Commercial griddles are some of the most versatile pieces of cooking equipment in the restaurant kitchen. They can be used to cook anything from eggs to steak on a single cooking surface without worrying about flavor transfer. However, if that cooking surface is not properly seasoned and maintained, the food coming off of the griddle plate will not be very tasty.
Seasoning a Commercial Griddle
Food is placed directly on the commercial griddle surface to cook, and the only way to assure that food does not stick to the griddle plate is to properly season it. In this respect, seasoning does not refer to flavor. Instead, it is a process by which oil or lard is baked into the metal to create a non-stick surface on which to cook. New griddles and those that have been extensively cleaned will require seasoning. Also, if food starts sticking, it is time to re-season the griddle. Follow these steps to season your commercial griddle:
- Wipe the griddle surface clean with a lint-free cloth.
- Rub cooking oil, shortening, beef suet or baking soda on the griddle with a lint-free cloth.
- Heat the griddle to 350 – 400 °F.
- When the griddle reaches the desired temperature (red light turns off), turn off the griddle and allow it to cool.
- Wipe off excessive oil and repeat steps 3 – 5 one more time.
- The need for re-seasoning depends on how often the griddle is used, but you can expect to re-season the griddle at least once a week, usually after a weekly deep-cleaning. If the food starts sticking, you will need to re-season the griddle more often.
For new griddles: Light all of the burners and turn them on a low setting (around 300 °F) for an hour. Let it cool before proceeding to the next step.
Cleaning a Commercial Griddle
A commercial griddle needs to be cleaned or scraped frequently in order to maintain cooking efficiency and prevent flavor transfer. The following are tips for properly cleaning a commercial griddle:
- After each use. Scrape the griddle clean with a grill scraper each time cooked food is removed.
- After each day. Remove and empty the grease container and clean the grease trough. Also, clean the griddle surface with a grill brick, like the Carlisle grill brick. While the griddle is still warm, rub the griddle with a grill brick. For stainless steel, rub in the direction of the grain to not damage the surface.
- Once a week. Allow the griddle to cool completely and clean the griddle plate with a food-service-grade degreaser. Avoid using soap and water as it can affect the flavor of food. After the weekly cleaning is a good time to re-season the griddle if it needs it. Otherwise, coat the griddle plate with a thin film of cooking oil to prevent rust.