Camping Cookoff: Griddle vs. Grill

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A group of friends grilling at their campsite

If there were an ultimate battle, griddle vs. grill, who would win? It probably depends on who’s cooking and eating more than anything else.

However, there’s a huge difference between a griddle and a grill, and not every good camper understands that difference. 

If you’re passionate about camping, you should also take an interest in cooking.

One of the most enjoyable things about camping is the food, and having a few tricks up your chef’s sleeve could make the adventure even better. 

Expand your outdoor cooking knowledge, and dive into a deeper exploration of your cooking tools.

Take a closer look at the griddle vs. the grill now. 

What Is a Griddle?

A griddle is a flat cooking surface typically produced in a rectangle or square shape, though traditional griddles are round.

Its cooktop is shallow (sometimes even completely flat), so it’s easier to turn and flip the foods you’re cooking. 

Griddles consist of cast iron but are now in an array of materials. Some comprise of aluminum, ceramic, and carbon steel. 

A griddle is best for cooking pancakes, eggs, burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and evenly warming tortillas.

Purchasing one could be as cheap as $20, or you could pay a few hundred dollars for a high-quality cast iron griddle. 

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What Is a Grill?

A grill is something you are likely very familiar with already. For definition’s sake, it’s a cooking device with metal bars on which to set the food you are cooking.

Grills cook using the extreme radiant heat of fire below the metal fencing where you set the food. 

Grills can come in many shapes and sizes with different fueling sources. You can use charcoal, propane, or even wood chips to provide heat.

Grills can be simple in form or built with several grilling shelves intact for more intricate meal preparation. 

The pricing is just about as widely ranged as that of the griddle. You could buy a simple grill for $20 or spend several hundred on a fancier one. Either way, the cooking process is pretty similar. 

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How Are Grills and Griddles Different?

When it comes to griddle vs. grill, there are some distinct differences that make an impact on the way you cook with them.

Grills have an open surface on which you set the food, providing a space for all the juices to simply fall through to the fire.

Griddles are solid, so you have to manage any runoff with a good angle or by adding a small trough. 

On a grill, the food is sitting on an open base, and the food is allowed to come into direct contact with the flames heading the grill. This changes the flavor of the food and the way you cook it.

On a griddle, the flat bottom means that it will heat the food evenly, and no direct charing will occur. 

Benefits of a Griddle

There are certain benefits you get when you use a griddle that you don’t get when using a grill.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most prominent pros and cons of using a griddle now. 

Can Cook Indoors

The biggest perk is that you can use it inside the house. Grilling inside is a big “no-no,” but griddling in the house won’t produce any toxic or harmful fumes. 

Easier to Use

Griddles are a little easier to manage than grills, especially if you have an electric one. All you have to do is plug it in to get started.

Cooking on a solid, flat surface may also be considered easier than cooking on the grated plate of a grill. There’s certainly less risk of your food falling through. 

A person cooking eggs and hash browns on a griddle

Cook Almost Everything

The wide range of foods you can cook on a griddle makes it a pretty sweet choice. Anything you might want to cook on a grill, you can also cook on a griddle, and more. 

Pro Tip: Ready to get cooking with your cast iron? Try one of our favorite 15 Cast Iron Camping Recipes!

Easy to Clean

A flat griddle is much easier to clean than your typical grill.

It’s a matter of wiping down the flat surface with soap and water while cleaning a grill is much more involved. If it’s a charcoal grill, you’ve got a whole process on your hands. 

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Cons of a Griddle


You could consider the price a “con,” but it depends on the kind of griddle you’re looking to purchase. If you want a cast iron griddle, the price will probably be a downer. 

Can Require Seasoning

Again, if you have a cast iron griddle, you will have to season it after every cooking session to keep it in good shape. Just like your cast iron skillet, it will need regular TLC. 

Can’t Use Propane Griddles Indoors

There are some griddles that are the exception to the rule, and they’re not for cooking indoors. If you have a propane-powered griddle, always use it outside. 

Benefits of a Grill

Now that we’ve looked at what the griddle has to offer, let’s take a peek into the pros and cons of a grill.

The more you know, the better equipped you are for your next camp cookout. 

Pros of a Grill 

Keeps Heat and Smells Outdoors

Cooking indoors isn’t always the way to go, especially when you’re camping.

Grilling is a great way to keep the heat and all the smells of cooking outside away from the inside of your camper. 

Meat cooking on a grill near an RV at a campsite

Cook at Higher Temperatures

Cooking on a grill allows you to cook at a higher temperature. You can get a different taste from many foods when they are charred or cooked in the extreme heat of a fire. 

You Can Grill Anywhere

Grills are so readily available that you can grill pretty much anywhere you go.

All the campgrounds have grills built into their campsites, making it super simple to grill up a meal while on vacation. 

Cons of a Grill

Fire Hazard

Cooking with an open flame is always a risk. There’s a clear and present fire hazard when grilling, but a little informed caution is usually enough to keep the situation in check.

However, stray embers are a concerted danger when it comes to the risk of forest fires. Pay close attention as you cook to avoid any spreading of your flames. 

A person using their grill at a campsite

Very Messy Cleanup

Grills are super messy when it comes time to clean them. If it’s a charcoal grill, you can double the mess.

Cleaning up all the fluids that dripped through the grate as you cooked, the grill itself, and any tools you used to operate the grill can get a bit time-consuming. 

Keep in Mind: We’ve put together some of our favorite camping food options for your next getaway! How many of these Camping Food Favorites Have You Tried

Can Take a Long Time to Heat

Heating the grill is something you do when you have plenty of time to chill. It takes at least 20 minutes for a charcoal grill to be ready for cooking.

However, grilling with a propane grill can easily alleviate the wait. 

Which Is Better: A Griddle or a Grill?

When it comes right down to it in the griddle vs. grill debate, you have to decide which tool you think is best for your cooking needs.

The griddle and grill each have their own collections of pros and cons, and they have their place in camp cooking. Ultimately, it’s probably best to just have both items with you on the next adventure. 

What do you use?

Last update on 2024-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  1. A grill is a necessity and so much more versatile for us. You can always place a skillet or flat griddle on top of the grill or stove to cook flat surface items, such as pancakes.

    Of course if the weather precludes you from cooking outdoors, then your BBQ grill is of little use in those situations.

    Nice and concise article. Enjoyed reading it.

  2. We started with a grill, move to carrying a griddle over time as well. Then dropped the grill, but carry a grill grate to use at parks. We find the combination of propane griddle with the seperate grill grate works best for us, while also lightening the load.

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