Commercial griddles are simple. They feature a flat metal plate made of steel, cast iron or aluminum upon which food is cooked. They are great for cooking a variety of food at the same time, without taste contamination.
As with any piece of equipment, matching production is key. To do that, there are two “sizes” that you must consider: size of the griddle itself and the width of the griddle plates. Surface area of the griddle is important for the obvious reason: bigger griddles can grill more food at one time. When opting for a larger griddle, look for controls by section that will allow for different temperatures on different areas and multiple products cooking at once.
Fried eggs, hash browns, bacon, pancakes and the occasional side item may call for a medium duty unit. They’ll usually have a plate that is ¾” thick.
Higher production cooking, for example, hamburgers, steaks and foods with more volume will require a longer recovery time. Look for thicker, 1” thick steel plates on these heavy duty units.
One final note on griddle size: account for your hood size. You’ll need at least 6” of hood space on either side of your griddle, so a 48” griddle will need a 60” hood.
Gas Griddles vs. Electric Griddles
Gas is almost always less costly to operate than electric and cheaper to maintain. They achieve cook temperature quickly and have shorter recovery time than the electric options. If gas is not available or electric is the cheaper utility, you might consider an electric griddle instead. The good news is that electric griddles may not require the same ventilation system as a gas griddle.
As with any gas appliance, be sure and include a new AGA commercial gas flex hose. They are designed extremely heavy duty, usually with a brass quick disconnect. Standard, plumber supplied home-type flex hoses are not designed for commercial applications and are not NSF approved.
Standard Griddles vs. Chrome Griddles
Standard griddles are made out of heavy duty steel and work well in most situations. However, some restaurants may find that chrome griddles are better suited for their kitchen. Chrome griddles are excellent for retaining heat at the griddle surface. Additionally, chrome plates displace less heat into the air, which makes for a more comfortable work environment. They are also faster to clean, but more more expensive to buy.
There are two types of thermostats available on most griddles. Depending on the types of foods you'll be cooking most often on your griddle, either could work best for you.
Thermostatic controls allow you to set specific temperatures. They are ideal for “delicate” foods, like pancakes or eggs. They are also great if you plan to use your griddle as a holding plate for food.
Manual controls are more vague with their controls, leaving only choices for low, medium and high. You’ll find these are the more affordable options that work just fine for things like burgers or bacon.
Griddles should sit on a heavy duty stainless steel stand with casters or on a refrigerated base with drawers. And of course, like all commercial kitchen equipment, diligent, daily cleaning will keep your griddle in top condition for years.
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