Pre-heat gently - Because the Flat Top is so large it can take time for it to heat evenly. Once it's up to temp it will stay there for a long time! We recommend starting with your stove set to low heat and gradually increasing the heat until you get to your target temp. It's actually easier to make it hotter once it's already warmed up, by pre-heating slowly you can control the heat more easily. To be efficient with your time you can start the pre-heating process while you're getting your ingredients together. It typically takes 10-15 minutes to completely pre-heat the Flat Top.
Start low and don't overheat! - You might get the urge to turn your burners up to full blast the first time you use the Flat Top, but don't! Most cooktops only need to be set to 1/3 to 1/2 power to heat the Flat Top to over 500 degrees. Our test stoves only need to be set to 3 out of 10 to reach 400 degrees for cooking. Most chefs agree that the maximum cooking temperature you'll ever need is 500-550 degrees for searing a steak. The Flat Top is designed to handle temperatures up to 600 degrees without damage. However, torture testing has shown that a regular electric coil stove set to full power can heat the Flat Top to an insane 900 degrees. Even the heavy duty Flat Top isn't designed to endure those temperatures without warping.
Avoid the smoke - As the name alludes, the smoking point is the temperature at which a fat or oil begins to smoke. Sure, smoke is pesky, but that's not the only reason why you should be concerned. Heated past its smoke point, that fat starts to break down, releasing free radicals and a substance called acrolein, the chemical that gives burnt foods their acrid flavor and aroma. Think watering eyes, a stinky kitchen, and bitter, scorched food.
To make sure you don't run into that issue when cooking on your Flat Top you can use the chart below to help inform your decision on what kind of oil to reach for depending on what kind of meal you are making. It's important to note that we apply a coat of Vegetable Oil to the Flat Tops before shipping. Do not exceed heating your Flat Top beyond 375 degrees on the first use to prevent the oil from smoking. The oil will polymerize or "bake-in" around 350 degrees. You can then use the oil of your choice for cooking if you need a higher smoke point.
|Smoke Point of Oil/Fat
Bacon is the seasoning king - There are lots of techniques for seasoning your Flat Top but hands down our favorite way to get started is frying up a giant pile of bacon. Bacon fat is a great seasoning agent that will get your Flat Top turning dark brown in no time and add that coveted natural non-stick coating that cast iron is famous for. Plus, you get the delicious reward of bacon when you're done!
Don't put off the cleaning - Cleaning the Flat Top takes only a couple of minutes and it's much easier to do when the food is fresh off the grill and it's still hot. Use a metal food scraper to clear the Flat Top and use a small amount of water to boil away stubborn bits. After a final wipe down with a paper towel or dish rag, don't forget to add a thin layer of oil to protect your Flat Top from moisture.
Buy a second drip tray - Sometimes we forget to empty and clean our drip tray after the Flat Top has cooled down. It's hard to beat the convenience of having a second clean drip tray to rotate out when that happens. We usually toss ours in the dish washer so there's always a backup ready to sub in.
Don't use just one burner - Using just one burner to heat your Flat Top with can cause it to warp or buckle. If you're only cooking a small meal we still recommend turning all of the burners on or removing the Flat Top and using a skillet instead.
Create "temperature zones" - If you're cooking different kinds of food or want to keep one side of your Flat Top as a warming zone you can mix and match the temperature of your burners to make one side hotter or cooler than the other.