Cooking while outdoors is an immersive experience: the sunny rays of the sun trickling down the atmosphere, the regal primacy of the blue sky above, the gentle swaying of the summer wind’s song, the dauntless heat rising against gravity, the raw sizzling symphony of food, iron, as well as flames combined.
At the forefront of it all–the audience of this immersive experience–is you: clad in an apron, sunglasses, tongs, and accompanied by an iced cold beverage.
But amidst all of these, what are you cooking on? What is the medium you are preparing your evening’s barbecue for?
Is it a plain campfire? A pan on a stove you manually installed? Or maybe that hefty reliable grill that has been you as a wedding gift?
What if we told you that there is another option amongst those? It is somewhat of a hybrid of a campfire, pan, and grill.
Well, if you are curious about what it is, then this article is for you. Because we are going to discuss what an outdoor griddle is and the best oil to cook your food with while utilizing this medium of cooking.
But what is an outdoor griddle?
For starters, an outdoor griddle is a cooking device pretty similar to a grill, but they are more preferred for outdoor use, as their name suggests.
Outdoor griddles are known for their flat, uncoated steel surface where its users cook food on–may it be everyday backyard barbecue staples, as well as sandwiches, pancakes, french toasts, and Mexican dishes like quesadillas and more!
It also features an elevated lip where oil and excess liquid from the cooked food are contained and eventually drained out. Moreover, an outdoor griddle is usually designed for cooking on flames or barbecues.
Because of its hybrid-like tendencies, as an almost combination of a pan and a grill, you can cook nearly anything on an outdoor griddle. Vegetables, meats, seafood, fruit, bread–the possibilities are almost endless when cooking on this mean machine!
That is why many people praise the outdoor griddle for its versatility when cooking many types of ingredients and food.
But what about the grill?
Of course, we cannot just talk about outdoor griddles without shedding light on its distant-but-that-distant cousin, the grill.
A grill is composed of iron rods with raised edges or ridges to set the record straight, allowing the flames to touch the food directly. Griddles are a flat, smooth surface–almost like a hot plate, but wider–where the food does not directly touch the heat source.
Due to its ridges, food cooked on the grill gives off that distinct “grill marks” one usually sees on a hot or a barbecued pork chop. On the other hand, food cooked on a griddle does not have those marks. However, dishes that are prepared on them are evenly cooked and colored.
One can say that the heat distribution in outdoor griddles is evenly spread out compared to that of a grill, where the position of the flames depends on the charcoal’s placement inside it. You could even control and regulate the temperature of your griddle instantly, unlike your grill.
But what about the best oil to use on an outdoor griddle?
After finally differentiating the two, let us now go back to what you came here for: what is the best oil to use on an outdoor griddle for cooking?
Well, there are many options to choose from. That is why we are listing it down for you so that you can weigh your choices carefully.
However, what is essential when selecting the cooking oil for your outdoor griddle is that it should not alter the flavor of the food you are cooking. It should also be able to hang on and not dissipate on your griddle’s hot surface to prevent your food from sticking on its surface.
With all of that out of the way, here are our recommendations for the best cooking oil to use on your outdoor griddle.
This can be an ideal choice due to its low smoke point (325℉), which means it does not evaporate quickly amidst the heat.
Olive oil is also ideal if you are looking for a healthier and somewhat guilt-free griddle dish. This is due to its monosaturated fats, which are healthy for the heart.
It is also known for its natural flavors that can complement, not a takeover, the flavors of the dish you are cooking,
Considered by some to be the go-to oil when it comes to seasoning a griddle’s surface, this type of oil has a lower smoke point of 225℉, as it can coat it with polymerized oil layer to prevent the food from sticking.
This oil, however, does not offer additional flavors to your food. But, as mentioned above, it is effective when it comes to fending off the rust on your outdoor griddle.
This oil usually contains 50% canola oil. It is cheaper and more versatile than the other options on this list.
Moreover, it has a high smoke point of 450℉.
It is considered the ideal go-to outdoor griddle cooking oil, as it doesn’t meddle with the flavor of the food being cooked, and it also has a high smoke point of 400℉.
This oil is also good for your heart because of its omega-3 fatty acids, which are notably healthier than the other oils here. It also aids in the lowering of cholesterol.
Best used in high-temperature cooking on a griddle because of its relatively high smoke point of 520℉.
Most of the time, despite its grassy and avocado flavor notes, this oil still offers a neutral taste to the food you’re cooking.
It is the same with vegetable oil resistance towards heat decomposition due to its 450℉ smoke point.
This oil usually works well with cast iron griddles.
But what about our call?
Well, because griddle cooking involves high heat temperatures, the best oil to use must be with a relatively high smoke point and a neutral flavor that won’t dominate the taste of the food.
It should also not break down quickly, causing your food to stick on the surface.
That is why, based on these criteria, we pick avocado oil as the best oil to use on an outdoor griddle for cooking. But because of its rare availability, we recommend canola oil as the next option, not just for its smoke point, but as well as the health benefits it brings!
Other griddle cooking oils not on this list also offer their distinct contributions to your cooking outdoors. So don’t be afraid to explore.