Plancha grill buying guide
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter177 guides
When it comes to selecting a plancha grill, the options are endless. Between gas and electric models, carbon steel cooking plates or stainless steel frames, there are plenty of choices to make before you can start enjoying your favourite recipes a la plancha! Here are our top tips to guide you in the right direction.
- Cast iron
- Stainless steel
Choosing a plancha to suit your needs
Your plancha grill should be chosen according to your cooking preferences. Chefs with the most exacting standards should go for a gas-powered plancha for better cooking quality, quicker heat-up time and more precise temperature adjustments. Typically larger and more expensive, these grills can work with butane or propane gas.
Electric plancha grills use a more convenient form of energy but are less powerful and provide a slower heat-up time. However, they are often more affordable and take up less space, meaning they can be used on a kitchen table top or even on the balcony.
When making your choice, don't forget to consider the following points:
- the quality of the cooking plate: enamelled cast iron is a good mid-range option if your budget allows it;
- the size of your grill should match the number of people you intend to cook for;
- the number of burners for managing cooking times.
What are the main characteristics of a plancha?
Plancha grills are cooking appliances originating from Spain. They are designed to sear meats and vegetables using high temperatures of over 350°.
Gas planchas vs. electric planchas
Electric plancha grills
Gas plancha grills
Choosing your plancha grill materials
When it comes to materials, the plancha grill frame and cooking plate should be considered separately; choosing the right cooking surface is much more important!
- Enamelled cast iron ensures good heat distribution due to its high thermal conductivity. Enamelled cast iron is undoubtedly the best material used for cooking plates in terms of cost-efficiency (please note: the quality of the enamel is very important).
- Hard chrome plating is a top-of-the-line option, but it can be fairly expensive. This type of coating allows for easy cleaning and maintenance and creates thick cooking plates. It also offers excellent cooking quality.
- Stainless steel can withstand high temperatures, offers good conductivity and is very easy to maintain. It is also a very hygienic material. However, its level of conductivity is not as high as cast iron or steel models;
- Carbon steel offers a good middle ground and is a cost-effective option. Plancha plates made from this material are very scratch-resistant. However, when the plate's protective coating eventually wears away, corrosion can set in. As such, maintenance is necessary and once the coating has disappeared, these cooking plates must be oiled. As steel is a naturally excellent heat conductor, these plates will heat up very quickly;
- Enamelled steel offers good resistance to abrasion and is very easy to clean. Just be careful not to damage the plate's enamel coating.
Stainless steel frames are generally used for high-end models, while enamelled steel structures tend to make up most mid-range versions.
Accessories and add-on options for plancha grills
In addition to the cooking plate and power, plancha grills also differ in terms of their design features and accessories.
- Grease trays come as standard but may vary in design. Designed to collect cooking grease, these drip trays make cleaning and maintenance easier;
- Tilting cooking plates are convenient for increasing grease flow;
- Piezo ignition is standard for gas planchas;
- A thermocouple enables gas flow and ensures the gas is cut off when there is no flame;
- Plancha trolleys are practical and allow you to move your plancha grill around independently;
- A cover (or even a hood) will protect the plancha from moisture.
Final tips for choosing your plancha
The dimensions of plancha can also vary and this depends on the number of burners they feature. Gas planchas commonly use two or three burners. Some may even feature four; these models stretch to over a metre! Counter top plancha grills are strongly recommended when cooking for ten people or more.
Your cooking plate should be treated with care both during use and when cleaning – particularly when dealing with low-range plates made of enamelled steel or carbon steel.
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter 177 guides écrits
Redo a roof with wooden beams? Check.
Advise Mister everybody in the DIY shop? Check.
Redo the bathroom plumbing? Check.
Fit together, build the walls, paint a partition, throw my hammer in a rage thinking that it will fix the problem? Check.
The DIY motto ? Learning is better than delegating… well, it's also a question about your wallet! The satisfaction? The beer at the end of the job!
What do the best have in common? The influence of Gyro Gearloose, Mac Gyver and Carol Smiley depending on your generation, a good dose of curiosity, a average hand-eye coordination and a taste for risks… and if it doesn't work, try again! Advise you? I'll do my best!