Cook Like a Pro with Built-In Griddles for Outdoor Kitchens
Outdoor cooking often conjures up images of grilling burgers or kebabs over an open flame. But for those who want to take their alfresco culinary skills to the next level, built-in griddles offer an exciting new world of possibilities.
Integrating a powerful griddle station into an outdoor kitchen setup allows home chefs to effortlessly cook restaurant-worthy meals outside. Read on to learn all about the features, benefits, and uses of built-in griddles for transforming outdoor cooking.
Built-In Griddles Provide the Ideal Outdoor Cooking Surface
Unlike standalone electric or propane griddles, built-in griddles are designed to be permanently installed into an outdoor kitchen countertop or island. This provides a seamless, dedicated cooking zone purpose-built for the outdoors.
Constructed of heavy-gauge stainless steel or cast iron, built-in griddles offer an expansive and continuous cooking surface—some ranging up to 72” wide. This ample room to cook enables preparing full breakfasts or flipping a dozen burgers at a time, no problem.
Benefits That Set Built-In Griddles Apart
Having a built-in griddle as part of an outdoor cooking arsenal provides unique advantages over portable griddle options.
For starters, the powerful burners on a built-in griddle generate far more BTUs than a portable propane tank can provide. This allows the griddle to reach searing temps of up to 700°F for professional-grade results.
The integrated design also lends itself better to safely operating the griddle for long periods without refilling fuel tanks. Dedicated propane lines or natural gas hookups are easy fuel solutions.
Built-in griddles engineered for outdoor use hold up better over time than standalone models. Their durable materials resist weather damage while providing excellent heat conduction and retention.
And since they are permanently installed in the outdoor kitchen, built-in griddles allow for better organization of the cooking space. Side shelves offer room for platters and prep work.
Key Features to Look For
When evaluating built-in griddles, keep an eye out for features that enhance functionality.
Multiple independently controlled burners allow creating distinct heat zones across the griddle surface. This accommodates cooking items at different temperatures.
A well-designed grease management system makes cleaning easier by neatly channeling away excess grease. Look also for integrated grease catchers.
Helpful extras like non-stick finishes, splash guards, a griddle cover, and a built-in thermometer gauge all lend to a better cooking experience.
Installing Your Built-In Griddle
One of the first considerations when purchasing a built-in griddle is selecting between gas fuel sources. Propane and natural gas each have pros and cons to weigh.
Propane offers more flexibility for installation as tanks can go anywhere, while natural gas requires routing lines. But for high-performance griddles used heavily, natural gas provides an endless fuel source.
Next, take careful measurements of the intended installation location to determine the ideal griddle size. Leave room for counter space on both sides of the unit.
When ready to install, it’s highly advisable to hire professional technicians to handle the gas and mounting requirements. Permits are often required for gas line work.
Safety should be the number one priority during installation. Only use griddles certified for outdoor use with proper ventilation
Tips for Choosing the Right Size
Consider how many people you routinely cook for to gauge the appropriate griddle width.
24-36 inch sizes work well for everyday family meals. Larger 48-60 inch griddles accommodate bigger gatherings and parties.
Make sure the griddle doesn’t span the entire counter space—leaving room to work is essential. Measure carefully before installing.
Fire Up the Flavor Outside
One of the best aspects of cooking on a built-in griddle is the wide range of cuisine that these versatile appliances can produce.
From pancakes and eggs to smash burgers and fajitas, griddling is a quick and healthy cooking technique. The flat surface also opens up options like cooking pizzas and sautéing vegetables.
For best results, keep the griddle surface lightly oiled and preheated before cooking. Use metal spatulas and scraping tools to keep the griddle clean.
The ability to create multiple heat zones across the griddle surface provides flexibility. Cook items like chicken breasts on a cooler area while searing steaks over a hotter zone.
Tips for Griddle Care
To maintain the performance and longevity of your built-in griddle, follow these tips:
- Allow to fully cool before cleaning
- Use a plastic or wood scraper to remove any stuck-on bits
- Clean with hot water, mild soap if needed
- Avoid abrasive cleaning products
- Apply a thin coat of oil before storing
- Keep covered when not in use
Entertain and Dine Alfresco
Outdoor kitchens equipped with built-in griddles unlock new possibilities for entertainment and everyday family meals.
From grilling veggies and proteins on the same appliance to preparing a full pancake breakfast outside—built-in griddles allow cooking entire meals in the fresh air.
This frees up the indoor kitchen during get-togethers. Guests will enjoy gathering around the outdoor griddle action.
Cleaning up is also easier after outdoor cooking. Simply wiping down the sealed griddle surface prevents tracking mess into the house.
Consider adding a built-in griddle the next time you design or remodel an outdoor cooking space. Having this professional-grade amenity steps up what’s possible for alfresco dining at home.
Built-in griddles let home chefs achieve restaurant-style results right from their outdoor kitchen. With simple installation into an existing or new outdoor cooking setup, they provide a large and durable cooking surface perfect for everyday meals or entertaining.
From searing steaks and burgers to preparing Sunday pancake breakfasts outside, built-in griddles are a worthy investment that takes outdoor cooking and fun to new heights.