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Should I Buy a Griddle Grill?

Should I Buy a Griddle Grill?



Should I buy a griddle grill?

Well, that depends. Probably the fastest growing segment of the grill market is the flat top or griddle grill. Blackstone seems to have led the way on the griddle grill with LoCo Cookers moving hard into the segment after specializing in turkey fryers and crawfish boilers. The popularity of the griddle grill has brought traditional grill manufactures into the market as well, with Char Broil, Char-Griller, Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Even Embers and many others carrying at least one griddle in their array of products. All products mentioned so far have propane or natural gas as fuel. For those that want a wood or coal burning alternative there is the Tribal Fire Grill, or if you want to take it up a notch in terms of price the Ofyr or Arteflame can also double as an art piece in the back yard or on the rear deck, and have a price point to match. Now if you want to make an investment in an artpiece and a wood fired griddle grill, look at the Vilecci Virtuoso or Esperto (or you can buy a car!).

None of this answers the question. Should I buy a griddle grill? Well, it still depends. Griddle grills do some things extremely well and some things not so well. My family loves making breakfast on a griddle on the deck during the warmer months, something we call, “deck breakfast.” Griddles are ideal for making bacon, eggs, sausages, hashbrowns and pancakes. I’ve even made griddle toast using bacon grease (oh my!). Think making grilled cheese but without the cheese. 


Breakfast on the griddle highlights what the griddle grill does well. It’s good at anything hot and fast. Burgers, steaks, seafood of all kinds:

What the griddle doesn’t do well is low and slow. If the primary goal is to grill ribs, pork shoulder (pulled pork) and brisket, then a griddle is not the answer. That requires a dedicated smoker. That being said, a dedicated smoker paired with a griddle grill is one mean combination. Reverse searing is all the rage right now, so much so that Alton Brown redid his steak episode on the Food Network to showcase reverse searing a steak as his go-to method. To sum up, if you are looking for a cooker that is phenomenal at cooking things hot and fast and makes for a phenomenal flavor crust, then the griddle is for you, albeit if the economics add up. One can get into a small griddle for a couple hundo or spend beyond a couple grand for a, well, dare I say, grander model. But there is another option. What if you already have a grill that works just fine? There are all sorts of cast iron and stainless steel griddles that can be added to your existing grill to turn it into a flat top. Here are a couple cast iron griddles for the bacon and sausage and a non stick skillet for those sunny side up eggs (gotta have that yolk):

That brings us to a summary of options based on price going low to high. 

 

The lowest price point is to buy a griddle or two for your current grill. One can get all sorts of griddles for less than $50. A cast iron griddle will be a little more expensive and the shipping will be a lot more, but still cheaper than buying a dedicated unit. 

 

The cons against this buying a griddle or two and setting it on your current grill is most grill companies don’t sell a dedicated griddle that covers the entire cook surface. So you will need to measure your cook surface and probably buy more than one griddle and make sure the two of them will fit onto the grill. 

 

Next up the ladder is one of the many mass market dedicated griddle units. These provide a ton of griddle surface and can be used for everything from grilled cheese to pancakes as well as steaks, seafood and burgers. 

 

The two biggest cons are these may be mass produced and available at every big box store in the country, but they aren’t cheap. That and they have a large footprint on the deck. Most of them are more than twice as big as 90% of the kamados on the market. Also, a dedicated natural gas line is an up-front hassle that could save a lot of time later on in terms of refilling propane tanks.

 

And finally, the griddles that double as art pieces are sexy beasts, but come with a hefty price tag. The Ofyr and Arteflame are going to run north of $2400 and both run on wood which means they can do triple duty: Griddle, art piece and fire pit. The round shape and lidless design of these cookers really amps up the social aspect of grilling as there is no lid to shield people from the pitmaster. 

 

The cons are the price as well as the weight. Think long and hard about where one of these will go in the backyard or on the deck/patio. Once either of these is in place, moving them is not a one person job. It might not even be a two person job for some folks. That bodes well for longevity and build quality but makes moving it a pretty difficult ordeal.

 

I’m a big fan of the griddle, in any of the above mentioned shapes and forms. I use mine at least once a week. In fact, I used it two days before I typed this last paragraph to grill some burgers for the fam and will likely be adding that magical, coast to coast flavor crust to the steaks I have in the fridge right now. That’s dinner tomorrow. #LivingTheDream

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