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Griddles: CI, Aluminum, Stainless, etc. - What's the right choice?

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    Griddles: CI, Aluminum, Stainless, etc. - What's the right choice?

    This is straight forward - does metallurgy make a difference when it comes to choosing a griddle to place over coals and wood chunks?

    I recently got a deal from Aldi's on a big aluminum griddle. I was shopping CL for a vintage or Lodge CI, and this one just showed up in my mail as a weekly find.

    I've seen folks in the PIT that have stainless steel griddles. I myself have a Blackstone. I have the CI insert for the Weber Gourmet Grate system (that heavy stainless grate is GREAT).

    I wanted a big rectangular griddle if I ever needed to lay one on my box grill. Did I make a mistake with aluminum? What are the pros & cons, advantages and disadvantages, if any?

    I eventually want a DnG for my kettles, but only for the bottom grate for big birds.

    AND, now that I've read below (re #2 non-stick) - Do you season aluminum the same was as CI & I'm assuming stainless? I seasoned my Blackstone pretty simply, just like pre-seasoned CI.
    Last edited by JGo37; October 16, 2018, 08:17 AM. Reason: From something I learned in a reply...

    #2
    I have had a couple Aluminum griddles. The pros for me is they heat up really quick, light weight and usually not too expensive. Also heat more evenly than cast iron.

    The bad, all the one's I have seen or bought have a non-stick layer that wears off pretty quick for a griddle (maybe I move my food too much). I have never tried anything crazy hot but I do know the melting point for Aluminum is around 1,200F maybe an unattended bge might get that hot or a blazing hot SNS....I have heard of people melting grill grates but never seen it. Stainless will be 2,500-2,700G melting point which I do not think a unattended BGE or SNS will get that hot. Cast Iron melting point it in the 2k range too.

    Comment


    • BriggsBBQ
      BriggsBBQ commented
      Editing a comment
      I did not know that. Thanks for sharing.

    • Santamarina
      Santamarina commented
      Editing a comment
      Long before you reach the "too hot" for aluminum you get too hot for the non-stick finish. Most non-stick cookware says never take it over "medium" heat. Most people do. Then the finish starts wearing. That = chemicals in your food. High heat only with SS or CI.

    • BriggsBBQ
      BriggsBBQ commented
      Editing a comment
      Santamarina very true about the non-stick coating. That is why I have never liked the aluminum ones because they are always coated.

    #3
    Grillgrates are made from aluminum, and I think they warn you against taking them over 900 degrees or so, to avoid warping them. That said, I have had THIS griddle/grill pan for at least 20 years:

    https://www.nordicware.com/catalog/p...e/category/94/

    It is made from cast aluminum, and sits right on the stove taking flames from two of the burners, and is my go-to for making pancakes and such (on the smooth side). My wife flips it and uses the ridged side for "grilling" stuff like zucchini. I would think that direct flame from gas burners would be well over 900, at least in the spots the flame is hitting.

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      I just saw in the specs where they say the "oven" temperature threshold is 400F on that griddle. I think you will be fine putting something like that over a campfire or wood fire, as long as you don't go crazy and try to heat it up to red hot temperatures. And let it cool fully before washing, to avoid warping.

    • JGo37
      JGo37 commented
      Editing a comment
      Twenty years ago I put racing fuel in an '83 Porsche 944, ~ 110 octane maybe? I noticed when I parked it the head was glowing red. I didn't do that again.

    #4
    There are some aluminum griddles for sale at the discount grocery store near me. I passed on them.

    Comment


    • JGo37
      JGo37 commented
      Editing a comment
      Pizza Stones were on sale at Schnuck's in STL for $ 10.00. I should have bought 3, not 1. ~ 20% larger than the Weber for $ 35.00.

    • Attjack
      Attjack commented
      Editing a comment
      Extra pizza stones never hurt. I got one of those curved pizza cutters that you rock from side to side at the same discount market recently. Seems well built. I sharpened it up. I guess that means I need to make pizza this week so I can try it out.

    #5
    I stumbled on a Facebook site 'Griddlemaster' (he has Youtube video's as well) and was thinking about buying a Blackstone at the time but decided to try a griddle on my gasser. I have a buddy that welds SS so had him make one for me. So far I love it! Here are a few pics from when I first got it and the first time bacon hit the griddle. Over time the griddle has become a nice consistent black seasoning. Click image for larger version

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    Comment


    • BigD
      BigD commented
      Editing a comment
      This is very nice. Did you weld a channel for grease to drain or does it just drain into the bottom of your grill??

    • Barry Friesen
      Barry Friesen commented
      Editing a comment
      There is no grease channel or drain hole. When I get an accumulation of grease i scrape it into the corner against the lip with my spatula and 'shovel it' into a bowl. like this;
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USqrU16O8cw

      I didn't want all that grease in my grill as it would add to the clean up and probably shorten the life of my grill.

    #6
    I’ve never had one, but I’d say the major downside to aluminum would be heat retention. Aluminum is very conductive.

    Comment


    • JGo37
      JGo37 commented
      Editing a comment
      I have aluminum potato nails that I use when baking them in a closed cover grill. The conductivity property works great for that.

    #7
    Paul Sidoriak made a post a while back (sorry, no link...also don’t know how to tag him [I feel so old right now 😂]) about his book "The Flippin’ Awesome Backyard Griddle Cookbook." I read the first bit (free sample on Kindle) and was inspired to do more griddle cooking. He/his book may have some recommendations about metal suggestions.

    Comment


    • MBMorgan
      MBMorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Here's a link to Paul's book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    • MBMorgan
      MBMorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      To "tag" someone (so they know they've been mentioned in a post) you need to know their Pit username. In Paul's case it's "allsid". To get his attention, just add an "@" to the front of his username (make sure there is at lease one space on each side) like this: allsid

    • allsid
      allsid commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the mention and link to the book MBMorgan !

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