For those who are not familiar with flat-top grills, these units do not have grates but feature a flat griddle. Flat tops are excellent for burgers and eggs, but do they afford you the same conveniences and versatility as regular gas or charcoal grill? That’s what our team of chefs is here to answer today with some of the best models on the market.
First up on our list is the very coveted Blackstone Flat Top Grill 1554 with a large cooking surface. It also comes with a grease management system that makes cleanup so much easier. Flat top grills are excellent for burning fat and oil from meats, which is why a grease pan or grease trap is so important.
You won’t need to deal with messy charcoal or kerosene because the Blackstone 1554 features an easy ignition system. You have a total of 720 square inches of cooking space for anything cooked the same way as teppanyaki.
There are 4 controllable heat zones for mass cooking and big meals with restaurant-style results!
The Camp Chef flat top grill comes with four 12,000 BTU burners, a griddle, and grill grates. The surface is truly seasoned and you can get cooking on the large cooking area right when you set up.
The grease management system adds a layer of ease to the Camp Chef flat top grill. The unit has a grease tray and a catch bucket. There are also micro adjustable levers for the griddle setting.
The 4-burner propane gas grill features two large folding shelves that can hold cooked food, a propane tank holder as well as adjustable legs.
With a 36-inch four-burner flat top grill, Royal Gourmet has really outdone itself with the GB4000. Made of stainless steel, you get 784 square inches of cooking surface with this flat top gas grill. The gloss ceramic-coated griddle top will bring a touch of elegance to your backyard cooking grill and it heats up quickly to serve your favorite foods.
The 4 stainless steel tube burners are separately controlled and bring a total of 52,000 BTU of cooking power. The control panel is stainless steel as well for durability and allows the Royal Gourmet GB4000 propane gas grill to start with a simple press of a button.
The Cuisinart CGG-0036 doesn’t look like much, but it actually offers a very large cooking area of 760 square inches. There are two grease management systems incorporated into the flat top gas grill that helps remove grease faster and more easily.
The total cooking power offered by the CGG-0036 is also very impressive. Each of the independent burners can deliver 15,000 BTU for a total of 60,000 BTU.
One of the best parts about the Cuisinart CGG-0036 is the compact and foldable design that breaks down into a small profile for easy storage.
It’s difficult to find a more compact and portable flat top grill than the OT QOMOTOP unit with 3 burners. The 3 burners can be independently controlled for various heat levels and offer a total of 25,500 cooking power with a 355 square-inch cooking surface.
Since it’s small, it does offer less power than restaurant-grade flat-top grills, but it’s the perfect choice for backyard parties and camping. One of the most coveted parts about the OT QOMOTOP is the environmentally-friendly construction that has passed CSA certification. The small unit is a propane gas flat top grill that makes cleanup super easy with removable grease cups.
What does it take to be the best flat top grill? There were a few factors our expert cooks looked for when sorting through all the models. We looked at the best portable options to ones that offer restaurant-grade results. Below is a quick checklist of our criteria.
By size, we mean the size of the entire flat top grill. You want the one you pick to fit into your space and be relatively easy to transport. Of course, the cooking space will affect how large the flat top grill is, but our team says you can find a good balance if you manage to seek one that can fold down easily.
There are also different designs of flat-top grills you can choose from. There are many a grill master who finds it difficult to decide between a flat top grill and one that comes with traditional grates. Griddle cooking will not give you the same sear the way grate cooking will. Luckily, there are grill and griddle combo models available that can give you the best of both worlds.
A grill and griddle combo will come at the cost of some cooking space, since the two types will take two burners each (in a 4-burner combo). You can also look into extra features in your flat top grill such as side shelves. These shelves are usually foldable and heavy-duty, and they give you more space to hold cooked foods that need to keep warm.
There are also griddle cooking grills that have ample on-board storage space. These gas grills are great for camping trips and outdoor adventures. There are even models with extra luxuries such as a paper towel holder because we all know how messy grill cooking can get.
If you decide on a portable propane model, our team of chefs suggests looking for a secure propane tank holder next to your flat top griddle.
The cooking area depends entirely on the amount of space you need for the food you cook. Brands such as Royal Gourmet and Blackstone make a variety of options from small ones such as the Blackstone 28-inch model with two burners to ones as large as 36 inches.
For everyday outdoor cooking, there are flat top griddles that run on 2, 3, and 4 burners. If you need more, those models are usually more industrial or restaurant-grade that take up a lot of space. The top flat top grill for your needs will have independently-controlled burners that allow for different cooking zones.
