While griddles offer a flat, smooth surface, grills offer raised edges to allow the fat to drip through. Depending on what you're cooking, both griddles and grills offer great options for preparing food. To clarify the use of the two surfaces, let's think about breakfast.
The Correct Cooking Surface For The Job
For breakfast, you can use a grill for some portions of the meal, but you'll need a griddle for most of it. Sausage can be cooked on the open mesh of a grill but scrambled eggs won't survive that cooking surface. Bacon can be cooked on the flat top of a griddle but you'll need to remove the grease or risk a dangerous, messy spill. Pancakes? Griddle with a flat top.
If space is a challenge in your indoor or outdoor kitchen and you're struggling with the decision of griddle vs grill, you have options available. There are numerous attachments and additions you can purchase for your gas grill that offer griddle capabilities, and many outdoor grill setups come with a side burner. For best long term success with your outdoor grill, do your best to invest in a unit with a stainless steel gas burner tube, as corrosion will destroy your gas grill over time.
Griddle Vs Grill: Material
If you have the space and can tolerate the weight, a cast iron griddle attachment is a terrific addition to your gas grill. Cast iron is nearly indestructible when carefully cared for, and it holds its heat no matter what you put in the pan.
This creates a unique set of challenges, however. Properly seasoned, your flat top cast iron griddle won't be hard to clean up, but you will have to wait for it to cool down on top of your outdoor grill before you can touch it. If you forget it and leave it out overnight, you may damage the grill by exposing it to corrosion.
Stainless steel is an excellent choice for your open grill choice. It's very easy to clean up, has a high heat tolerance and is extremely corrosion resistant. Porcelain coated grill mesh offers tremendous heat maintenance but can be hard to clean. Your metal scrubbing brush will work great on stainless, but you'll need a nylon brush to clean up a porcelain grate.
Protecting Your Outdoor Gas Grill For The Long Term
One of the biggest mistakes owners of gas grills make is leaving the grill dirty overnight. Yes, you will need to wait until the grill cools to clean it and collect and empty the grease traps. However, moisture builds up on the grill as it cools and this can lead to corrosion.
You will need to cover your grill to protect it from the weather. However, you never want to cover your grill until it's cooled completely. If the cover is stainless steel, use a manufacturer recommended cleaning product to keep it looking great.
Keeping Things Clean
While your indoor kitchen won't tolerate a cleaning by fire, your grill will thrive on it. You can fire up the grill before scrubbing the stainless grates with a metal brush. Let them cool for a time, then apply vegetable oil to the grates to reduce sticking. Char marks are lovely; burning your food to the grill is dangerous and wasteful.
When deciding to purchase or use griddle vs grill, you actually have several options. Old cookie sheets work well on the grill until you can find the griddle you want, though they have lower heat tolerance and will need to be watched. Clean your grill regularly, particularly as soon as it cools down, protect it from corrosion, and enjoy!