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Stacey Turek

A Guide to Griddle Controls

From breakfast to dinner, late-night menus to snack items, commercial griddles are an essential part of a kitchen to keep every daypart running smoothly.  When choosing a griddle, operators need to consider more than just the size and plate type.  It is also essential to select the right type of griddle control based on specific operator and cooking needs.

The griddle surface temperature is either controlled manually or with a thermostat.  Many economy griddles come standard with manual controls.  This cost-effective type offers the least amount of temperature control, only giving operators the ability to adjust the height of the flame with a dial from low to high.  When cooking raw and frozen foods, constant attention is required as a manual adjustment is needed to keep consistent temperatures.  Experienced cooks will know the correct settings and how to adjust for each of their menu options, while novice cooks will need more training with this type of control.  Operators who are simply loading up the griddle to brown foods or cook a large amount of food like stir fry will have success with manual controls.  This type of control would also be ideal for hot dogs, hamburger buns and tortillas. 

(Manual temperature controls are available on Vulcan’s VCRG-M gas griddles.)

For more product consistency and automatic temperature response to loads of raw and frozen foods, a thermostat is needed to control the plate temperature.  Thermostatic griddle controls allow you to set the griddle to a specific temperature and maintain that temperature within degrees.  With this control, you can “set it and forget it” without having to worry about manually adjusting the flame.  There are three types of thermostatic temperature controls:

Modulating (Throttling) Controls

The modulating, or throttling, option is the most upfront economical thermostat.  With a constant flame, operators set the griddle temperature by adjusting the gas flow. This control type keeps temperatures within 30-40 degrees of the set point.  Griddles with modulating controls have been reported to have lagging response to heavy loads of product.  This causes extended cook times and slower recovery, affecting the griddles production capacity.  However, this modulating controls would be good choice for operators with low volume outputs looking for a thermostatic control at a value price point.

Snap-Action Controls

Standard in the industry, snap-action temperature controls often have a nice balance between accuracy and affordability.  The thermostat is either fully opened or fully closed, allowing operators to control the griddle temperature within 10-15 degrees from the set point.  This permits greater cooking consistency throughout shifts.  The thermostat is either mounted to the underside of the griddle or embedded into each section of the griddle plate.  The embedded thermostat design offers more sensitive thermostat response and ensures faster recovery and tighter temperature control than the bottom-mounted snap-action.  Snap-action controls are recommended for operators looking for more accurate temperature control for cooking items such as burgers and breakfast fare.

(Embedded snap-action temperature controls are available on Vulcan’s MSA, 900RX and VCRG-T gas griddles.  Electrical snap-action temperature controls are available on Vulcan’s RRE and HEG electric griddles.)

Bottom mounted thermostat

The bottom-mounted thermostat lives on the underside of the griddle, and provides less precise temperature accuracy.

Embedded thermostat

The embedded thermostat design offers more sensitive thermostat response and ensures faster recovery and precise temperature control.

Solid State Controls

For the most precise temperature control, solid state controls are the best option.  The temperature probe is always embedded into the griddle plate and this allows operators to set the exact temperature within five degrees, offering the greatest griddle surface consistency.  This control type also has the fastest recovery time compared to other control options.  However, with more accuracy and higher response times, also comes a higher price tag.  This control type is ideal for those operators with a high cooking volume and/or require repeatable and reliable exact temperature settings for their menu items, such as steaks and seafood.

(Solid State temperature controls are available on Vulcan’s VCCG gas griddles.)

Solid state probe

Embedded into the griddle plate, the probe allows near exact temperature control, within five degrees.

Selecting the right control for your griddle will ensure that you can meet the demands of your menu and your customers.  Whether you are cooking with a wide range of temperatures or need precise and consistent griddle surface temperatures, there is a control option for you.


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