Once the enormous propane-powered griddle was assembled on the porch of my mother and father’ home, family and friends members handed by in succession, many confused about what you’ll do with such an enormous cooking floor. Not my sister, although. She acquired the concept immediately.
“I want to cover that thing with bacon.”
The magic of the Cuisinart 36-inch Four-Burner Gas Griddle (CGG-0036) is the sensation you could cowl it with a metric ton of meals. Perhaps together with all of the bacon, you’d prefer to make pancakes for a gaggle, all of sudden as an alternative of 1 or two at a time in a skillet on the range. Later, you could possibly additionally cowl it with greens of all sizes—there’s no grate for them to fall by—or unfold all the things to make dinner for 4 throughout the highest.
Cooking on this factor, flipping chops on one facet and a giant pile of onions on the opposite, put me in thoughts of Argentine chef Francis Mallmann floating over his grills and flames like an artist portray to music. Once you get into the griddle groove, you would possibly end up doing the identical.
An enormous griddle (generally referred to as a flattop grill) is an effective way to feed a bunch of individuals in a rush. Griddles aren’t new, after all. I grew up with my mother’s electrical model on the kitchen counter. Restaurants, from greasy spoons to high-end joints, use giant flattops to nice impact, and at nearly 3 ft extensive and 21 inches deep, this one rivals some pro-kitchen griddles in measurement. Other extremely ranked fashions on this class, often within the $300 to $450 vary, embrace variations from Nexgrill and Blackstone. (Cuisinart additionally sells a 28-inch, two-burner model of this griddle for $300.) In a 2018 Popular Science article, Joe Brown used a evaluate of a Home Chef flattop as a car as an example the recognition of outside griddles, and his story helped activate the jets for the class.
While a propane-powered outside griddle nonetheless could be a novelty to many dwelling cooks, the shape is acquainted: Take a four-burner gasoline grill and substitute the grates with a giant rolled-steel plate, take away the lid, and nearly all the things else can be comparable. On the Cuisinart (similar to on most grills) the burner parts run entrance to again, and the 2 entrance corners have holes that lead all the way down to steel grease cups that accumulate oil and gunk.
Setup might have gone simpler with this mannequin, notably the seasoning course of, the place you scrub “shipping oil”—no matter that’s—off that big, heavy cooktop, then hit it with excessive warmth and a slick of canola till it’s seasoned, repeating the method till the cooking floor is easy and black. More than placing all the things collectively, this regreasing took fairly some time. Just like my carbon-steel pans that weren’t seasoned after I purchased them, I positive wished the griddle had come pre-seasoned à la a Lodge cast-iron skillet.
The seasoning course of additionally made it clear that the warmth is concentrated alongside the griddle’s widthwise centerline. With all burners on on the similar setting, the temperature would ideally be even in every single place on the cooking floor, so that is dangerous. What shocked me was how rapidly I acquired used to it. Yes, good, even warmth can be simpler to work with, however how far are you going to roam whenever you’re cooking 20 burgers without delay? I simply stood there, flipping and shifting meals from middle to again or entrance, and vice versa, relying on what it wanted.
While we’re speaking about heating, I’ll additionally point out a problem through which the flame would sometimes begin at, or drop to, a low stage, irrespective of the place the knobs have been set. At first, I assumed this was a low-tank downside, but it surely occurred once more with a special tank. To repair it, I’d simply detach and reattach the tank. I can’t be one hundred pc sure the issue was with the griddle and never the tanks, but it surely positive appeared that means. I am one hundred pc positive that if I owned the griddle, that downside would get actually annoying.
I additionally wished it had some form of three-walled backsplash to maintain the grease splatters from the porch and facet of the home. (Sorry, Mom and Dad!) Similarly, I pined for a lid to shelter the grill when it rained, to include warmth and prepare dinner thicker objects extra simply, and to maintain the duvet from coming involved with the cooking floor when it’s not in use. The mixture of wheels on one finish of the griddle and adjustable ft on the opposite didn’t make a ton of sense when it got here to leveling it out. Surprisingly cheap-feeling knobs and barely wobbly legs didn’t assist.
I did love how grease fires are a factor of the previous on outside griddles, as you simply scrape all of the gunk into what’s referred to as a grease effectively. On different top-ranked fashions, these are within the again, permitting you to push all the things away from you into the effectively. The Cuisinart has two steel grease cups that work positive, however for causes I don’t perceive, they’re on the entrance corners, forcing you to awkwardly and thoroughly scrape sizzling gunk towards your junk. No thanks.