Grill vs. Griddle – What’s the Difference?
Many barbeque lovers will always turn to their griddle or grill when they want to make some nice bbq food and for most, it does not matter which they use as they will use whichever is available.
But, while both make some fantastic foods, they are not the same and contrary to what many people tend to assume, they are built for different kinds of foods and will hence be ideal for different situations.
Also, they will differ in a variety of other aspects from the price to the ease of cleaning and even to the operating temperatures.
If you have a grill that also comes with a griddle section or the opposite, then you will not need to stress about choosing between the two. But, if this is not the case for you, it will be vital to know how they differ, and this is what this piece is all about.
Grills have been in use for a long time, and they are one of those cooking appliances that you can expect to find in most homes. However, in the last few years, many people have been replacing their old grills will griddles as this relatively new cooking style catches on. If you are going to make an informed pick between the two, you will fast need to know what each is all about
A grill is a classic cooking method that will feature stainless steel wires for supporting the food which is then heated from below, mostly over a charcoal open flame.
However, there are two types of this popular barbequing which are the traditional open type with the stainless steel wires, and the closed type which will feature a solid iron or stainless steel plate with raised ridges.
What makes the grill special is that the food ends up with some nice grill marks due to the raised ridges or bars, and if you are using charcoal, the food will also have a nice smoky flavor.
However, grills will produce a lot of smoke and heat when compared to the griddle and will hence be more ideal for outdoor use where there is enough ventilation.
Griddles are more like a hotplate as they will feature a flat and smooth surface which is heated from below and unlike grills will not give the food any distinctive grill marks.
In other words, a griddle is pretty much a large frying pan but without the raised sides and handle. Also unlike traditional hotplates and pans that are mostly round, griddles often come in a rectangular shape.
The size also differs depending on where the griddle will be used, and it typically ranges from small ones for home use to the larger commercial-size griddles. And unlike grills, they will not produce a lot of heat or smoke which allows them to be used indoors.
In their simplest design, griddles can also just be flat pieces of steel or iron which you can place over the campfire or even over a gas banner to cook up some barbeque.
Distinctively raised ridges
Smooth and flat
Steaks, hamburgers, sandwiches, vegetables
Breakfasts foods, sandwiches and anything else you would cook on a frying pan
At least 400 °F
Around 350 °F
Best Place to Use
Both outdoors and indoors
Texture and Taste
Slightly burnt and chary
Crispy but with a softer core
Ease of Cleaning
A little tedious
Starts at $50
Starts at $80
Grill vs. Griddle
While for many true barbeque fans, the difference between the grill and griddle is obvious, the same is not always true for beginners or those that do not barbeque a lot. And to help ensure, you know what to go for, here are some of the key difference between the two.
1. Cooking Surface
The cooking surface is the most distinctive difference between the two and what you should use to tell them apart.
In its most basic design, a grill will consist of stainless steel or cast iron grates or wires with open spaces between them that will allow the oils and fats from the food to drain away. The modern closed design grill types feature a larger flat plate with raised ridges.
With the griddle, on the other hand, you get a flat smooth cooking surface more like a hotplate. Both the cooking surfaces on the grill and griddle are heated from below and can be both charcoal and electric-powered.
2. Typical Uses
You can cook almost anything that you would cook in a grill on the griddle. Although the taste will not be the same, the reverse is not true.
However, grills are often preferred for making steaks, hamburgers, chops, sandwiches and most kinds of vegetables. Grills will be perfect if you want to give your food a nice smoky flavor and some pleasant grill marks. But, if you are using the traditional grills with open wires, you will not be able to cook foods that start as liquids such as pancakes.
The griddle, on the other hand, is perfect for cooking your breakfast foods from pancakes to sausages and bacon. And you can also use the griddle to make sandwiches, sear steaks and cook anything else you would cook on a hotplate or frying pan.
3. Cooking Temperature
One of the key elements that set the grill apart from the griddle is the cooking temperature. And this should be one of the key determinants of what you pick between the two.
A typical grill will cook at temperatures of at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit which is significantly higher than the griddle that cooks at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, if you are using a traditional open-style grill, the food will be in contact with higher temperatures unlike the griddle where there is a thick metal barrier between the two which also minimizes the risk of flare-ups and hence making them safer to use.
4. Ideal Place to Use It
Besides putting out a lot of heat, grills will also produce more smoke when cooking which makes them better suited for outdoor cooking. However, many modern grills are specifically built for indoor use with a more efficient ventilation system.
The griddles, on the other hand, will not produce a lot of heat and are also not very smoky which means you can use them comfortably both indoors and outdoors.
Also, the decreased likelihood of flare-ups makes the griddle better suited for the indoors as there is little to worry about when using one.
5. Food Texture and Taste
Given that these are quite distinct cooking methods, the texture and taste of the food that each makes will be quite different.
For the grill, your foods will mostly have slightly burnt taste and a chary texture supplemented by some inviting grill marks. This texture and taste will be even more pronounced when using the charcoal or coal pellet powered grills.
With a griddle, on the other hand, your steaks and other food will still have a crispy out layer but not the same one you would get with a grill. But, the foods will have a much softer core than when using grills as they will hardly ever dry out. And since food does not come into contact with the open flame, its smell and taste will be more similar to typical roasted food.
6. Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning your barbequing appliance is part of the ownership as much as you might not like it, and so as you pick between the grill and griddle, you also need to know which one will give you an easier time.
Overall, the flat and smooth surface of a griddle will be much easier to clean up unlike the grates on a regular grill. With the grill, you get more nooks and crannies that are often problematic to reach and clean thoroughly as they will hold onto some of the burnt fats.
Some warm water and a flat scraper are often all you need to clean your griddle but for the grill, you will need a stiff brush and some extra elbow grease and more time to spare for a thorough cleanup.
7. Buying and Ownership Cost
Price is a major deciding factor when choosing between the grill and griddle, and here you will need to consider both the cost of buying both appliances and also the cost that comes with owning it.
Grills are generally the cheaper of the two but the price will often depend on factors like the type, size and the fuel source it uses. Also, grills will be cheaper to operate, and this is more so when using the simple charcoal models, and so will not come with huge ownership costs.
Griddles, on the other hand, can be quite pricey to buy, and this is more so if you go for the fancier and more feature-rich electric models with a large cooking surface. But, they will also not have high ownership costs unless you buy a large power-hungry electric model.
You can get a small and simple charcoal grill with everything you need to start grilling including some nice wheels for easy mobility for as little as $50 but the starting price of a good griddle will be around $80.
But, also not that you can still get a cheap griddle cooking surface (which is basically just a sheet of steel or stainless steel) with the stand and other fancy things for a little over $10.
When the weather allows for some barbequing and it is time to grab your equipment and make some mouth-watering dishes, you will be happy to have the right grill or griddle as it can make or break the barbeque for you.
But, when it comes to choosing between the two, ultimately it will boil down to your preferences and the kinds of foods that you plan to be cooking often.
However, if you are an old school barbeque enthusiast that loves some nice smoky foods with pleasant grill marks, nothing beats the grill. But, for those that also want something they can safely use indoors for breakfast dishes, a griddle is a great choice.
Lastly, if you can get one of those modern models that have both grill and griddle sections the better as you will get the best of both worlds.