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There’s nothing quite like barbecue food. It tastes unique and it looks unique. What’s more, it’s branded with the sear marks that we’ve come to associate only with this beloved style of cooking. But what if we were to tell you that there’s another way to make this kind of food? One that offers half the hassle and twice the benefits? And all you honestly have to give up were these sear marks? And that, my friends, is what flat-top grilling is.

Obviously, there’s a bit more to it than that (as we’ll explain). But in a direct comparison, flat-top grilling is shown to have many irrefutable advantages over grilling on the BBQ.

Not convinced? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should try flat-top grilling.

Better Searing 

At first glance, the obvious visual difference between a flat-top grill and a BBQ grill is the way they look. But in comparing these two differences, we see that this distinction is really about the different ways in which they cook their food. 

The BBQ uses an evenly arranged metal grate that gives cooked food direct access to the heat source below. This has the advantage of charbroiling food and infusing it with its characteristic BBQ flavor. On the other hand,  the flat-top grill uses a flat cooking surface, one that offers a wealth of advantages over its competitor. 

By offering a cooking surface that connects better with ingredients, the flat-top grill sears food better than a BBQ grill. This means a better Maillard reaction over more of your food’s surface. The result is better food that tastes more delicious.

And there’s still more. Griddles require less grease/oil and cook food free of smoke from the heat source. For this reason, they provide a slight advantage when it comes to making healthier foods. As such, this makes them ideal for making healthy food options such as grilled salmon and vegetables. 

Griddle Temperature for bacon 1

Food Variety

One big advantage of a flat-top grill is the wide variety of food it is able to cook. This is because this type of grill has a unified cooking surface. By being free of gaps, this type of cooking device is suitable for cooking more types of foods than the BBQ grill and its food-swallowing grate. 

Want to make smash burgers? Do it on the versatile choice that lets you grill all types of veggies side-by-side with your meats

Want to cook breakfast? Make everything you need to start your day right with morning staples such as scrambled eggs, fried bacon, pancakes/flapjacks, and hash browns.

Interested in international foods? Try Asian cooking styles such as Japanese hibachi/teppanyaki or Chinese stir fry. Conversely, use a skillet to prepare taco and quesadilla fillings for an unforgettable Mexican-themed dinner.

As such, the world is your oyster when it comes to the flat-top grill. This is a big reason why customers have become enamored with this product which is known as a skillet, griddle, or smokeless grill. 

READ: How to Grill on a Griddle

Easy Cleanup

As much as you may love cooking on a BBQ grill, you probably feel the opposite about cleaning it. Face it: that BBQ grate is a huge hassle to clean. Even worse, cleaning it requires tools that will get worn out and need to be replaced. It’s an inconvenience waiting for you in the future. As much as you try to put it off, this is the chore that needs doing after the fun part of BBQ is finished.

If this sounds familiar, you may be encouraged to know that flat-top grills don’t have this problem. Instead, these skillets are very easy to clean. Scraping food off their surfaces becomes child’s play. This is because the majority of these units are designed with nonstick surfaces. As well, skillets tend to build up a stick-free coating from repeated use (similar to that of a cast iron pan).

As a matter of fact, cleanup is actually an integral part of the cooking process for these griddles. Once one of your foods has completed cooking, it is customary to scrub its vacant cooking spot with a scraper. This effectively allows you to clean as you cook. By the time you’ve finished cooking on a flat-top grill, you’ve already polished off the cooking surface, making the final cleanup a snap.

Versatile Functionality


The high degree of versatility displayed by flat-top grills when it comes to making food is also seen in their functionality. These devices are designed with a high degree of user-friendliness that makes them ideal for just about any situation.

While BBQ grills are mostly limited to outdoor spaces, there are indoor versions of flat-top grills available. In fact, Blackstone now offers an electric version designed for both indoor and outdoor use. 

What’s more, these cooking devices offer a similar funcationality  to a regular stovetop burner. If you’re looking to make a pasta salad side dish, simply put a pot of water on the skillet to boil. Except for cast iron pans that may damage surfaces, these electric griddles are compatible with most types of pots and pans. And considering they offer an extensive cooking surface, most skillets are suitable for accommodating large groups of diners.

Therefore, it makes sense to point out that flat-top grills are extremely common in commercial kitchens. Further to that point, they are a familiar sight to be seen on cooking shows, thereby demonstrating their value to professional chefs.

READ: Grilling 101: Tips to help you Grill to Perfection!

Counterpoint: The Cons

It would be irresponsible of us to mention the advantages of a flat-top grill without talking about its negatives, which we’ve listed below:

  • No flame contact: Can’t charbroil a steak on a skillet.
  • No BBQ flavors: No smokiness with this type of cooking device.
  • Requires specific equipment: Need long-handled tools to protect against splatter, squeeze bottles for applying oil & sauces, and more.
  • No grill/sear marks: The absence of an aesthetically pleasing, diamond-shaped grill mark as made by steakhouses and seen in commercials is a deal breaker for some people.
Out of all of these disadvantages, it’s likely that the last is the most important for BBQ aficionados. But if you’re willing to overlook this largely cosmetic difference, you could open yourself up to a world of many (delicious) opportunities. 

Conclusion: Is a Flat-Top Grill Right for You?

Although a BBQ grill and a flat-top grill are similar appliances that perform similar tasks, the truth is that they are different tools that provide different experiences. It all comes down to your personal needs and what you want out of a home grilling device. And if you’re very lucky, choose to own both of these cooking units… that is, if that is an affordable option for you.

Whichever type of home griller you choose, make it a priority to improve your results by cooking according to temperature. Instead of judging by appearance, you can better know when your food is ready by measuring its internal temperature. For best results, use a ThermoPro cooking thermometer

ThermoPro products are innovative devices beloved by our customers for their speed and accuracy. With these precise readings, our customers cook without second-guessing themselves! 

When cooking on a flat-top grill, use a ThermoPro instant-read meat thermometer such as the ThermoPro Lightning to quickly monitor the internal temperature of your food. Simply insert, read the temperature, and you’re done, as easy as that.

Check out our full lineup of thermometers on Amazon

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