The number of pieces of equipment available to commercial kitchens is always growing. Ovens, ranges, fryers, griddles, holding cabinet, microwaves, and more, foods can be prepared with a plethora of different kinds of equipment. Think about a piece of chicken. It can be baked, pan-seared, deep-fried, or grilled just to name a few. With so many options for one food, which pieces of equipment are best for your kitchen? Let’s break it down and compare – today, we will review the charbroiler vs. the griddle. 

Charbroiler 

Charbroilers use dry heat to cook, reheat and brown foods. Think of a charbroiler as a firebox with a grate over the flame to cook foods. These devices are used primarily for meats, including fish, hamburgers, chicken, and steaks, but can be useful in finishing off dishes and reheating entrees.  

Restaurant Charbroilers operate at high temperatures (usually 550 degrees Fahrenheit and up) with burners that are spaced at regular intervals for even cooking. Burners are usually spaced 12” to 15” apart with high-end units featuring burners with less space to allow for more concentrated cooking and more control in the cooking process. 

Some key features include: 

  • Open-flame taste in a convenient low profile, countertop design 
  • Top grate adds appealing sear marks to foods 
  • Gives food a smoky, flame-cooked taste 
  • Some models feature tilting grates, which allow for grease to run down the grate instead of dropping into the heat source 

Griddles 

Commercial griddles are an invaluable piece of restaurant equipment. They work by burners or elements located below or embedded into the griddle plate heating the griddle plate to then cook foods. Griddles cook a wide variety of foods from pancakes and bacon to hamburgers and chicken by transferring heat from a metal plate directly into the food product. 

The thickness of the griddle plate is important, as it affects the cooking process, determining how quickly the desired temperature is reached and the overall product lifetime. A thin griddle plate heats quickly with less energy but may distribute heat less evenly and may warp at high temperatures. Thick griddle plates retain heat longer, distribute heat more evenly, and are less likely to warp, however, they have a slower response time to changes in set temperatures and require more energy to bring up to desired temperatures. 

 

Griddle Plate Type 

Advantages 

Disadvantages 

Thin Plates 
(3⁄8″ to ¾”) 

  • Quick heat transfer 
  • Come up to temperature fast 
  • Faster heat recovery 
  • Require less energy to achieve set temperature 
  • May warp if preheated at high temperatures 
  • Distribute heat less evenly 

Thick Plates 
(1″ to 1½”) 

  • Retain heat longer 
  • Distribute heat more evenly 
  • Less likely to warp 
  • Slower response time to changes in set temperatures 
  • Requires more energy to bring up to desired temperature 

Some key features include: 

  • Creating desirable effects on food, including golden-brown color and crispy crusts 
  • Individual heating controls allow you to cook a variety of foods at once 
  • Side and backsplashes contain grease splatter 

Final Thoughts 

Depending on what is being prepared in your commercial kitchen, a charbroiler, griddle, or both may be needed. Knowing the differences between the equipment allows operators to set themselves up for success from the beginning. Central offers every kind of charbroiler and griddle in a variety of sizes and styles. Find the best model for your commercial kitchen with the help of Central!