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What Metal Is Used For Griddles? (Explained)

What Metal Is Used For Griddles?

Cold-rolled steel and cast iron are two of the most popular metals used for a griddle top. Though there are some high-quality griddles on the market made from other metals like aluminum, chrome steel, and stainless steel.

The type of metal used in a griddle will affect not only its cooking performance but also the measures you need to take to maintain it and possibly the seasoning layer.


Why Does the Type of Metal Matter For Griddles?

Important properties, like heat conduction, weight, sear quality, ease of cleaning, and seasoning requirements can all vary from one type of metal to the next.

It can also affect the overall cost that the griddle manufacturer passes on to you, the buyer.

With some metals like cold-rolled steel, a properly maintained seasoning layer can also enhance the flavor of the food being cooked, while also helping to prevent long-term corrosion problems.


Best Metal For Griddle

Cold-rolled steel and cast iron remain two of the best metals for a griddle top. Though your cooking style, and how much work you want to put into developing the seasoning layer might influence the type of metal you want to prioritize.

To help you find the best type of metal for your next griddle, we need to take a closer look at the properties of each.

Cast Iron

Cast iron does a great job of absorbing heat from the underlying burner elements and conducting it to the food you are cooking. This also translates into great searing. The tradeoff is that cast iron typically takes a little longer to fully preheat.

Cast iron griddles also tend to be heavier, and without a protective coating, they can rust very easily.

To keep this from happening, a lot of grill manufacturers will coat cast iron griddle tops with a thin layer of non-stick porcelain ceramic. However, the porcelain doesn’t do anything to enhance the flavor of the food being cooked, as it essentially prevents you from developing a traditional seasoning layer.

If you find a griddle with exposed cast iron, you will need to be extremely diligent about carefully maintaining a seasoning layer on every square inch of metal.

Cold Rolled Steel

Cold-rolled steel also does a great job of conducting heat and creating a good sear. It is a little lighter and preheats faster than cast iron. It also needs a protective coating to prevent rust, though it is very easy to season.

When properly maintained a seasoning layer gives a cold-rolled steel griddle non-stick properties as well as helping to enhance the flavor of the food you cook on it.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has been increasing in popularity with grill manufacturers thanks to its durability and relatively low cost.

Stainless steel griddles tend to be thinner and lighter, which creates more of a direct heat conduction relationship between the underlying burner flame and the food being cooked.

This can make it easy to sear burgers, steaks, and hot dogs. Though it tends to burn the exterior of things like bone-in cuts of chicken by the time the meat cooks thoroughly down to the bone.

Cleaning and seasoning are a bit of a double-edged sword with a stainless steel griddle.

The carbon content and other metals in stainless steel do a good job of preventing corrosion, but it also makes it hard to create a real seasoning layer.

This means that a stainless steel griddle will do little to enhance the flavor of the food being cooked. If you have a habit of aggressively scraping it down, the microscopic scrapes it can cause on the surface can also make the stainless steel griddle increasingly sticky over time.

Aluminum

Aluminum is lightweight and heats up quickly, which means it does a good job of searing food. Though it is extremely sticky on its own. So, a lot of manufacturers will coat an aluminum griddle with a non-stick material like Teflon or porcelain ceramic.

Though this also means that aluminum can’t develop a seasoning layer to enhance the flavor of food, and you have to be careful not to scrape any protective non-stick coating.

Also bear in mind that it is not safe to heat an aluminum grill with a Teflon coating over 500 degrees.  


Are Griddles Made of Cast Iron?

Cast iron is a very popular metal for griddles, though a lot of manufacturers will coat it with porcelain ceramic to protect the metal from rusting.

This makes the griddle easy to clean and helps food to release easily. Though it robs the cast iron of the ability to build up a mature seasoning layer to enhance the flavor of the food being cooked.

If you do want the searing power of cast iron, and the flavor enhancement of a seasoning layer, you will have to seek out a bare metal cast iron griddle. Then be absolutely vigilant about taking care of it.


What Kind of Metal Is A Blackstone Griddle?

Blackstone griddle tops are made from cold-rolled steel. Straight from the factory, the griddle comes with a protective coating of cooking oil to prevent corrosion during shipping and storage.

You need to remove this oil and apply a protective seasoning layer before grilling with it for the first time.   


Final Thoughts

Cast iron with a ceramic porcelain coating and cold-rolled steel with a properly maintained seasoning layer are the top two options for backyard griddles.

Both do a great job of searing and releasing food easily while also being relatively easy to maintain. They cost a little more, but the higher price is worth it.

Stainless steel griddles and aluminum coated with non-stick coating can be used for outdoor griddles, and they will get the job done. Though they are second-tier options, and better suited for kitchen griddles and home cooking appliances.