A flat-top grill can be described as a cooking appliance that is quite similar to a griddle but performs differently. The difference between the two is in the heating element since a flat top grill is circular while that of a griddle is straight.
The flat-top grill is a great addition to our cooking range and one that has been embraced in many households. They can be used during family gatherings, at parties, and even on a Sunday morning when you want it to feel special.
What is a flat top grill used for?
A flat-top grill is used in cooking different kinds of food. It can be used for:
- Front-Of-House Cooking
Many restaurants make use of flat-top grills for display or what is known as “front-of-house” cooking. This makes it possible for diners to hear, see and smell the food being prepared and cooked in front of them.
Unlike induction hobs or butane burners which require additional equipment, this grill is self-sufficient as a standalone cooking platform. Display cooking is a notable trend found in different commercial food service with an open kitchen as part of the dining experience. At the same time, watching a meal being prepared has become entertaining.
- French Tops
A French top stove resembles a flat-top grill, but the only difference is that it is only used with pans and pots. A large flame under the metal plate is what serves as its source of heat and is covered by concentric metal rings directly.
Safety precautions when cleaning your grill:
There are several safety precautions that you need to follow to ensure your grilling is done safely. Some of these precautions include;
- Put it in a safe location
This happens to be the essential way of keeping your family safe during the grilling process. Although it is very tempting to grill indoors, especially during cold seasons, carbon monoxide is likely to be created, and since it is invisible, it can easily cause great effects or even death.
- Clean the grill regularly
Always clean the grill regularly before and after using it. grease and other buildups are likely to cause flare-ups which can lead to potential fires.
- Wear the right gear
Your dressing when grilling matters a lot. Grilling gloves and long-sleeved shirts are great in protecting your hands and arms from the heat of the fire. You should also avoid wearing loose clothes as they can easily catch fire.
- Check your grill for problems
It is very common for grills to develop problems like propane leaks and so forth. Therefore, you should regularly check gas lines by placing a small amount of soapy water on potential problem spots.
- Have working fire extinguishers ready
It is always good to be ready to deal with big fires and flare-ups in case of anything. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, you can use baking soda as it is a great option in putting out grease fires.
How to do your cleaning
That said and done, we can now list down several ways of cleaning your flat top grill. As we said before, we have several ways of efficiently cleaning our flat-top grills. It is now time to explore the several ways available to us and any other information that might deem necessary.
1. Cleaning your grill using lemon water
There are different ways of cleaning a flat top grill, but the most common one is by following the steps provided below
- Mix lemon juice with soda water. Spray the mix on the grill.
- Wait for about five minutes: this gives time to the lemon juice to sip into the food debris and the char.
- Slowly remove the food residues that have already softened by now.
- Scrub the flat top grill in a circular motion using a scouring pad.
2. Scrubbing the grates
The grates mark a very important part of your grill. This is because; this is where the vegetables or proteins to be grilled are normally placed. A lot of the times, we tend to leave some fat or juices on the grates, and unfortunately, we usually forget to wipe them off immediately after we are done with our cooking. This results in a highly greasy grill that might prove a bit challenging to clean. This can, however, be done by:
- Getting the grease off is by using a hard copper brush.
- Scrub the grates until you have removed all the fat or juicy leftover that was on the grates.
- Turn your grates upside down; This helps you to ensure that you’ve correctly done your work, and see if you can see any remains left on the grates.
- If you find any, then you need to repeat the process all over again.
NB: Using soapy water before you start your cleaning to soften the fat or juicy spills goes a long way.
3. Wash the burner protectors
Another important part of your grill are the burner protectors. They have been installed to ensure that your burners are kept away from getting clogged with dirt, dust or grease. Just as you would expect, the burner protectors accumulate dirt very fast. the following steps are followed in doing this:
- Remove the protectors: In many models, they have a latch that is pulled.
- Soak them in soapy water; Once you are able to remove these protectors, you will need to soak them in soapy water for a few minutes.
- Start scrubbing them with a sponge. The soaking helps in removing the grease effectively and once they are well scrubbed; they look as new as they were before.
4. Cleaning the bottom side of your grill using a grill brick
This might not seem important to clean, but it is equally important. This is because; all the grime seems to end up here. This is again one of the most challenging parts of your grill when it comes to cleaning. One of the reasons for this is simply because much of the gunk is being accumulated there, and it is sticky and hence tough to clean using a sponge.
In most of the flat-top grills, there usually are two trays placed at the bottom side of the grill. The same can be cleaned by following the process below:
- Get the gunk and the char off the plate. The gunk can be very difficult to clean once it sticks on to the tray. Therefore, always make sure you get rid of it as soon as possible.
- Using soapy water and a sponge you can try to get out the excess gunk and char.
- This is followed by use of a grill brick which is normally provided in the packaging.
The essential thing you need to keep in mind is that you are working this out to remove the big pieces of grease and char. Once the trays are free from such, you can be sure your grill will be in perfect condition.
5. Use of vinegar solution to clean the grates
Apart from using soapy water to clean the grates, you can opt for a more natural solution of vinegar and water. This will help you in cleaning the greasy grates. To prepare this solution, the following steps are followed:
- Mix vinegar with water.
