Electric vs Gas Griddles: Which is Best for Your Commercial Kitchen?
You’ve finally got enough cash to invest in that new commercial griddle for your kitchen.
You can almost smell the wondrous aromas that fill your commercial kitchen. The scent of meats, sauces, and spices fills the air. The clinking and clanking of cookware, dishes, and utensils sound like a symphony to your ears. You place your hand on your new griddle’s control knob.
But will you choose an electric or a gas griddle? Find out the pros and cons of both.
Does that knob control a gas or an electric burner? That depends on your commercial kitchen’s needs. This should be an easier decision, shouldn’t it?
What Makes It a Griddle?
A griddle has burners located under or embedded in the griddle plate. They usually have a large cooking space. Unlike grills, which have a grated cooking surface, griddles cook with more flavor. The flat surface locks in flavorful juices instead of letting them drip down. Griddles also do a better job of heating the cooking surface evenly.
Griddles often have more than one temperature control. Like a grill, there’s usually a left, right, and middle. The operator can cook many servings of food. They can also cook foods of different types.
A line cook can prepare bacon, eggs, and potatoes on the flat grill. The clock on the wall strikes 11 a.m. and the kitchen has switched from breakfast to lunch.
Without leaving his station, he’s able to drop frozen sausages, fresh ground beef, and chicken breasts onto the griddle. He doesn’t have to worry about any of the foods hitting the wrong temperature.
When you pick a griddle for your commercial kitchen, you’ll want to think about space. You’ll need a griddle that can fit all the servings you need on its surface.
The controls should be as accurate as possible. More heat sources help you make sure that everything heats fully. Cost is likely also a factor.
Why Go with a Gas Griddle?
Gas griddle burners sit below the griddle plate. The burners heat up fast and quickly warm the cooking surface. Gas griddles often fire up faster and cool down quicker than electric griddles.
Gas griddles are sometimes less accurate for heating the surface evenly. This may be the case if there is a breeze from your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
Gas usually edges out electricity for searing. They can get hot! H-formation burners let you get up to 60,000 BTUs on as small as a 36” griddle.
Gas griddles need a professional installer, likely a person from the gas company. Planning that installation can often be more troublesome than you’d hope. The surly, unshaven utility tech often runs hours (or days) late wearing his sloppy, ill-fitting gray uniform, less than eager to do the job.
Gas griddles aren’t portable. They’re going to be a regular fixture in your kitchen. You can choose between propane and natural gas, depending on what’s available in your area.
A countertop gas griddle takes up a lot of kitchen space. And it’s no more portable than others. It will need the same installation professional.
You'll likely use your commercial kitchen’s gas griddle most of the day. The gas griddle gets hot faster. It adjusts temperature quicker.
So it may seem like a given to go with gas. But a commercial gas griddle will need an exhaust fan above it. You can’t get around proper ventilation with heavy use. And you’ll have to pay a professional to install that too.
Why Pick an Electric Griddle?
Electric griddles have a heating element embedded into the griddle plate. They often don’t heat as fast as gas. And they don’t get quite as hot. And the temperatures don’t change as quickly. But they do allow for more precision. An electric griddle is perfect when there's no gas or where it would be costly to install ventilation.
Electric griddles often heat more evenly. They don’t have flames that dance around due to air movement. So, the cooking surface maintains the temperature.
Electric griddles are also far more energy-efficient than gas grills. Gas usage will shoot past the cost of the added electricity. And the initial cost of a gas griddle is higher than an electric one. The gas appliance costs more.
Electric griddles often don’t need professional installation. They don’t need gas piping. Large commercial electric griddles still need exhaust fans for ventilation. But the systems likely cost less than their gas griddle equivalents.
Besides choosing gas or electric, you’ll have to choose the griddle style. Countertop griddles sit on an equipment stand and allow you to move them around when needed.
Drop-in griddles (often electric) are available for kitchens with less counter space. You can disconnect them and store them away. You can also put them into a cutout section on a countertop. This creates a flat cooking surface flush with the counter.
Teppanyaki griddles work great for hibachi-style cooking. Their heating elements are only located in the center of the unit. This lets you move food from the hot center to the lower temperature edges until it’s ready to serve.
Plate Material. Most plates are made of durable steel. Chrome-top griddles are easier to clean. They're also easier to use to cook delicate items like eggs and pancakes. They need fewer BTUs to operate. They have faster heat up and recovery times. This results in a cooler kitchen.
Plate Thickness. Thin plates work well for breakfast kitchens. But frozen items, meats, and lunch products benefit from thicker plates. Plates are available as:
- Standard duty: 1/2" thickness
- Medium duty: 3/4" thickness
- Heavy duty: 1" thickness
Thicker plates store more heat and BTUs. So, they’re less affected by frozen patties. If you’re going to make breakfast and lunch, you might watch two separate griddles.
Thermostats let you set a temperate. This is perfect for delicate menu items like breakfast foods. Thermostats are also good for using the griddle to hold pans of food.
Manual controls have no temperature settings. This is fine and works well for cooking items like burgers, bacon, and cheesesteaks.
Griddles come in a wide range of sizes. They’re often between 12” to 72” wide. Remember that wherever you place your griddle, you’ll need a hood with an extra 12 inches of width above it. A wide griddle with two separate cooking zones is helpful in kitchens that cook a variety of menu items.
Now you know all the options. You’re totally prepared to make this decision, aren’t you?
Pick the Best Griddle for Your Kitchen
You have a lot to think about. The most convenient griddles are electric and that you can store away. But if you’re looking for the hottest surface available, you’ll need to go gas. A gas griddle can cost you more money. But it also may offer you the flexibility to prepare sumptuous, delicious courses.
Not sure what new gas griddle to buy? Find your options on GoFoodservice.com. You can find out how to cook for anyone with an appetite. For your next purchase, check out buying guides that please any restaurateur, chef, or cook!