How to season your new griddle
The hallmark of an outdoor griddle is its nonstick surface. To achieve that beautiful, dark brown surface perfect for cooking all types of food, from pancakes to smash burgers to quesadillas, you need to season your griddle. While your brain may start thinking of all the different seasonings in your spice rack, this type of seasoning is akin to the process of giving cast iron cookware a nonstick surface. You achieve a nonstick surface on your griddle by repeated applications of oil on the heated surface.
How do you season a griddle for the first time?
You have finished assembling your new outdoor griddle. You know you need to season the cooking surface. However, before you begin heating your griddle and applying oil, you need to clean the flat top. The manufacturer applies a layer of oil to protect your griddle, but it needs to be removed before you can start the seasoning process. You want to avoid using dish soap as much as possible once you have your griddle seasoned, but this time is the one major exception. You need to thoroughly wash and rinse the entire cooking surface to remove any trace of oil or any contaminants from shipping. After you let the griddle dry, then you can begin the seasoning process.
Begin by turning your griddle heat to high and letting the cooking surface come up to temperature. Once the flat top is hot, apply enough cooking oil of your choice to coat the surface with a thin, even coat. Spread the oil out and let it cook on the flat top. There will be smoke as the oil cooks, so do not worry. Once the smoking has stopped, repeat the process two to three more times until the cooking surface takes on a deep brown color.
Do you have to season your griddle before using it?
When you first assemble your griddle, you cannot skip the cleaning and seasoning steps. Your griddle will not be ready for cooking. The cooking surface needs to be cleaned and then seasoned. If you try to cook, you are cooking on manufacturing-applied oil and whatever dust, dirt, and other particulate got on the flat top during transit.
Even if you cleaned the griddle well, it is still not ready for cooking. Food will stick and your first attempt at making a meal will be ruined. Take the time to do a good job seasoning and your food will thank you.
How long do I season my griddle?
The short answer is as long as it takes to get the nonstick surface you need. If you are seasoning your griddle for the first time or after a deep clean, the seasoning process may take an hour or so. However, once you have your griddle properly seasoned, you only need to add some oil and do a quick wipe after you cook. Yes, the temptation to turn off the griddle and go enjoy your food might be overwhelming. However, taking an extra couple of minutes to apply another thin layer of oil and wipe it across the cooking surface will make cooking each subsequent meal easier.
What happens if I don’t season my griddle?
If you do not season your griddle, you will ruin a lot of food. Your griddle is designed to be seasoned into a nonstick surface. If you skip seasoning it, you do not have a nonstick surface. That means smash burgers stick and tear rather than form a crust. Burnt bits of food from that last meal end up on today’s plate.
Seasoning your griddle does serve another purpose as well. That layer of oil that cooks onto the flat top also protects your griddle from rust. While it is still possible for your griddle to rust even if you season it properly, unseasoned steel will rust easily, especially if you live in a humid environment.
If you have invested the money into purchasing a griddle and the time to put it together, you need to invest the extra time to season it. Your griddle is designed to be seasoned. It does not do its job correctly without seasoning. You put your food at risk and even the griddle itself. Take the time. Your family, your food, and your griddle will thank you.