Planchas (Grill Griddles)

Published July 1, 2013. From Cook's Illustrated.

Overview:

Popular in Spanish cooking, a plancha is a flat griddle that fits on top of gas or charcoal grill grates. Its surface puts a good sear on meat, chicken, or fish and also prevents smaller foods from falling through the grates. We wanted enough cooking space for four steaks and to be able to sauté thinly sliced onions and peppers without their spilling over the edge. We cooked steaks, scallops, vegetables, and bacon on three models priced from about $40 to $90. One model was cramped with four steaks; another was fussy, since its cast-iron surface needed frequent upkeep. We challenged the planchas’ ability to prevent grease-ignited flames by cooking a pound of bacon on each one. The winner uses a slightly sloped surface to direct the fat away from the food, out through a small hole in its lower side, and down the inside of the grill, bypassing the coals or heating element. Plus, its square, roomy cast-iron surface is enameled, which made cleanup a breeze.

Popular in Spanish cooking, a plancha is a flat griddle that fits on top of gas or charcoal grill grates. Its surface puts a good sear on meat, chicken, or fish and also prevents smaller foods from falling through the grates. We wanted enough cooking space for four steaks and to be able to sauté thinly sliced onions and peppers without their spilling over the edge. We cooked steaks, scallops, vegetables, and bacon on three models priced from about $40 to $90. One model was cramped with four steaks; another was fussy, since its cast-iron surface needed frequent upkeep. We challenged the planchas’ ability to prevent grease-ignited flames by cooking a pound of bacon on each one. The winner uses a slightly sloped surface to direct the fat away from the food, out through a small hole in its lower side, and down the inside of the grill, bypassing the coals or heating element. Plus, its square, roomy cast-iron surface is enameled, which made cleanup a breeze.

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