Griddles are incredibly important tools in any commercial kitchen because of their versatility. Some restaurants use them to prepare nearly everything on their menu, whereas others only cook a few specialty items. Whether you are a popular hamburgers joint, a 24-hour diner, or only using the griddle to heat up certain items on the menu, the right commercial griddle should allow you the space to make the quantity of foods you need, the ability to cook your food at the exact desired temperature, and the functionality to operate without too much effort to keep clean. There are many features to choose from. Below you will find a few things to consider.
Griddle Plate Thickness
Put simply, the thicker the width of the griddle plate, the more durable it is. A thicker plate can stand the repeated process of heating and cooling without warping or becoming compromised as quickly as a thinner plate will. Heat distribution is another consideration with plate thickness, as a thicker plate heats more evenly and will stay hotter after food is placed onto it, meaning that a thicker plate creates a surface that can cook a higher volume of food over a given period of time when compared to a thinner plate. If the commercial griddle is going to be used frequently, or for items that will make it work harder, like frozen product, then an operator will benefit from investing in one with a thicker plate. A thinner plate could be sufficient for cooking things like eggs and pancakes.
Griddle Plate Finish
Commercial griddle plates are stainless steel with an upgrade option to an added chrome finish. As chrome emits less energy into the atmosphere operators can save up to 30% in utility costs. Chrome is also non- porous, and it won’t transfer flavour between different food types. Because Chrome is dense and non-reactive with food products it will limit food from sticking during the cooking process, which will also make it easier to keep clean. This non-reactive quality of chrome also ensures that it doesn’t leave a metallic taste to acidic foods or turn light-colored foods dark.
Griddle Depth & Width
Flat-top griddles come in width increments of 12 inches, and they range from 24 to 72 inches wide. The width will determine how much food you can cook in a single batch, and how much space the equipment will take up in the kitchen.
Griddle Burner BTUs
Heat generated by a griddle is measured in BTUs. A burner that produces higher BTUs can keep a griddle hotter and provide better recovery rates between batches, so higher BTUs can translate to quicker cooking. Economy griddles may come with burner options that produce as little as 20,000 BTUs an hour, while more powerful medium- and heavy-duty gas griddles will produce 30,000 BTUs per burner or more.
Griddle Thermostatic Controls
There are two types of controls for commercial griddles: manual control and thermostatic. Manual controls allow for just a couple of main heat settings, usually low, medium, and high. Thermostatic controls let you set the heat at a specific temperature.
Modulating thermostatic controls are found in economy griddles. These controls keep temperatures accurate to within 30- or 40-degrees Fahrenheit of the set temperature, making them the least accurate of all thermostat options.
Snap-Action thermostats are usually found in medium-duty griddles and can keep griddle surfaces within 15 degrees Fahrenheit of their set temperatures, providing a good balance between accuracy and affordability. These units usually have the thermostat welded to the bottom of the griddle plate.
Solid State thermostats are often found in heavy-duty griddles They provide the most precise accuracy as they can keep griddle temperatures within 5 degrees Fahrenheit of the set temperature. Higher end units usually come with an embedded thermostat for more accurate temperature reading.
POWER – GAS OR ELECTRIC GRIDDLE?
Both gas and electric griddles work in a similar way; heating the cooking plate with burners directly under the griddle surface.
Gas griddles will heat up faster. If the operator is constantly using the griddle, then gas is often considered to be more economical in the long term.
Electric griddles can be a bit more flexible than gas and are useful for sites where a gas connection simply isn’t an option.
As you can see below there are many options to choose from. Hopefully the descriptions above will help you identify the right commercial griddle for your needs. If you have any questions, please let us know.