As we continue our series on intermediate level kitchen equipment, things that are useful but not essential, we take on one of my favorites — the griddle.
A griddle is a flat surface, usually metal in the developed world, that’s used for cooking all sorts of foods. It’s kind of like a large, flat fry pan. You’ve seen the big industrial models in restaurants and diners. There, it’s called a flat top. In the underdeveloped world, a griddle can be a flat stone or brick tablet over an open flame. Flatbreads are a common item cooked over this type of griddle.
When I was a kid, we had a two-burner cast-iron griddle that was used almost as often as the cast iron skillet. Believe it or not, those are still available. In fact, if you can afford it, this is the preferable model because it has the weight to sit flat on the stovetop.
Another variation is the griddle pan. Most in this country are square with a single handle. The problem with these is they lack the weight to sit even on the burner. I have one of these. I like it and I use it quite a bit. But without food on it, the handle weight causes the other end to rise up off the burner. Also, it doesn’t heat as evenly as I would like.
This is a variation on a Welsh griddle, which is cast iron, round and has a single handle. It looks like a crepe pan, for which it is ideal. A griddle typically has either a short rim or a shallow trough for grease.
Another type is the tappan, a Japanese griddle you may have seen in robata restaurants like Beni Hana.
You also may have seen an electric griddle, similar to an electric skillet or grill. The problem with these is uneven heating.
Costs for a griddle or griddle pan can range from about $15 to well over $100.