- This is followed by applying the solution to the top of your flat top grill.
- To optimize your cleaning, you can use a sponge to scrub the surface which will remove all the grease and other dirt present on the grates.
6. Clean any rust on top of the grill
As we all know, metal rusts very fast. Unfortunately, the top of the skillet in many flat top grills is usually made from iron. The problem comes in when it starts to rust. The rust proves it a great challenge in preventing any flakes or chips from falling into the skillet. Which can be very toxic and a healthy hazard to the consumer of the food cooked on this grill.
It is therefore important to ensure that you clean off all the rusts on top of the griddle using soapy warm water. There are also some companies like Blackstone that provides a cleaning kit in their packaging. Follow the steps below to do this effectively.
- Heat up the grill: This makes it easy for the rust to loosen.
- Then use heat resistant gloves to effectively clean the rust.
- You can go ahead to drop a few drops of liquid soap or oil on the top of the grill
- Use a grill stone to scrub if available.
NB: However, if you are not provided with a grill stone, sandpaper can also work as well. Sanding the top of your grill helps in cleaning the top of the grill effectively by removing any small traces of rust on it.
How to clean a new flat-top grill before using it?
Once you get your new flat-top grill at home, the last thing you would think of is cleaning it before use. However, this is very important to clear off any dust that might have accumulated during its storage. The following steps are followed in cleaning your new flat-top grill effectively.
- Heat some water and pour it into a clean bucket.
- Mix it up with water.
- Scrub the entire surface of your grill with the soapy water using a towel to remove any residue or dirt accumulated during shipping and storage.
- Once you are satisfied with your cleaning, use paper towels to dry off the water.
- To avoid rust, leave it to dry completely before use or storage.
NB: Unless otherwise advised, use soap on brand-new grills only (grills that have never been used before). Once you start using the grill, avoid frequent use of soap in cleaning it.
Once you have cleaned the grill, it is important to season it to create a stick-resistant surface. This will prevent your meals from sticking to the metal when grilling.
What is a griddle?
A Griddle is a cooking appliance that consists of a wide flat surface that is heated by gas, wood, electricity, or coal. The best griddle can be used for both commercial and residential applications. In industrialized countries, this is normally a flat metal plate. However, in other countries, it is a tablet or a brick slab.
Difference between a grill and a griddle
There are a few notable differences between a flat top griddle and a flat top grill. These differences are well presented on the table below:
1. Smooth flat surfaces.
2. Uses lesser heating temperatures.
3. The food remains just as it was.
4. Griddles can cook most of the food including pancakes.
1. Distinctively raised ridges and solid plate.
2. Uses high heating temperatures.
3. The food comes out with grill marks.
4. Can only cook solid food.
How to season a Blackstone griddle?
Seasoning your Blackstone griddle is very important as it ensures your foods don’t stick on the surface while cooking. This can be done through the following steps:
1. Clean it up
Your Blackstone flat top griddle might be brand new, but the truth is, it is not very clean to be used immediately. Therefore, you need to first clean it sparkly with soapy water.
2. Make it dark
After you have sparkly cleaned your best griddle, it is now time to darken it up. This is done by turning the burners on to the max and letting the heat do its thing. After approximately 10-15 minutes, the griddle top will start browning. This is the time to move to the next step.
3. Dab it with oil
Make sure you choose oils that are rich in fatty acids and those that bond with your cold-rolled griddle plate. This is what is called a “heated relationship”.
The following oils make a good choice for that:
- Flax oil
- Extra virgin oil
- Canola oil
- Vegetable shortening
- Vegetable oil
- Crisbee Puck
- Coconut oil
4. Fire it up
Turn up the heat and give it enough time to blacken. The griddle plate will billow with smoke which is generally known as “smoke point” which normally takes approximately 30 minutes. Once the smoke is gone, it’s now time to turn off the griddle.
5. Time for some extra rounds
To make a tasty surface and the best non-sticking surface that your meals deserve, repeat the seasoning process again. This can take around 2 to three rounds.
6. Final touches
Once you are through with seasoning, wipe the griddle with cooking oil using a few paper towels. This will protect the griddle against oxidation.
Do Blackstone griddles rust and how can it be prevented?
Blackstone griddles are made of rust, and as we all know, steel is prone to rust if not taken care. One of the major causes of rusting is when the griddle is left open to moisture or morning dew.
Therefore, to avoid this from happening, do the following:
- Keep moisture at bay. Coat the griddle with oil.
- Cover your griddle when storing it.
- Clean any rust on top of the griddle as soon as possible using the method mentioned above.
Grilled food is a delicious part of any meal. It is also one of the American cultures that work so well in bringing people together. This is a culture that should be treasured, and the best way of doing this is ensuring you keep your grill clean all the time. Giving people contaminated food is a nightmare that can cost you more than friendship and relationships.
Since the top of the grill or the graze is what will come into contact with your food during the grilling process, try using natural cleaning detergents. The most common solution used is vinegar and water (without soap). Unless there are stubborn stains or rust, which is very rare on a grill that is regularly cleaned, vinegar will work perfectly okay.