A commercial griddle is typically comprised of a plate of rectangular metal heated by burners or elements underneath the plate, the shape of the griddle suited for the shallow frying of food types like eggs, bacon, pancakes and steak which require a large flat surface to cook evenly. This makes the commercial griddle and ideal for breakfast and lunchtime service.
With such a wide range of configurations available, you will need to consider what type of commercial griddle is best suited to your business. This guide provides an overview of all the power configurations, plate types and capacities available, helping you to make an informed decision.
Gas & Electric Configurations
As with most catering equipment, griddles are available in both gas and electric models, in most cases, both types will feature burners underneath the metal plate to heat the surface. However, electric models may have an element embedded in the metal plate.
Gas has the benefit of creating a more even heat distribution compared to electric griddles. Gas griddles typically feature thicker plates as the quick heating effect of gas allows for a thicker metal; which will take longer to heat but will also retain heat for longer. This means that gas units like this are the ideal choice if you are thinking of using a large griddle surface regularly, with LPG (liquid petroleum gas) alternatives readily available which are great for mobile catering.
Unlike gas, electric griddles will not require installation by a professional technician. Electric models generally have thin plates to compensate for a slower heating speed; however, they are an excellent choice for places where gas is not in an option or electricity is a cheaper utility.
|Steel||This is the most common material used for the griddle plates; it is a good conductor of heat as well as being a non-stock, steel is also very easy to clean, perfect for any kitchen environment where hygiene and cleanliness are of high importance. Using mild steel is the most common types found on available griddles; however, without treatment and regular oiling, mild steel is prone to rust.|
|Cast Iron||An even better conductor of heat, cast iron is a cheaper option found on griddles. However, it weighs much more, reducing the options for moving the griddle, which may hinder cleaning. Cast iron is also prone to rust when not cleaned thoroughly.|
|Chrome||Chrome-like steel has an easy to clean surface but also, has a more natural release surface making it ideal for flipping delicate food items like eggs and pancakes. Chrome also has faster heating up times as it requires less energy to warm; this also creates the added benefit of less heat escaping into the kitchen making the working environment more comfortable to work in.|
The type of thickness plate should be suited for the kinds of food you intend to cook. Thin plates are suitable for cooking eggs and other delicate food items such as pancakes, bacon and fried toast. Their ability to heat and recover quickly makes them perfect for dinner and breakfast service.
On the other hand, thicker griddles are ideal for steak, burgers and frozen foods where there is a level of thickness or firmness that will require them to be cooked for longer. Since thicker plates will take longer to heat up and cool down, they make a perfect choice for catering firms with a heavy lean on grilled foods.
If your establishment offers a variety of different food types regularly, it may be wise to purchase more than one griddle or invest in a double plate griddle to keep up with your order demand. Another thing to consider is the lifetime of these plates when under constant use, thinner plates will eventually warp and distort due to the effects of continuous heating, this will not occur as often with thicker plates, but it will ultimately require the replacement of the plate.
Some models use grooved plates that act as chargrill or contact grill. In most cases, grooved plates are part of a larger unit like a double plate grill, which occasionally features a smooth side and a grooved side. These types of dishes allow you to give products like steaks and burgers their signature barbeque effect, and also means you can save on costs and space as a full chargrill won't be required. A handy feature of the grooves is that the excess grease and fat can drain from the food when cooking.
Size & Capacity
Like with the plate type, the choice in size will reflect the demand for griddle cooked food in your catering establishment. Purchasing a large unit will provide you with enough capacity to meet the demands at your busiest period. However, these units will take up more space limiting your options for other appliances. Also, larger units can be outfitted with accessories like dual heat zones, additional grove plates which help to provide more flexibility.