only pushing energy through the griddle when it’s necessary. Keeping the griddle as clean as possible also promotes better energy efficiency.
Some griddles come equipped with a flame-failure safety device, but like many pieces of kitchen equipment, griddles can cause a fire hazard if not properly maintained. Care needs to be taken to keep the griddle and the area around it free of grease buildup. Splatter guards at the edges of the griddle can help prevent grease from escaping to the surrounding workspace, and emptying the grease trough often helps prevent grease overflow.
Harsh soaps generally aren’t advised for cleaning griddles (especially those with cast iron plates). Often, scraping excess food from the griddle surface with a griddle scraper or wiping it with a cloth while it is still warm (60-80 °C; 150-175 °F) is enough to keep a griddle in good form from day to day. Further cleaning depends upon the griddle’s construction. Some types of griddles require cleaning with an abrasive brick or pad, while others (chrome finished, for example) can be cleaned with a special cleaning powder and water. Proper cleaning will ensure even heating, keep food from sticking to the griddle, and helps protect the plate from damage.
Besides cleaning, most griddles will need to be seasoned through regular oil rubdowns, and some cooks prefer to season their grills with a combination of oil and salt. This helps prevent food from sticking to the griddle surface.
It is also important to empty the griddles' grease troughs (grease drawers) regularly to prevent them from overflowing. Except for solid-state thermostats, thermostat calibration should also be performed regularly (per the manufacturer’s instructions).
Some indicators of trouble spell the end of a griddle’s service life: rusted, cracked, and warped plates are generally impossible to fix. However, certain parts (gas valves, thermostats, safety pilots, etc.) can be replaced throughout the life of a griddle. Sometimes all that is required is a thermostat calibration. With regular upkeep, a commercial griddle has a life expectancy of up to 15 years.
There are many variations on the standard griddle, and accessories abound. Examples include stainless steel cabinets, refrigerated bases, adjustable legs, belly bars, and even cutting boards, to name a few. Cleaning accessories can include such things as griddle scrapers and squeegees.