How To Cook On A Griddle

Cooking on a griddle is ideal for large families or for making meals quickly. Here are a few tips and ideas on foods that can be cooked on a griddle.

Cooking on a griddle makes life so much easier. There's just one surface to clean - no pans, no scrubbing, no fuss. And you can cook so many things at once; an entire family's meal is ready- literally - in minutes. Whether it's breakfast, lunch or supper your family will be heartily awaiting your to-die-for cooking, and they'll never know that you really didn't do a thing. Griddles just naturally make food taste good, and ones that are Teflon-coated making cleaning a simple matter of wetting, wiping and putting away.

Pancakes have been a favorite griddle dish for many years, and since they're so easy, you can have them as often as you'd like. Simply mix up your batter and store it, covered in the refrigerator, and break it out whenever you get a yearning for griddle cakes. Before turning the griddle on, wipe cooking oil onto the surface with a dry paper towel or napkin. Preheat the griddle to 350 degrees. You can tell if the griddle is ready by letting a drop of water fall from a spoon onto the hot surface. If the liquid immediately bubbles and evaporates, the griddle is too hot. If the water does boil and evaporate in a minute or so, it's ready. If the griddle is not hot enough, the water will take several seconds before it appears to boil.

When the griddle is hot enough, pour the pancake batter onto the surface, spacing them side by side until they almost touch. You should be able to get eight good pancakes on the griddle or more if you like silver dollar-size ones. You'll know it's time to turn the pancakes over when you see that the top of the pancakes are bubbling. The bubbles will be swelling up and popping before it's time to turn. When turning, use a thin spatula and scoop it quickly. Thick, coated spatulas tend to scrunch the pancake up when you turn them. Let the second side cook for only a couple of minutes, and then slide the spatula under one to check for browning.

When cooking bacon with the pancakes, the bacon must be cooked first, the skillet wiped with paper towels, and then the pancakes put in place. They will still have the smokey taste from the bacon if you leave a thin coat of bacon drippings on the griddle before pouring the batter. As you're cooking bacon, use the spatula to slide the drippings over to the drip pan, which most griddles have. If you have one, use a bacon press to keep the bacon flat on the griddle.

Eggs are tricky on a griddle. Scrambled eggs or over-hard eggs go along pretty smoothly, but if you're expecting to keep the yoke intact, that's a tall order. Since most griddles have a ridge around them to keep foods from sliding off, you can slightly prop the griddle to lean towards one corner without losing the egg. Use enough grease to cook the egg but not enough to spill over the edge. Let the egg cook on one side, then use a smooth spatula to quickly slide under the egg and flip. If you don't have enough oil, the yoke will break nearly every time. Too much means a greasy mess all over the counters. A couple of tablespoons, directly in the corner, should be enough.

Sausage patties, sausage links and hot dogs cook at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, rolling them around every couple of minutes. To insure that the center is done, cover with a foil pie pan or foil piece while cooking for only 10 minutes. Thick meats like chops, hamburgers and steaks must be covered during the entire cooking process to insure doneness.



Griddle cooking usually does require oil or grease initially, but many foods can be placed on paper towels after cooking to lessen the amount of grease in the foods. Things like hash browns, ham slices or mushrooms will need a good amount of oil to keep them not only from sticking, but from browning too quickly around the edges and from tasting dry.

Hickory flavoring, available in a bottle from your grocer, can be poured onto the griddle, for extra taste. The flavoring will not keep the foods from sticking, so first coat the griddle with oil while it's cool and sprinkle on the flavoring, allowing the two to heat up together. Be sure the hickory flavoring is intended for food, not charcoal.

Make an entire supper on the griddle by first placing a piece of ham, steak, chop, or other meat onto a well greased surface. Cover thick meats with foil. Thin meats like ham should be placed on the griddle only a few minutes before the rest of the meal is finished. Wet un-shucked corn-on-the-cob by rinsing well and place it on the griddle. Make a foil "tent" to cover the corn, rather than wrapping the corn in foil.

Canned vegetables can be heated by simply placing the opened can on the griddle surface and stirring occasionally. Turn the cob every few minutes. It will take about 30 minutes for the corn to be completely cooked. Foods like squash can be sliced and put in a thin coating of oil for a few minutes, then flipped. No covering is needed. Fruits like pineapple need only a minute or so on each side but should never be placed directly in oil or grease. Wipe a spot with paper towels, and then toss on the pineapple rings.

Even pizza can be made on a griddle. Shape the crust in a rectangle and place on an oiled, slightly warm surface. Make four stops for the crust by folding foil into strips and placing one strip on each side of the dough. Or lay foil on the griddle, and then place crust and toppings. Spread your toppings on and cook at 325 degrees, covered with a tent, for about 15 minutes. Remove the tent and check to see if the top is bubbly. If not, lower heat and cook 5 more minutes covered.

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