Which is Best for BBQ? A Grill or a Griddle?

Sep 17, 2018 | Blog

When talking about outdoor cooking, grills and griddles are usually used interchangeably. Both are great cooking surfaces used for BBQ. With that said, there are notable differences between grills and griddles and not all the foods you can cook on them are interchangeable.

What is the Difference Between a Griddle and a Grill?

The most notable difference is the surface used to cook on. Griddles feature large flat tops, similar to a hot plate. Often the surface area is larger, which is why street food vendors typically cook on them.

Grills operate at higher temperatures and transfer that heat from the open flame onto the grill grates. These grates create the brown or black grill marks that everyone is after in barbecue.

What is a Grill?

A grill is a cooking surface that has raised ridges or grates that leave grill marks on anything you cook on it. They are best for hamburgers, steaks, and vegetables.

Grills separate the fat from the food when cooking, as a result, food cooked on a grill usually contains less fat. Most grills have a recessed area underneath or a drip pan that collects the excess fat and grease from the food.

What is a Griddle?

A griddle is typically a large flat surface with the heat source directly underneath it. Griddles are made of materials that hold heat such as stainless steel and cast iron.

Griddles are best for making the breakfast staples that you would normally prepare on a frying pan. Bacon, eggs, pancakes, you name it. A griddle is essentially a large frying pan, offering all the same benefits.

What Foods are Best for Each?

Griddles are best for the breakfast staples. Items like pancakes, crepes, hash browns, and eggs. They also work wonderfully for burgers and hot sandwiches.

Grills are used for larger pieces of meat like steaks, fish, and poultry. Lots of people also cook veggies like corn on the cob, asparagus, and zucchini. Food just tastes better grilled and you can’t beat the smoky flavor that gets infused into the food.

Barbecue is a global phenom and every culture has a form of barbecuing that brings friends and family together. A few examples are:

  • Argentina – Asado on a Parilla
  • India – Tandoor (cylindrical clay or metal ovens with charcoal or wood fires)
  • South Africa – Braai is an event that only focuses on barbecuing meat on a braaistand (grill)

Griddles are popular choices around the world as well. You might be surprised how many of your favorite meals can be prepared on one. To name a few:

  • France – Crepes (flat thin pancakes often topped with berries)
  • Korea – Bulgogi or “fire meat” are small pieces of beef, often stir-fried with veggies
  • Spain – La plancha (grilled on a metal plate) is essentially a round griddle (better heat distribution) used for nearly all meals in Spain

Which is Easier to Clean?

As you can imagine, a flat-top griddle is going to be much easier to clean and maintain.

Griddles feature large flat cooking surfaces. These usually only require warm water and a scraper. Conversely, grills have grates that gristle can attach itself to. There are also small nooks and crannies that grease and pieces of food can attach itself to.

Cleaning a Grill

Grills have lots of nooks and crannies that make it much more difficult to clean.

Below is a video that goes over how to clean a charcoal grill.

Cleaning a Griddle

Griddles are super easy to clean. To make it even easier we like to use a putty knife.

Which is Best? Griddle? Grill? Both?

Truly a tough question and there really is no right answer. It depends on what you’re cooking and what meal you plan to make. If you’re looking to make pancakes and eggs then a griddle will work best. If you’re looking to make steak strips or large cuts of fish, then a grill works best.

In terms of price, they are nearly the same. If you were to buy a mid-range griddle or grill you can expect to pay around $200-$300. If you plan to cook on both surfaces you could always opt for a griddle/grill combination grill.

At the end of the day, you can’t beat the grill marks and smoky flavor of grills. Then again, you can’t cook a pancake on a grill.

Let us know which you prefer and some of your favorite meals/recipes to make!


Billy Stewart

Chef and Reviewer for Barbequesmoked.com

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