Once the enormous propane-powered griddle was assembled on the porch of my dad and mom’ 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 obtained the thought 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 wish to make pancakes for a bunch, as a substitute of 1 or two at a time in a skillet on the range. Later, you can additionally cowl it with greens of all sizes—there’s no grate for them to fall by way of—or unfold every little thing 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 may end up doing the identical.
An enormous griddle (generally known as a flattop grill) is a good way to feed a bunch of individuals in a rush. Griddles aren’t new, in fact. 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 virtually 3 toes broad and 21 inches deep, this one rivals some pro-kitchen griddles in dimension. Other extremely ranked fashions on this class, often within the $300 to $450 vary, embody 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 overview of a Home Chef flattop as a automobile as an instance the recognition of out of doors griddles, and his story helped activate the jets for the class.
While a propane-powered outside griddle nonetheless could be a novelty to many residence cooks, the shape is acquainted: Take a four-burner fuel grill and change the grates with a giant rolled-steel plate, take away the lid, and nearly every little thing else will likely be comparable. On the Cuisinart (identical 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 metallic 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 clean and black. More than placing every little thing collectively, this regreasing took fairly some time. Just like my carbon-steel pans that weren’t seasoned after I purchased them, I certain 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 identical setting, the temperature would ideally be even all over the place on the cooking floor, so that is unhealthy. What stunned me was how shortly I obtained used to it. Yes, good, even warmth could be simpler to work with, however how far are you going to roam while you’re cooking 20 burgers without delay? I simply stood there, flipping and transferring 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 difficulty during which the flame would sometimes begin at, or drop to, a low stage, regardless of the place the knobs had been set. At first, I assumed this was a low-tank drawback, but it surely occurred once more with a distinct 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 certain appeared that means. I am one hundred pc certain that if I owned the griddle, that drawback would get actually annoying.
I additionally wished it had some kind 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 comprise 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 toes 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 known as a grease nicely. On different top-ranked fashions, these are within the again, permitting you to push every little thing away from you into the nicely. The Cuisinart has two metallic 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.