Here we go again. Last time, we looked at why I prefer burgers from a griddle to burgers from a grill. This time around, we will be discussing steaks.
So, what do you think is a better method of cooking steaks? On a grill or a griddle? And I mean the outdoor gas griddles such as the Blackstone griddles or Camp Chef flattop grills, not the griddles you place over your stovetop.
I know what you’re thinking. A grill is the only way to cook a steak, right? Well, it’s not that simple.
If you are looking for a quick answer and don’t care about the details, then here’s your answer:
Both methods work well and both have their pros and cons. It is important to not only think about the steaks but also the stuff you plan to serve them with. Steaks taste better on a grill if you want them to have a stronger smoky flavor. When you’re seeking a somewhat more delicate taste, steaks are best cooked on a griddle.
Let’s dive into the details!
Table of Contents
What’s the General Consensus?
I was discussing with my friends the best way to cook steaks when cooking outdoors. As you would probably expect, there were two schools of thought:
- those who swear by the grill
- and those who are just as adamant about the griddle
For me, it really depends on what I’m looking for in a steak and I have to say I like both grilled and griddled steaks.
Let’s have look at some of the pros and cons of both methods.
Steaks Cooked On a Grill
Grilling steaks is the traditional way to cook them and it definitely has its advantages. When you grill a steak, you get the awesome smoky flavor from the charcoal that you just don’t get with any other cooking method.
With gas grills, the flavor is perhaps not as intense, but it is still more intense than on a griddle.
Grilled steaks go well with all kinds of food, but in my opinion, they pair especially well with sauces that are just as intense in taste as the steak itself. Of course, you don’t want to drown out the taste of the steak itself.
There’s also something about the grill marks that just looks cool and makes the steak look more appetizing. Food is not only about the taste, but also about the visual appeal. When you are entertaining guests, grilled steaks definitely make for a more impressive presentation than griddled steaks.
Tip: If you would like the grill marks to form cool-looking diamonds, make sure to turn the steak by about 60 degrees once on both sides. Otherwise, you’ll end up with just parallel marks.
Pros of Grilling Steaks
- The grill imparts a nice smoky flavor to the steak – this is the number one reason why I love grilled steaks
- The grates create nice sear marks – sure, it is not much more than aesthetics, but who doesn’t love a nice-looking steak?
Cons of Grilling Steaks
- Lack of crispy crust – the brown seared crust will only form on the parts of the steak that touch the grill grates no matter how hot your grill is
- It is easier to overcook steaks on a grill when compared to a griddle
- The grill temperature can be hard to control (especially if you are using charcoal), which can lead to uneven cooking
Steaks Cooked On a Griddle
Cooking steaks on a griddle is similar to cooking them on a cast iron pan in that you get a nice Maillard reaction crust on the outside. That is because the whole surface of the steak is in contact with the hot griddle top. In fact, griddles are best for flat pieces of food such as chicken breasts, fish fillets, steaks, burgers, or sliced veggies.
When cooking steaks on a griddle, you should be heating the griddle to a pretty high temperature. This will ensure that you get a nice sear on the outside while the inside remains juicy. If you don’t heat the griddle up enough, your steak might start releasing the juices, which will make it taste more like a chewy steamed or boiled piece of meat. You wouldn’t want to ruin that deliciously juicy rib-eye, now would you?
Griddled steaks are a good choice if you are looking for a steak with a more delicate flavor that goes well with less “in-your-face” sauces, garnishes, or side dishes.
Also, because of the nature of the flattop, griddled steaks generally require less seasoning than steaks cooked over grates. This is caused by the fact that the juices and seasoning have nowhere to escape on a griddle, whereas on a grill it will partly drip down through the grates. Many griddle newbies make the mistake of over-seasoning their steaks, which can lead to an unpleasant taste.
Pros of Griddling Steaks
- You get a nice seared crust all over the steak – this is my favorite part about griddling steaks
- Steaks retain more juices when cooked on a griddle – the juices have nowhere to escape unlike on a grill where they will drip down through the grates
- It is easier to control the heat when cooking on a griddle, which makes it easier
Cons of Griddling Steaks
- The flavor is not as intense as with grilled steaks – if you are looking for a steak with a strong smoky flavor, a griddle is not the way to go
- No sear marks – griddled steaks look a bit sad when compared to grilled steaks
- Griddled steaks may be less healthy – this is because the rendered fat from the steak has nowhere to go resulting in a slightly greasier steak
So, there you have it. Those are the pros and cons of grilling vs griddling steaks.
It really depends on your preferences as to which method is the best.
Do you like the intense smoky flavor of grilled steaks or the more delicate flavor of griddled steaks? Do you prefer the aesthetics of sear marks or the crispy crust all over the steak?
Think about what you are looking for in a steak and choose the method that best suits your needs.
Or you can be like me and get both a grill and a griddle and enjoy the best of both worlds when you feel like it. Some grills, such as the Weber GBS grills, also have partly exchangeable grilling surfaces so you can get even more versatility out of your grill and save some money.
Anyway, I’m off to grill some steaks for dinner.
Happy griddling (or grilling)!
What is the Maillard reaction?
The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars. It is responsible for the formation of the brown crust on food when it is cooked. It is not only affecting steaks, but also bread, french fries, and other foods.
How do I prevent my steak from sticking to the griddle?
The best way to prevent your steak from sticking to the griddle is to make sure that the griddle is properly seasoned.
How do I prevent my steak from sticking to the grill grates?
You can prevent your steak from sticking to the grill grates by oiling them or using a non-stick spray. However, sticking is often the result of premature flipping. So make sure to wait until the steak is ready to be flipped before you do so.