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Electric Griddles

Sunday, 1 February 2009 | Tags: , ,

Designed to be used on a tabletop or counter, electric griddles (or countertop grills) have a large flat surface that allows you to cook several different foods at the same time. We find out which griddle cooks up a big meal best.

The Basics

  • Used primarily to prepare pancakes, eggs, grilled sandwiches, meats, the flat surface of griddles makes it easier to turn and flip food.

  • The difference between a griddle and a grill is that the griddle has a flat surface, whereas the grill has a ribbed surface. You can sometimes find a combo griddle-grill or one with interchangeable surfaces.

  • Some griddles, especially ribbed ones, come with a pressing lid and are designed to cook food from both sides at the same time. These “contact grills” are widely available, and with double heating action they cook food faster and eliminate the need to flip it.

  • The cooking surface is usually cast iron or aluminum, with a non-stick finish. Some griddles have reversible plates with one flat side and one ribbed side. Check the non-stick coating for any defects that may have occurred during the application

  • Consider how many people you will be cooking for and the kinds of food you’ll be cooking:

  • Flat griddles are often larger than contact grills and are suited to making pancakes and frying eggs.

  • Contact grills are smaller and good for sandwiches and grilled meat.

  • The griddle plate should feel sturdy and heavy and provide a consistent heat throughout the surface, which is the main advantage of griddles over regular pans.

  • Removable plates are easier to clean and often are dishwasher-safe. If the plates aren’t removable, look for a detachable cord/temperature control element for easier cleaning.

  • Look for various heat settings for added versatility.

  • Rubber feet or a soft plastic base protects your countertop or table and helps keep the griddle from slipping on the counter.

Other Considerations

  • Extra features like a drip tray and a scraper help collect any grease or liquids released by the food and reduce cleaning time.

  • “Cool-touch” handles make it easier to transport griddles from the kitchen counter to the table when hot.

  • Remember to use appropriate utensils (plastic, wood, no metal) when working with a non-stick surface.

TEST CRITERIA

We tested these electric griddles in a fry-off to find out which would be best to use on a high-stakes Mexican food cook day for our show Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag.

  • Black & Decker (family size): $49.99
.. Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Hamilton Beach Jumbo (model 38510): $44.99
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Rival (model GR210): $39.99
. . — 
  • Broil King (USG-10): $74.00
. . (See note below) Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Heat & Usage Test

We measured how quickly each griddle took to get to our desired temperature, and how well the heat distributed and maintained.

  • The Hamilton Beach was slow to heat and had an inconsistent temperature. It was also messy because food kept falling off the edges.

  • The Black and Decker was also slow to heat, inconsistent with cold and hot spots, and messy.

  • The Rival was the quickest to heat and had pretty consistent temperature.

  • The Broil King had the most even temperature, and kept its temperature consistent and even while cooking.

OUR TOP PICK

Overall everyone liked using the Broil King the best, with its lip around the edge to keep food from slipping off, and its even, consistent heat. 

Buying notes:
The Broil King electric griddle (we tested model USG-10) is not available in department stores in Canada or the USA. However, it is available online. We included it in our test because during our research we noticed it had very good reviews. Ace Hardware Outlet carries the griddle and ships to Canada. Amazon (US site) also carries the griddle but only ships to US addresses.

 

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