Griddles are used to prepare food around the world, and they enjoy a long history in the culinary arts. The trick to preparing tasty, attractive food on a griddle is proper cleaning. If you know how to clean your griddle, you can be sure it will last much longer and prepare delicious food every time.
The griddle must be cleaned constantly while in use to remove burned food and make complete cleaning easier. Use a spatula or a special scraper made for use on a griddle to scrape away stuck-on and burned food as you cook. Use a clean cloth saturated with vegetable shortening or oil to wipe the griddle surface while cooking. This will prevent the excess buildup of food, and contribute to better tasting food.
Cleaning After Use
Clean the griddle immediately after every use to loosen remaining food particles. Pour about 1/8 cup of warm water onto the surface, wait for it to sizzle, then scrape the griddle with a spatula or scraper. Be careful not to splatter the water onto your skin, as it will be very hot and may cause burns. Do not allow water to dry on the surface, as this may warrant re-seasoning. Allow the griddle to cool somewhat after scraping it with water. It should remain warm, but not too hot to touch. Wipe the griddle surface with a clean, dry cloth after it has cooled. Store as normal, or perform a complete cleaning as necessary.
Perform a complete griddle cleaning after every five to ten uses. If you use your griddle regularly, it should be thoroughly cleaned once per week. Scrub the cooking surface with a pumice stone or griddle screen until it is completely clean. If neither of these is available, use a crumpled piece of aluminum foil to scrub the griddle. If stronger cleaning is needed, add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil to the surface and scrub. Move the stone or screen in one direction only, as this will create a grain and make cleaning easier next time.
Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the griddle after scrubbing. Rinse with a mixture of one part lemon juice to two parts water. Lemon juice will effectively cut any lingering grease, and will leave your griddle sparkling clean. Wipe again with a clean cloth, then re-season the griddle before using.
Season a newly-cleaned or new griddle for the best results. Seasoning consists of building up layers of oil or fat until a slick, non-stick surface is achieved. To season, heat the griddle to approximately 325 degrees F, then apply a small amount of oil or shortening--1 or 2 tbsp. is sufficient. Spread the fat with a clean cloth to ensure even distribution, and wait for the griddle to absorb the oil, about two minutes. Repeat this process three to four times, or until a slick, firm layer is created. The griddle is now ready for use until its next complete cleaning, when it should be seasoned again.
Never put cold water or ice onto the griddle surface while it's hot. This may cause warping. Instead, use warm water for cleaning and scraping. Never use abrasive or powdered cleaners, or any substance that might be harmful to food on the griddle surface. You can never be too safe when it comes to food preparation. Use hot soapy water and a clean sponge to clean the outside panels and controls of the griddle, as necessary.