A while back we discussed flat tops, when someone inquired about them.
In reality, I don't have room for another stand alone grill on my patio. Yet, I would consider a universal flat top I can fit in my gasser. I could put something about 24" x 18" over my gasser grill grates. BTW, my gasser has 4 burners spaced in it. And, still have room for the smoke box if desired.
Seems two types to consider cast iron or cast aluminum, or, thick gauge stainless steel-that many have a space under it to distribute the heat better from the gas burners. Benefits or hazards or either?
I like the stainless due to the boxed in space underneath, and the sides offered on some to reduce flare ups.
Why do I want a flat top? Keeping them clean and seasoned? Stainless or CI? Do any on you use a flat top regularly and why? How about if they are big enough for fire a pizza?
Some people love them, our travel trailer came with a griddle top instead of a grill , also has stove top type burners , I thought I would like it but it really doesn’t do any more for me than a big skillet on the regular burner. I’m thinking about not even loading up the flat top griddle when we head out and get a small table top grill that takes the same space.
Hope you get a chance to try one somewhere before you buy something, I know people are going crazy over them now, but personally I haven’t used ours near as much as I thought I would like to cook on it
Seems I am using a "Yogi" mat or that Reynolds coated foil a lot to cook stuff. Like, Salmon, veggies, even burger patties, etc. due to flare ups from the drippings. Brad
I prefer the full char over grill marks, the lack of a heavy smoke taste, and the much easier cleanup. Small items do not fall through the grate, and there is never a flare-up. YMMV.
I see with some of the CI inserts its flat on one side and ribbed on the other side. With some of the SS versions you get the sidewalls to help minimize the flareups.
Grill marks are not important to me, but when well executed it sure make a pretty steak.
My son in law loves his,
I may learn to like mine, probably with me I didn’t really like it the first few times I used it, so it’s hard now to warm up to it, but I do like the smoke taste,
Every decent burger I had at home was cooked in a skillet-by mom. Then dad was given a "Hasty Bake." Never a good burger again! I could eat me shoe easier. He charred them to beyond well-done. Brad
Edited by - rinemb on 07/30/2021 11:26:47
good enough reason to try one
Originally posted by rinemb
I see with some of the CI inserts its flat on one side and ribbed on the other side.
I have one of those. Lodge brand, 20" X 10.75". The ribbed side is a real PITA to clean. Other than the geometry the flat side is not superior to a CI skillet, IMO. I haven't used it in 20 years.
For the life of me, I don't know why any experienced cook would want one.
They're handy in a restaurant setting, especially if you're doing a lot of breakfast work. Other than that? They take up a lot of space, they're not as easy to clean as you might think, they add nothing to the flavor of the food, and the heat really isn't all that controllable - what it's set to is what you work with. They don't allow you to start hot and back off. Or if they're not hot enough to start with, they take a while to get up to temp.
Hey, it's your money. To me, these things are just another way to separate people from their cash.
--" they add nothing to the flavor of the food, and the heat really isn't all that controllable - what it's set to is what you work with. They don't allow you to start hot and back off. ---
Heat control. I have three burners, I can turn one to high, one to low, and leave one off, which serves as a warming zone. I can regulate temp by moving food to where I want it. Easy. Ever been to Benihana? That's how they do it.
Adding flavor? I can cook my burger in a puddle of melted butter. Try that on a grill. I can saute onions and garlic and peppers and then cook the meat right in that puddle of flavor. Can't do that on a grill.
They do take 15 minutes to heat up. Don't you also have to heat up your grill?
I will agree that Wal-Mart did separate me from $198 of my cash. I'm silly enough to think it a good deal.
I bought a cast iron griddle, second-hand, never used, (Kitchen-Aid?) for $20.00.
Now I know why. I've never used it either. The basic reason is that the griddle has to be exactly level. Fried eggs are sliding around, added oil or butter does not stay where I cook, hot grease is pooling and drooling in one corner.
I like big pans with sides, a couple of 14" are great.
Three woks are convenient, even if the )*^& electric stove is only big enough for 2 at a time.
I suppose the next realistic step up is a paella pan.
We just bought a grill mat for our Coleman gasser. I'll head Brian T off at the pass about the Maillard reaction.
It does give grill marks & its way easier than the dishes you dirty indoors!
We still have our Primo for long smokes but the gasser is great for easy everyday suppers.
I used to cook big breakfasts when I lived in "The animal house" on Sunday mornings.
One of those flattop cookers would have been the cats azz!
Long ago, I switched to kebab steaks and roasts . Two or three very good marinade sauces.
Several dozen stainless steel skewers of all sorts of lengths. Maillard galore. Peppers, mushrooms, pineapple chunks on there, too.
The $20.00 garage sale BBQ got chopped for a smoker, chickens and ribs and corn.
I like shrimp and prawns cooked in some sort of a peanut sauce.
All fish, scallops, grouse fingers, green tomato and pork schnitzels get pan fried.
I bought a big panini press machine not long ago. Good instruction booklet.
Best way to use it is to go out and order something panini.
I have one of these that is packed in the trailer for camping. amazon.com/Gotham-Titanium-Cer...77&sr=8-4 I put it on the grill for breakfast. I only use the flat side. As Brian T says, it needs to be perfectly flat, which it seldom is, so oils and fats flow into the trap along the edge, instead of sitting where you would like it. The problem with camping is that even if you manage to get it level one day, a day later it will have settled. I do like it for cooking breakfast though. First put on the bacon, then the potatoes, finally the eggs. If the bacon fat did not flow away, it adds flavor to both the potatoes and the eggs. I've also cooked french toast on it. At home I prefer the skillet on the stove.