Cooking on a griddle grill can easily give you a delicious, all-over sear on all types of meats and other foods. But, to be able to do that, the grill needs to be seasoned properly first. And, if you are one of the growing number of outdoor cookers who recently got a new griddle grill, one of the first questions you may be asking yourself is how to season a griddle grill properly.
We’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ve broken down exactly what seasoning is and why it is so important, as well as step-by-step how to season your griddle grill to ensure the successful results you are aiming for.
“Seasoning” refers to the process of using oil (or specially designed coatings) to create a black, non-stick, and protective layer on the cooking surface. This is what helps a griddle surface stand the test of time.
Since the cooking surface of griddle grills is often made of uncoated steel, they are susceptible to rust if not protected. But, the oil used to season them gets into the microscopic pores in the metal and bonds to it, forming a protective, blackened, and stick-free surface. So, seasoning your grill helps make cooking easier and helps add even more flavor to the food being cooked, while also preventing rust or scratches on the griddle’s surface.
There are some manufacturers that offer griddle grills that are pre-seasoned right out of the box, while most others require that you season them before cooking for the first time.
So, now that you know exactly why seasoning your grill is so important, it is time to dive into the process. First, it is important to make sure you have everything you’ll need ready to go. The items you’ll need to have on hand include:
Source: The Spruce
You’ve got your new griddle grill now and you’re ready to start cooking some awesome food. But before you do that, and even before you start seasoning it, it’s important to clean it with soap. In many cases, there will be some dust and/or debris from manufacturing and shipping, which is totally normal. But you definitely don’t want that stuff in your food.
All you need to do is add a little dish soap to your bucket of clean water and gently pour the soapy water on the griddle. Do not scrub the surface of the griddle, though! Then just thoroughly rinse with clean water.
Once your griddle is sparkling clean, it's time to preheat it to start to blacken it up. This is the start of creating the perfect stick-resistant cooking surface.
Turn up the burners to the maximum setting and step back and let the heat do its job. The griddle top will begin to turn slightly brown after about 10-15 minutes. Once the color has changed on the griddle’s surface, turn the burners off and you're ready to start with the oil.
As mentioned above, seasoning a griddle creates a natural, stick-resistant, and extremely durable surface. When oil is applied to the surface and then heated up, the organic compounds within the oil are burned off, leaving a polymer that bonds to the surface of the griddle.
So, after preheating your griddle grill, it’s time to start applying oil. The most important thing to remember is to only apply a very thin layer of oil each time. When you put a thick coat of oil on during the seasoning process, it will lead to a buildup of gunk on your griddle’s surface and can even cause chipping down the road.
There are a variety of oils you can choose from to use, including:
With tongs or heat-resistant gloves, use a paper towel to evenly and lightly spread the oil on the hot surface. Make sure there aren't any dry spots or thick puddles of oil. Your oil layer should be as thin as if you were using the paper towel to wipe all of the oil off of the griddle surface.
One popular product that works well in place of traditional oil is the Blackstone Griddle Seasoning & Cast Iron Conditioner. This proprietary blend can give you a good initial seasoning and provides excellent surface protection between cooking sessions.
Once you’ve got your first layer of oil on the surface, crank the heat back up and just let the griddle plate blacken. It will billow smoke when it reaches the “smoke point”, which takes about 30 minutes. So just sit back and keep an eye on the smoke. You can turn off the griddle when all of the smoke is gone.
To achieve the best level of protection and create a sufficiently non-stick and flavorful surface, you have to repeat the oil application several times. So don’t rush the process, and make sure to do it properly.
You’ll repeat steps #3 and #4 (above) two to three times. The griddle surface is adequately seasoned when it is dark brown.
Once several rounds of initial seasoning are done, let your griddle cool slightly and very lightly wipe it down with a final layer of oil (or Blackstone Griddle Conditioner). But, you will not burn off this layer. This final step helps keep the griddle adequately protected against oxidation.
Now you’re done and you’ve got a perfectly seasoned griddle grill! Make sure to use a heavy-duty grill cover when you are not using your griddle grill. This will protect it from inclement weather, tree droppings, etc., and help further prevent it from rusting.
The steps we covered above are general steps you can follow to season a griddle grill. But, it is important to look at the manual that came with your specific griddle grill, which will provide the exact manufacturer’s instructions for getting started. Depending on the grill, some steps may vary slightly from what we covered above.
After you’ve spent time properly seasoning your griddle grill, the last thing you want to do is make it disappear when you are cleaning your grill after your first cooking session.
Source: The Spruce
So, there are a couple of things in mind to keep your seasoning layer protected. When you are done cooking, use a spatula to gently scrape any remaining bits of food or oil into the trash or your griddle’s grease trap. Then, just use water to wipe down the surface. You don’t want to wash the griddle surface with soap because it will wash away your hard-earned seasoning.
Simply cooking on your griddle will continue to add to the seasoning layer. If you’ve had to scrape quite a bit of food or oil off the surface after cooking, once you’ve wiped the surface down with water you can apply another light layer of oil to ensure the surface is still properly protected. Again, you do not have to burn this layer off. Now just properly store your griddle away and you’re all set.
As you can see, properly seasoning a griddle grill isn’t rocket science. But it is an extremely important step in ensuring you get the best cooking results while also keeping your grill surface protected. By following the steps we covered above, you can be confident that you have seasoned your griddle properly and are ready to get cooking.
Have you learned any other seasoning secrets you want to share? Plan on cooking on your griddle grill for the first time today? Leave a comment below and tell us all about it!
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*Feature image from Blackstone Grills.