Have you ever needed to cook food on your grill for longer than expected? The problem may be that you’re overloading the cooking plates, which can cause longer cooking times – it may also affect the quality of your finished plates of food. In this post, we’ll be giving tips on loading your plates correctly to achieve more even results within the recommended cooking times found in your Use & Care manual.
The first key is not to overload the bottom plate – you can’t overstuff your grill with food and expect that it will cook with the same quality and quickness that it would for a regular load. If individual pieces are touching each other on the sides because there so much food on the grill, this will affect your results and take longer to cook because there is more food than the embedded heating element can handle.
You also don’t want any edges or sides of the food hanging out beyond edge of the cooking plate. As we mentioned in our feature focus post, the embedded heating elements are designed to provide even heat from the center to the sides of the plate, but food that goes beyond this won’t cook correctly because it’s not coming into contact with the heating element.
The last key to correctly loading your cooking plates is to make sure that the food is all the same thickness – both on individual pieces and the plate as a whole. Since contact grills, by design, cook from both sides, the top plate needs to be touching the food to cook correctly in the time provided. If any piece or part of a piece isn’t touching the top plate, it won’t cook like everything else. For steaks in particular, you won’t get that steakhouse quality center of pinkness – the same issue you have if you don’t turn the meat often enough on a regular grill.
So how do you know how much food to put on the plate to have it cook correctly? A good rule of thumb is that an average serving size equals about 20 sq. in. of space on your grill. If you know the size of your grill, simply divide that number by 20; this will give you a rough estimate of your grill’s serving size. Obviously some foods, like flank or skirt steak for instance, will take up more space, but this formula works as a general rule for things like burgers, chicken breasts, chops and sausage patties.