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March 16, 2020 Preventative Maintenance

How to Clean Your Commercial Griddle

Maintaining and cleaning your commercial kitchen equipment is easy with the right tools and methods. In this article, we will show you the best practices for keeping your commercial griddle clean and in the best working condition.
Cleaning any piece of equipment is crucial to getting maximum efficiency out of it. Food debris and char can buildup on a commercial griddle and quickly affect the cooking process and can change flavor profiles. It can also cause uneven cooking on certain items and pose a health risk if the food is undercooked.

Why Should I Clean My Griddle?

If a dirty griddle changes how the food is intended to taste, a customer might not like it and send it back or asked for the item to be comped off the check. Any time a food has to been cooked again or comped, it will raise operating costs and even worse, could lower a customer’s opinion of your establishment.
A dirty piece of equipment can also be frustrating for employees who have to work on it. Constantly dealing with filthy equipment can also cause good people to leave and go somewhere else because they can’t make the best product possible to serve to your guests. Working in dirty environment can also lower good employees’ expectations for what clean means at your location and can even lead to dangerous situations. For example, if the grease wells are not cleaned, they can overflow onto electrical or gas elements and cause equipment failure or worse, a fire.

Best Tools for Cleaning Equipment

The best tools used to clean a stainless steel grill can include a scraper, a grill block, soda water, vinegar and some good old-fashioned effort. The process typically takes only about 5-10 minutes if done on a regular basis. Although if you follow those steps often, your griddle will come out shiny and looking great with not a lot of effort.

Directions for Cleaning Your Commercial Griddle

  • While the griddle is hot, pour 1 cup of cooking oil onto the griddle surface. You can use oil from your fryer.

  • Using a scraper or a grill block, scrub the griddle surface in small circles working out to larger circles until the entire surface is clean.

  • Scrape the oil into the grease trough and discard. Turn the griddle off.

  • Carefully pour 1 cup of soda water onto the griddle. It is ok, if fact best, if it is still hot. As the carbonation heats up, it helps to breakup and pull the leftover grease to the surface.

  • Again, using a scraper, grill brick or pumice stone, scrub the griddle surface surface in small circles working out to larger circles until the entire surface is clean.

  • Scrape any remaining liquid into the trough.

  • Carefully pour 1/2 cup of vinegar onto the griddle surface making sure that you spread the liquid evenly across the entire surface. Do not let the vinegar stand in one area.

  • With a rag, rub the griddle surface in small circles working out to larger circles until the entire surface is polished to a shine.

  • Scrape the vinegar into your grease trough and discard with other liquid.

  • It is important to re-season the surface of the grill by using a rag soaked in cooking oil to remove any left residue and polish the steel.

How Often Do I Need to Clean My Griddle?

Light cleaning of your griddle should be done during or after each shift so that build up does not become too much of an issue. However, you should deep clean the grill every night. Make sure you “season” the griddle after cleaning. That will help maintain the integrity of the cooking plate.
Do not try and shortcut cleaning. It can damage the equipment. We have seen people throw ice water on griddles to cool them down faster so they are easier to clean. This can cause the cooking surface to buckle and create safety issues.
Also, if the griddle is hinged, which is becoming more common, char and debris can get caught in the hinges and cause the unit to not work properly. This can cause downtime on a piece of equipment and eventually, it can impact sales. No one wants lost revenue due to not taking care of a piece of equipment.
Every kitchen may have its own cleaning techniques and products, but we are all looking for the same end result. A griddle that is clean and protects the integrity and safety of the food and makes your customers happy. 

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