Last Updated on May 4, 2023
I’ve been cooking on a griddle for years, and in this article I’m going to share the tips and techniques I’ve learned along the way so you’ll be able to cook like a pro too.
If you’re not used to cooking on a flat top grill like the Blackstone or Camp Chef, you might be a little nervous. Cooking on a griddle is different than cooking on a traditional grill and there are some different techniques you’ll need to master.
Ready to get started?? Let’s go!!
Things You Need To Know About Cooking On A Griddle
Once you get the hang of it, cooking on an outdoor griddle is pretty simple. But there are some things to keep in mind if you want your meals to come out perfect every time. Here are my best flat top cooking tips and tricks…
High Heat Isn’t Always Better
In my experience, most beginners crank their flat top’s heat up to max for everything they cook on their flat top.
If that’s you, don’t feel bad. I made the same mistake when I was starting out.
These days I rarely cook anything with high heat. Sure if I want to get a good sear on a steak or if I’m making Smash Burgers I’ll turn the heat up.
But most of the time I keep the heat set on medium. The griddle will still get plenty hot enough and your foods will cook more evenly. This is especially true for things like eggs or pancakes. If the heat is too high they’ll be burnt before you even know what happened.
Flat top griddles have knobs for a reason. Start with a lower heat and you can always turn it up a bit if needed. But if it gets too hot it will take a long time for it to cool down.
Know Your Heat Zones
The temperature on your flat top’s cooking surface is never completely uniform. There are always some spots that get a little hotter than others and you should pay attention and learn where your griddle’s hot zones are.
There’s nothing more frustrating than when some of your chicken is cooking faster than the rest because it’s in a hot zone and the rest isn’t.
Here’s a pro tip you’ll be glad you learned: you can set up your own two-zone heat system just by setting the burners with one side lower than the other.
The benefit of a two-zone system is that as foods finish cooking you can slide them over to the cooler area to keep them warm.
Plus, different foods cook at different temperatures so it helps to have two heat zones when needed.
For example, I love making breakfast on my Blackstone. If I’m cooking up some eggs and hash browns, I’ll cook the eggs on the cooler side and keep the hash browns on the hotter side so they get nice and crispy.
Clean As You Go
If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.Ray Kroc, the man who made McDonald’s restaurants an American staple
I once had a boss who used that quote to “motivate” us to work harder. It always annoyed the hell out of me and I don’t remember it ever making us work harder either.
But when it comes to cooking on a griddle, you should take every opportunity you have to clean as you go because it will save you a lot of trouble later.
As you cook, use a scraper to clean the griddle surface and push any food residue or excess grease into the grease trough. By scraping the surface clean as you go you’ll be giving yourself more cooking space to work with.
Plus, you’ll have an easier cleanup job later when you’ve finished cooking.
Oil Your Griddle After Each Use
You probably already know that you need to season a Blackstone griddle before cooking on it, but you should also get in the habit of oiling your griddle’s cooking surface after each cook. This simple maintenance will help prevent rust and keep the non-stick seasoning intact.
Once you’ve cleaned the grill and the surface is dry and still a bit warm, add a very thin coat of oil and use a paper towel to spread it evenly across the surface. It only takes a minute or two and your griddle will be all set for your next cook.
Over time your seasoning will become uneven just by cooking on it, that’s normal. When that happens you can always strip and re-season your Blackstone.
You Can Use Pots And Pans On Your Griddle
Many people don’t realize you can actually put a pot or pan directly on a griddle’s cooking surface.
This comes in handy when you want to keep a sauce or glaze warm without having to run back and forth between your grill and the kitchen.
When I make pancakes on the Blackstone, I often make a fruit compote to drizzle on top and having it right on the flat top next to the pancakes makes plating a breeze.
You can even boil water on a griddle if you’re making a pasta side dish. It’s not the most efficient way to do it though. To save some time, I suggest you pre-heat the water on your kitchen stove and then put it on the grill.
Keep Extra Fuel Handy
If you do a lot of cooking on a flat top griddle, you’re going to go through gas. That’s to be expected and it just makes sense to be prepared and have a full propane tank nearby so you can quickly swap them out if needed.
Trust me, I’ve run out of fuel while I was in the middle of preparing a big family breakfast. Luckily I always keep extra propane on hand so I only lost a minute or so switching out the tanks. But if I didn’t have an extra propane tank my breakfast would have been ruined.
Speaking of propane, make sure you always turn the valve on the tank off when you’re finished cooking to prevent any gas from leaking out. And when you turn it on, open the valve first and then turn on the griddle knobs to light the burners.
If you turn on the knobs first, you can inadvertently trigger a safety mechanism inside the tank. Very little gas will escape from the tank and you’ll be left with a very low flame even though your tank has plenty of gas. I’ve written more about what to do in this situation here.
You Can Cook Almost Anything On A Flat Top Griddle
When I told my wife I wanted to buy a flat top griddle, my wife rolled her eyes. I already had a gas grill and a smoker in the backyard, and now I wanted to add another way to cook outside.
But once I put it together and started cooking on the griddle, she understood.
Griddles are super versatile and they allow you to cook meals that you’d never dream of making on a traditional gas or charcoal grill.
Some of my favorite things to cook on a griddle include:
The Final Word
Outdoor cooking on a griddle is fun! It’s very similar to cooking on a traditional grill, but there are some key differences you need to learn if you want to make the most of your flat top.
The best part of a griddle is that you can cook almost anything on it. Just try making scrambled eggs or pancakes on a charcoal grill and see how well that works.
Plus, cleanup is easier because you keep any splatter and mess outside instead of in your kitchen.
Do you like cooking on a griddle? Drop a comment below and let me know your favorite meal to cook on it!