This Griddle’s Unique Design Is Ideal for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Scallion Pancakes, and More

published Apr 6, 2023
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Grilled Cheese
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

I have to say that I’m a pretty daring cook in the kitchen. I take risks with flavors and ingredient combinations (which I’ve been told are sometimes questionable, but always edible — and that’s good enough for me!) and I’m always pushing boundaries on how I move around the kitchen — literally. 

I constantly use my hands when cooking — a technique I learned from my mom — and reach into griddles and pans with my fingertips to flip over eggplant, homemade scallion pancakes, and even grilled cheese sandwiches. 

With grilled cheese sandos specifically, because they’re thick, rather than having to wash an extra spatula, I much prefer to use my fingers to flip over the toasted sandwich instead. Despite having mastered this technique, I find myself swearing profusely if I mistime my flip and burn the top of my wrist. However, this hasn’t happened since I switched to a griddle pan.

What’s So Great About the Smithey No.12 Flat Top Griddle?

The Smithey No.12 Flat Top Griddle was designed as a lid to accompany Smithey’s No. 12 Cast Iron Skillet (a Kitchn favorite), but it can certainly be used on its own — and that’s actually my preferred way. In fact, it deserves its own spotlight because it cooks up the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich with a crunchy crust and gooey melted cheese in the center.

The beauty of this artisan griddle is that it’s flatter than all the other pans you’d normally use for grilled cheese sandwiches when cooked on the stovetop. I’m not just talking about the base of the pan, but also the wall — it looks more like an edge than the wall of a pan. The whole griddle is under three inches, akin to a crêpe pan in design. This means that when I reach into the pan to flip my grilled cheese sandwich, I never run the risk of burning my wrist. But fair warning: If you do this, make sure you don’t grab the molten-lava cheese when flipping and aim to touch just the crust of the bread to avoid any burns! 

For those of you who do use spatulas when cooking, there are other perks to the griddle pan, too. If you usually overcrowd a regular skillet or pan with dollar-pancakes and can’t flip them because the sloped sides get in the way, the flat “sides” of this griddle give you more room to work with, so you’re not shimmying your way around to find the perfect angle to flip your pancakes. The ergonomic features continue with the handle being very easy to grasp, and there are even holes on the opposite side to hang your griddle pan above your stove when not in use.

The polished cast iron is much more convenient than other cast iron griddles because you don’t have to season it before use. The naturally nonstick material prevents ingredients from sticking to it too, so you can get a great sear on meats and vegetables. This also means no sore elbows from scrubbing the pan, which is a big advantage for someone who hates getting their hands dirty (read: me). 

Smithey’s cast iron griddle is perfect for grilled cheeses, pancakes, Chinese scallion pancakes, and even pizza because it allows for an even distribution of heat. I’ll throw a quick leavened pizza dough on the pre-heated griddle pan and put my favorite toppings, like tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, on top before placing it quickly under the broiler for the cheese to melt — the base is never soggy and you get a great crust too.

I’ll never not use my fingers when cooking, which means I’ll always keep this versatile griddle pan on hand — sorry, had to!