If you are 100% honest with yourself, the last thing you want to do after finishing standing over your outdoor griddle making a wonderful meal is cleaning. The last thing you want to do when you uncover or pull out your griddle to cook is clean it.
People who enjoy cleaning are few and far between, but if you want to cook the best food and keep your griddle in the best shape possible to use for years to come, you need to keep it clean. Nobody wants weird, out-of-place flavors in their food or bits of old burnt food. As the cook running the griddle, it is your responsibility to take care of the griddle. So how often should you be cleaning it? How should you clean it, and do you need to season it every time you clean it?
How often should I clean my griddle?
You should clean your griddle after every time you cook on it before it completely cools down. Routine maintenance like that will cut down on serious messes and problems that take much longer to fix.
If you do not have a proper cover for your griddle, you should take the time to wipe down the cooking surface before you cook each time as well. The potential for dust, dirt, or other debris to gather on the griddle is much higher when you do not have it covered well. Nobody wants any of that in their food, and you can prevent that easily.
If you are tempted to skip the cleaning process when you first assemble your brand-new griddle, take the time to do a deep clean of the cooking surface. Then spend the time properly seasoning your griddle. Yes, your griddle is brand new. No, it is not ready to cook. The manufacturer will put some type of coating on every new griddle to protect it during shipment. That layer needs to be cleaned properly before use.
Why you should clean your griddle
You should clean your griddle because a clean griddle is best for cooking. A dirty cooking surface can lead to food sticking more, or bits of old burnt food coming off in the food you are making at that moment. You can also end up with flavors from other meals interfering with your current meal.
Buildup on the cooking surface can lead to food cooking improperly as well. You want your food sitting flat on your griddle and bits of stuck-on burnt food can keep food from proper contact.
Regardless of why and how often you should clean your griddle, it is also important that you follow up cleaning with seasoning the griddle.
What is the best way to season a griddle?
Having a clean cooking surface is only part of having a properly operating griddle. After you finish cleaning your griddle, you need to make sure you are taking the time to reapply oil and season the cooking surface. Seasoning your griddle creates a nonstick surface perfect for cooking.
The best way to season a griddle is by applying enough cooking oil while the griddle is hot to cover the entire cooking surface with a thin layer. Too much oil can result in flaking and chipping while cooking which can get into your food. Gently wipe the oil around to cover the griddle, then wait for the oil to smoke.
If you are re-seasoning after a post-cooking cleaning, this is enough. If your griddle needed a deep clean because it is brand new or the cooking surface was too dirty, then you will want to repeat this step two to three times to get the dark brown color indicating a good nonstick surface.
The ability to cook an entire meal on an outdoor griddle can cut down on the number of dishes needing to be washed after a meal. Despite that, there is still cleaning that needs to be done. Proper care of your outdoor griddle will make cooking go well and help you make good food. Neglecting the cleaning process will lead to problems with your food, whether that means more food sticking to the griddle or the food you are cooking picking up unpleasant flavors and bits from the cooking surface.