Griddle Cooking on the Grill

Eggs, pancakes, and more on a charcoal or gas grill

griddle cooking
Photography by Sarah N. Sonenberg / Getty Images

A griddle accessory for your grill opens up the possibility of grilling eggs, pancakes, omelets and anything else you can cook in a frying pan. With this handy tool, you can turn your grill into a stove top that gives you almost unlimited versatility. First, you need to find the griddle that is right for you and your grill. Then you need to learn a few basics to make griddle cooking easy and fun. Basically, a griddle is just a sheet of metal, whether it is stainless steel, cast iron, or enameled metal.

Griddle Size

The right griddle for you needs to give you the space you want both in griddle space as well as the grill space. You can get a griddle that covers the entire grill area or a smaller griddle that leaves you with room to grill as well. If you have a small grill you'll probably want a full-size griddle but if you have a large grill surface you might want to leave some space for grilling while you have the griddle on the grill. You can generally find griddles in many different shapes and sizes. Have a kettle-style charcoal grill? There are round griddles to fit it.

Charcoal Griddles

On a charcoal grill, you need to make sure that the griddle you get allows for sufficient air flow. It should not fit the grill surface too closely or the fire will be starved of oxygen due to low airflow. Otherwise, you can use a griddle on a charcoal grill as easily as you would a gas grill.

One thing to think about however are using hot and cool zones.

Do you want to have a very hot section of your griddle and a medium warm section? If so you will need to bank more coals on one side of your charcoal grill than the other. With a multi-burner gas grill you can have one burner on high and the other on medium to create these different cooking zones.

Griddle Secrets

Outdoor cooking on a griddle is very easy.

Having the different cooking zones is a good idea so that you can more foods around as they get cooked. You will also want to make sure that you have some kind of oil or butter handy. Unless you are using a nonstick griddle you need to cook with oil, cooking spray or butter to keep foods from sticking. Be warned when using cooking sprays near an open flame. Cooking sprays can be very flammable and so either avoid them all together or make sure you are extremely careful.

Griddle Safety

It is a good idea to have an oven mitt or similar item available when grilling with a griddle. They tend to move around on you and you might need to quickly get them back in place. A well-sized spatula is also a must.

You should also be prepared to deal with excess grease when using a griddle. If, for instance, you cook up a lot of bacon you need to make sure that bacon grease has someplace to go. Grease falling into the open flame of a grill is not a good thing. Grease fires and flare-ups can be a big hazard so make sure you don't end up with an excess of grease on your griddle. Either keep it drained away or plan on foods that soak up grease.

If you do have a grease fire on a gas grill, turn off the gas at the source, leave the lid up, safely evacuate whatever food you can, and let it burn itself out.

Never pour water on a grease fire. With a charcoal grill, close the vents and close the lid on the grill until it has cooled and the fire has completely died. This will take about 20 minutes.