28-inch models are suitable for a couple or small family. If you are a lone wolf that enjoys grilling for your own pleasure, then a small 23-inch model with 2 to 3 burners will do. For larger families or people who like to host parties, our team of experts suggests having at least 4 burners and a cooking surface of over 470 square inches.
Portability is important for those who want a gas griddle for various purposes. Do you need the gas griddle just to have the occasional backyard BBQ? If this sounds like you, then it may be more acceptable to get a heavy model that mainly stays in place.
If tailgate parties, camping trips and BBQs in the park are more your jam, then our team recommends small, compact and foldable outdoor flat-top grills. These usually take up less space and are lighter weight than their stationary counterparts.
If you are leaning towards a portable flat top grill, make sure to look at the legs, the storage, and the wheels. Industrial-grade caster wheels that are sturdy will keep the grill in place while you feed your friends.
Home appliances including outdoor cooking equipment are expected to last for years. While this is usually true, some grill griddle units last much longer than others and the reason is the materials used and the construction.
For the cooking surfaces, you may find cold-rolled steel, stainless steel, carbon steel or cast iron to name a few. Cast iron is more durable but also heavier than steel. Cast iron will, unfortunately, take longer to heat but the temperature distribution is much more even.
As said, stainless steel is lighter, thinner and easier to maintain, but the heat distribution is poorer. Also, our experts say cast iron is pricier so that may factor into your consideration.
The grill griddle is usually on top of stainless steel burners, but you can find other types as well. Our experts do suggest stainless steel burners as many of them come with a push-button ignition that starts more easily.
What is a pre-seasoned grill griddle? It’s one that will make your food taste more flavorful and protect your flat-top grills from rust. It basically means there is a protective non-toxic layer over the grill and griddle. This is done by baking a safe oil over the surface of your unit’s cooking surface. A flat-top grill that is pre-seasoned means the manufacturer already did this step for you.
You can, of course, do it yourself. In fact, our professional chefs highly recommend it. Just heat a layer of cooking oil on the surface of your outdoor cooking grill for 30 minutes at a high-temperature setting.
The best flat-top grills will be within your price range. Many factors will influence the price, starting with the cooking surface material and size, followed by whether you have a 2, 3 or 4-burner option. Extra features such as different cooking zones and whether the griddle comes pre-seasoned will also affect the flat top griddle price.
There are units closer to 1000 but also ones that barely scrape the 200 mark. For something you use to prepare edibles, our team does not recommend cheapening out on the price. A better-priced grill like one from Royal Gourmet, for example, will fetch you better materials, a more durable griddle, and an evenly heated cooking surface.
As for the warranty, it’s very important to read the fine print to understand what is covered. Look for units that come with a 1-year warranty at the very least.
You can cook pretty much anything on a flat top grill. Eggs, pancakes, burgers, are all examples of yummy food that are excellent for your flat top griddle. Any type of food that you want to have more contact with the heat will do well on this type of grill.
One thing you may notice when you cook meats on a flat top grill is a slightly charred crust around the edges. This is something extra that can make fish, chicken, and beef patties taste extra savory.
Flat tops are also great for stir-frying dishes, which is why they look like a teppanyaki grill. You will be able to attempt this type of recipe where you throw the ingredients together and create one single dish.
As our team briefly mentioned before, a flat top grill is excellent for burning extra fat and oil. While this can rid your food of unhealthy grease, it does make cleaning up your flat top grill quite the headache. This brings us to some cleaning tricks that will make cleanup easier.
The first thing to look for to ensure a simple cleanup for your flat top grill. The answer is the grease management systems. Grease trays, cups, catchers, and pans will collect all the oily run-offs. You also need a good griddle scraper to get rid of all the charred bits of food that will accumulate on your flat-top grills.
Cleaning starts with heating up your flat-top grills and removing the surface bits with the scraper. After the surface is clean, pour some warm water over the top to rinse it off. You can then apply a suitable cleaner to the top such as stainless steel cleaner or food-safe polish. Just make sure whatever you are using is non-toxic.
A flat-top grill will help eliminate fat and grease from your food and offer versatility to your cooking needs. The heat distribution on the best flat-top grills is excellent. Are they worth it? It depends on your needs, but there are combo models that definitely prove their value.
A flat top and a griddle are very similar. The difference is just the way they are heated. Flat top grills have circular burners while griddles have long heating elements. They may look the same, but the difference is under the surface.
Our experts have landed on the Blackstone 1554 as our top choice. It’s reliably built with a durable griddle and controllable heat zones. The grease collection won’t get in your way as it’s located on the back of the grill and the large cooking area allows for restaurant-style results from a relatively affordable cooking unit.
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