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Gas Grills Vs Outdoor Griddles

If you’re looking for a new gas-powered grill, chances are you’ve probably come across both gas grills and gas-powered outdoor griddles. If you want to make the most informed purchasing decision, you need to know the differences between these two pieces of outdoor cooking equipment. Gas grills are simple to …

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By Jeremy Pike

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Gas Grills vs Outdoor Griddles
Mikes Broil King Regal S590 Pro and Jeremy’s Camp Chef 600 Flat Top

If you’re looking for a new gas-powered grill, chances are you’ve probably come across both gas grills and gas-powered outdoor griddles. If you want to make the most informed purchasing decision, you need to know the differences between these two pieces of outdoor cooking equipment. Gas grills are simple to use and are perfect for quick grilling sessions. Outdoor griddles offer unmatched versatility that allow you to cook just about every meal on one piece of equipment.

Gas grills have been incredibly popular, first launching in the 1960s before skyrocketing to backyard mainstays with Weber debuting the iconic Genesis line in the 1980s. These grills are perfect for firing up in the middle of the week or on the weekends to grill up burgers, hot dogs, or anything else you want to get those grill marks on.

Griddles, made popular by Blackstone and since made by companies like Traeger, Weber, and Camp Chef (check out our review of the Camp Chef Flat Top 600,) take the flat top grill concept of diners and make a backyard version for home use. You can cook up pancakes and bacon for breakfast, make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and smash burgers for dinner on the same piece of equipment.

For a more in-depth look at what an outdoor griddle is, check out our guide to outdoor griddles.

So which is best for you? That depends on what you want to cook outside. Let’s take a look at the differences to help you decide.

What Are The Differences Between Gas Grills And Griddles?

The biggest difference between a gas grill and a griddle is the cooking surface. Gas grills use grill grates, whether they’re cast iron, stainless steel, or porcelain-enameled. Griddles have a solid surface that can be made from cold-rolled steel, cast iron, or similar materials.

The difference in cooking surface makes a big difference in what you can cook and how you cook it. The grill grates of a gas grill are iconic and perfect for getting those beautiful grill marks on burgers or steaks. However, the gaps between grates have been known to lead to flare-ups from drippings onto the open flames as well as the loss of small pieces of food.

Griddles do not have to worry about flare-ups or food being lost to the flames. This allows you to cook a wider variety of foods without having to use any extra cooking implements. Do you want to make fajitas outside? You can cook up your steak or chicken on the same surface as the sliced peppers and onions without worrying you’re going to lose any of your food.

Gas grills are perfect for quick cooking over high heat. The grill preheats quickly and cools down quickly. Due to griddles needing to heat a large sheet of metal in order to cook, there are better options for high-temp cooking due to the length of time to heat up and the likelihood of burning.

However, griddles are perfect for cooking more delicate foods like vegetables, eggs, and pancakes thanks to the cooking surface’s ability to heat evenly even at lower temperatures. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t sear steaks or smash burgers on a griddle. You just need to make sure you’re handling the level of heat properly so you only sear, not turn the surface of the meat into carbon.

The difference between the cooking surfaces also creates another major difference, and that’s the care and cleaning of the equipment.

Maintenance And Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning gas grills, most people usually use a grill brush. You’ll want to choose your grill brush based on the type of grate material your grill has. Check out our list of the best grill brushes for more information. You also want to routinely clean the buildup from drippings so you don’t risk a grease fire. 

When it comes to cleaning an outdoor griddle, there is a lot more involved. You need to have a scraping tool to get any buildup off the cooking surface. You’ll want some warm water in case there is particularly stubborn food debris. 

If you uncover your griddle to find that there’s rust, don’t panic. You can remove the rust and re-season the cooking surface, but it will take some extra time and effort. You can read all about taking care of the rust on griddles (also known as flat top grills) as well as all other cleaning and maintenance issues in our griddle cleaning guide.

Is An Outdoor Griddle Better Than A Gas Grill?

The real answer is it depends on what you want to do.

  1. If you want a simple grill to cook burgers, hot dogs, and other meats fast, a gas grill is perfect for you.
  2. If you want a piece of outdoor cooking equipment that gives you unprecedented versatility, allowing you to cook every meal on it, you want an outdoor griddle.

FAQs:

Question: Can I Get The Versatility Of An Outdoor Griddle On A Gas Grill?

Answer: You absolutely can. You can purchase a cast iron griddle that you can lay on the grill grates to cook on. Weber made this even easier starting in 2022 when they redesigned the Genesis series and launched the CRAFTED Outdoor Kitchen line of grates and accessories, including a griddle insert. However, you can do this on any gas grill with a good-quality cast iron griddle.

Question: Does Food Taste Better On A Grill Or Griddle?

Answer: It depends on your preferences. If you like food to have a flame-grilled taste, you’ll prefer grilled food. You can even add wood smoke on a gas grill

You won’t be able to match that on most griddles, though recteq did launch a wood pellet-fuelled pellet grill in 2023. That doesn’t mean you can’t make flavorful food on an outdoor griddle. You can season to your heart’s content. You also get a better sear which helps add more flavor.

Question: Is It Better To Cook Steaks On A Grill Or Griddle?

Answer: Speaking of searing, whether it’s better to grill your steaks or cook them on a griddle depends on your preferences. You won’t get the same grill marks on a griddle, but you will get a much more even sear on a griddle. 

Wrapping It Up

Both gas grills and outdoor griddles have their advantages and disadvantages. If you want to cook a quick, easy meal like burgers or hot dogs, a gas grill will take care of you every single time. If you’re looking for something versatile that you can cook dinner on during the week but make breakfast on the weekends, an outdoor griddle is a perfect addition to your backyard.

If space and money are no concern, I would happily recommend having both. However, if you can’t make that happen but you want the best of both worlds, look into getting a good cast iron griddle to use on your gas grill. While you won’t have the same cooking space as a dedicated outdoor griddle, you can still get the same functionality.

Do you have a preference between a gas grill and an outdoor griddle? Got a personal favorite griddle? Let us know in the comments!

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