Buyer’s Guide: Commercial Griddles
Why do you need a griddle?
Griddles are specialized pieces of cookware featuring a flat cooking area with either a non-stick or carbonized surface designed to cook pancakes, steaks, hamburgers, sandwiches, eggs, and other dishes. Many cooks prefer griddles over frying pans or skillets, because they cook evenly and are easy accessible with kitchen utensils. Sometimes pans can make it difficult to get a spatula under a pancake or omelet in order to turn it. However, the flat surface of a griddle solves this problem. Griddles allow for better presentation and consistency because of the even cooking temperatures they provide. This prevents the hot and cold spots that are sometimes present in traditional cookware. Foods like French toast or pancakes respond much better on a griddle for this very reason. Some smaller griddles are made to fit over the heating elements of a range in order to cook food. However, this article will focus on commercial griddles that provide their own heat source using either gas or electricity.
Like most foodservice equipment, griddles come in a multitude of styles and with various options or features. There are many things to consider when purchasing a griddle, such as the size, number of burners, heat and temperature options, and recovery time. In this article we will go over these questions while exploring each type of griddle.
When purchasing a griddle, the size of the griddle should be your first consideration. Does your kitchen have the floor space for a stand-alone griddle, or would a countertop model be preferable? Griddles are available in widths ranging from 12” to 72”. If your kitchen specializes in food cooked using a griddle, like burritos, burgers, sandwiches, and eggs, then a larger griddle would be necessary as long as there is adequate space. Countertop griddles take up less space, and can function as a backup during busy hours as well. Dependent on how much you will use the griddle, the next consideration is the number of burners. Most of the time manufacturers make their griddles with the size correlating to the number of burners. As a general rule, usually every 12” of griddle width will have one burner. So if you are looking at a 60” griddle, it will normally have 5 burners total. Each burner should have its own temperature control knob, which is necessary when cooking various foods at once using different areas on the griddle. This means food for several people can be prepared at the same time on the same cooking surface, which only adds to your kitchen’s efficiency.
Gas or Electric?
Choosing a gas or electric model is another important consideration when purchasing any piece of equipment. Gas griddles use either propane or natural gas, and are less expensive to operate. They are designed to heat quickly with a fast heat recovery, which is great for commercial kitchens. When it comes to gas models, the higher the BTU rating, the faster the griddle reaches cooking temperatures, and the faster heat recovery. Electric griddles are more expensive to operate, but also allow for mobility. They can be used in kitchens, on patios, or even on vacation or camping trips if they are smaller countertop models. Countertop electric griddles can be placed on any kitchen counter or table as an ideal way to cook foods anywhere you like. Griddles are offered in a range of electrical configurations, usually in line with residential or home currents. However, some are more powerful, so it’s a good idea to verify that your kitchen has the proper wiring and voltage requirements.
Temperature Control and Other Features
Griddles are available with different features and options regarding temperature control. Most griddles have a control knob for each burner. Manual griddles are less expensive, but have limited temperature control over each heating element (low, medium, high). The thermostatic griddle models offer more precise control over each heating element, allowing you to adjust the temperature quickly and easily. Solid state temperature controls are the most responsive. Many burners are “U” shaped for even heating on the flat surface, with temperatures ranging from 200 degrees to 575 degrees. Many griddles feature a ¾” or 1” thick griddle surface that is made of polished steel, making it easy to clean. High volume establishments will want a thicker griddle plate, because they are designed to retain heat for longer periods. Commercial griddles also feature a double wall, insulated stainless steel construction, designed for long-lasting use in high volume kitchens. Most griddles are available without many additional options, so your choice of which one best suits your needs is fairly straightforward.
Popular Griddle Brands
Top names in the industry include Globe, Star Manufacturing, Vollrath and Wolf. Each has their own special and proper usage. Contact us today at 800-344-2455 for more information, or to order one today!