Stove-top grill / griddle; are they worth it?
I have a plain Lodge grill pan; it is not reversible. I use a glass top electric cooktop. I like the grill pan and use it daily for bacon, sirloin burgers or occasionally toast. I have cast iron skillets to use for pancakes.
If you would like to grill more things, even in the winter months, then a grill pan might be worth it.
I have a double burner one, a single burner round griddle and a square single burner grill pan. For indoor grilling ventilation is key regardless of the the grill configuration. For the double burner it may take a few times to figure out where to set the heat for what you are trying to cook. I use both sides and am happy with both when cooking for more than a couple people. I use a griddle scrapper on both sides during and after cooking to keep the surface clean. A large spatula commonly called a cake turner works great too. The worst part is seasoning in the oven which should never be attempted with silicone mitts or pot holders. Too slippery for that kind of weight at that temperature.
I have one and rarely use it. Bacon is done in the oven and I agree with Jenny, if you cook bacon any other way, it could be better. I cook pancakes on an electric griddle where I can set the temp more accurately and it heats more evenly. And I do eggs per order, so don't need a big area for that. I've used it for hamburgers on the grill side rarely. It does take a long time to heat up and I'm not sure the benefits (grill marks) were worth it. I have not cooked a steak indoors in over 12 years.
agree on the part between the burners not being nearly as hot, but it is ok for cooking pancakes, hashbrowns, french toast, etc. at either end. ridged side is great for panini with a bacon press. Anything that spatters is going to be messy, but it is capable of turning out great seared scallops. As for steaks or chops, it is a distant second to a heavy CI or steel skillet IMHO. Oh, it is great for making English muffins and tortillas.
I have the standard Lodge two-burner and we use it a minimum of twice a week--indeed, there are sometimes weeks when we don't bother to take it off the stove for days.
Some of the things we cook on it regularly:
Sausages (both link and patty)
No, we don't cook bacon on it. That's because bacon is cooked on a wire rack in a half-sheet pan starting in a cold oven that's set to 425 degrees. Anyone who cooks it any other way is a fool to themselves.
The trick to using it well is that you want to preheat it over relatively low heat for at least 10-15 minutes, and then you should use a LOWER heat than you think you need. Honestly, for most things I cook on the flat side, I have the burners turned to their lowest settings.
My experience is that the griddle is nice if cooking things like pancakes or french toast for the masses. Just heat it up nice and slow. It takes awhile for the heat to be fairly uniform (the area between the burners will never get quite as hot.)
I don't find them useful as a indoor grill. For that, get a square or round grill pan. The sides are a bit taller, which contains splatter and grease/juices during cooking, and allows the pan to be filled with water afterwards, since soaking makes cleanup way easier. Plus, the grill is poor at actually transferring heat to the food -- what I like to do is get the pan screaming hot, get my nice grill marks on the food, and then finish in the oven.
I have this Lodge cast iron reversible griddle:
I use it much more often in the summer than the winter; I live in an apartment, so no BBQ, and it doesn't get my house quite so hot as the broiler.
Pros: this thing makes the best pancakes and crepes EVER! Roasting garlic and peppers and making tortillas is no sweat. BBQ recipes can be made relatively easily.
Cons: it smokes, it's heavy, it takes up a lot of room, and I don't use it as much in the winter. Also, you have to let it warm up for quite awhile (usually I give it at least 15 minutes). If you don't let it heat up long enough, you'll get a cold spot on the part that's not over the burners.
Overall, I'm glad to have mine, but I could definitely get by without it (or with a single burner grill pan).
Are you talking about the kind that goes over top of two burners on your stovetop? If so, what type of stove do you have - I have an induction stove and find that the grill side smokes like the dickens! It does a really good job on steaks and chops but I find burgers are too greasy and it splatters way too much for me. Means I can't use the other side of the stove as I worry about the darn stovetop catching fire! Maybe I need a better hood fan, but it sure smokes up my house!
The griddle side does much better, love cooking pancakes on there! I've had mine for a few years and the non-stick coating is still holding its own (i only use it maybe once a month).
re: mucho gordo
We use our stove-top griddle on the griddle side at least once a week. Like you, we have a gas stove. We mainly use it for breakfast items - bacon, fried eggs, pancakes, French toast. We also use it for grilled cheese sandwiches. We can get more on it that in a frying pan. Also, because there are no sides, it's easier to maneuver a spatula under the items that are cooking to turn things. I cannot imagine not having one.
I think we used the grill side once and never again. We have use a regular outside grill about 9 months a year. In the winter, if we want steak or burgers, we find that our Calphalon sautee pan is better at conducting heat than the grill, so that is what we use.
I have had one for about 14 years and used it maybe 5x. It is ok for pancakes but so is my 14 fry pan. I cooked bacon on it once - holy cow what a mess! As far as grilling goes, I rather use the oven broiler.
It takes a long time to heat up and a long time to cook down, which makes clean up sort of a pain in the butt.
I just find that I have other cookware that works just as well so I am less than thrilled about my stove top griddle.
nsstampqueen: "have an induction stove and find that the grill side smokes like the dickens! It does a really good job on steaks and chops but I find burgers are too greasy and it splatters way too much for me. Means I can't use the other side of the stove as I worry about the darn stovetop catching fire!"
If you have induction, the simple remedy is to spread a sheet of newspaper on top of the cooktop and under the grill before cooking. The fat will spatter on the newspaper, and after cooking, you just crumple it up and throw it in the trash. Just remember why Ray Bradbury titled his book Fahrenheit 451 and you'll be o.k.