You probably have one sitting in a closet somewhere and drag it out whenever the family wants pancakes. But a griddle is one of the most versatile pieces of kitchen equipment, and it should take its place of importance along with your Crock Pot or blender. Don’t worry about cranking up your barbecue on cold winter days or standing outside in the rain on steamy hot summer afternoons. Cooking steaks on a griddle is a comfortable and easy-to-manage alternative that’s a no-brainer for turning out succulent steaks.
Types of Griddles
Upscale griddles made by top-of-the-line manufacturers are designed for the stovetop and are controlled by the heating element from the stove. Made of cast iron, they’re sized for one burner and have a long handle for easy control. Some are flat, while others are ribbed to create the effect of a grill. The grooves are also used to drain the fat from meat as it cooks.
An electric griddle sitting on a countertop is ideal for cooking meat. It’s one of the best ways to cook steak using a flattop as the temperature is moderated by a controlled setting. You know how hot the grill top is before using it. The heating coils run through the bottom of the griddle, dispersing heat almost evenly through to the top.
Preparing the Steak
If you’re a steak connoisseur, you’ll have chosen your steaks for their marbling, thickness and cut. Rib-eyes, New York strips and top sirloins are perfect candidates for cooking on a griddle. Be sure your steak is at room temperature. Pat it with a paper towel; then salt it with kosher or fine sea salt just before cooking.
Don’t salt too early as the salt draws the juices to the surface. You want your steak to sizzle, not steam. Leave the pepper and garlic for later as they burn, affecting the taste of the steak. All you need at this point is the steak, the griddle and salt.
If you’re cooking more than one steak, space them out on the griddle, giving each the room it needs for a perfect finish.
An electric, cast-iron griddle has a temperature knob. Set it for 400 degrees Fahrenheit and wait until the light on the knob turns green and tells you it’s “good to go.” There’s no need to oil or grease the griddle. The meat has its own fat. A drop of water sizzling on a stovetop griddle tells you it’s heated sufficiently.
Cooking Steaks on the Griddle
Put the steaks on the griddle and listen to them, but don’t touch them. The cast iron gives them a good sear, and you’ll know when they’re ready to be turned over when they release easily from the cooktop. Don’t pull on the steak. Just let the griddle and the steak do their own dance.
Use tongs to turn over the steaks. Never use a fork as it’ll pierce the meat, letting the juices run out and causing the steak to be dry and much less tender than it could have been.
Cook the steaks for 2‒3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the flip side for a medium steak. The high heat penetrates quickly, cooking the steak. Use a digital thermometer to test the meat. When it reaches 160F, the steak has reached medium doneness.
Resting the Steak
With the heady aroma of a freshly griddled steak swirling through the kitchen, it’s difficult not to dive in right away. But the cooking isn’t done yet. Remove the steak from the griddle and put it on a cutting board with gutters running along the edges. Cover it with foil and let it sit for 5‒10 minutes.
As the steak sits, the juices settle down inside the steak. Cutting it too soon releases them onto the board and not into your mouth. Be patient. Just before serving, scatter sea salt crystals or other seasonings over the steak, slice and get ready for an incredibly satisfying meal of steak on a griddle.
My seventh grade English teacher didn't realize what she was unleashing when she called me her "writer," but the word crept into my brain. I DID become a writer. Of advertising copy, dialogue and long-term story for several network soap operas, magazine articles and high-calorie contents for the cookbook: Cooking: It AIn't Rocket Science, a bestseller on Amazon! When I'm not writing, I'm cooking!