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Are there hot spots on the Flat Top?Updated 4 months ago

Are There Hot Spots on the Flat Top?

Every flat top grill from the highest quality commercial models used in top restaurants to cheap electric griddles sold in local department stores has hot spots directly above the heating elements. The real question is how evenly is the heat distributed across the cooking surface? The three variables that determine this are the size and number of the heating elements relative to the cooking surface, the distance between the heating elements and the cooking surface, and the thickness of the steel use to make the flat top itself. 

Generally speaking, the more heating elements your stove has and the larger they are the more even the heating will be across the surface of the Flat Top. Every stove has its own personality but 4-burner electric coil stoves will always struggle to match the even heating provided by a 5-burner gas stove. The trick is to learn how to leverage your stoves strengths to match the kind of cooking that you are doing. 4-burner stoves will tend to have slightly hotter temperatures on the left and right sides of the Flat Top while the center will be sightly cooler. This makes a great way to use "zone cooking" to prepare different kinds of foods on the same Flat Top or to use the center section as a "warming zone" to keep food that is done before the rest of the meal. 

The distance between the bottom of the Flat Top and the heating elements also contributes to how even the heating is. A wider distance between the heat source and the bottom of the Flat Top makes the heat more diffuse and less focused so that it spreads across a wider area. Electric coil stoves are in direct contact with the bottom of the Flat Top so the heat transfer is much more localized creating a more intense hot spot. Glass radiant stoves use a Spacer Kit that elevates the Flat Top 5/8" above the heating elements and so diffuses the heat creating a more even cooking temperature. Gas stoves usually have the greatest distance between the bottom of the Flat Top and the heat source, plus the flames tend to spread across the surface of the Flat Top creating the most diffuse heating and even more even cooking temperatures. 

Finally, the thickness of the metal used to construct the Flat Top controls how evenly the heat from the source is distributed across the cooking surface. The Steelmade Flat Top is made from 3/16" steel - that's roughly 50% thicker than cast iron pans and standalone outdoor griddles made from Blackstone and Camp Chef. This helps to provide much more even heating across the entire surface of the Flat Top and better temperature retention too. 

The first image below shows a Blackstone Griddle with 8 distinct hot spots. The Blackstone is made from 1/8" thick material with the relatively small gas burners positioned directly beneath the grill. 

This second image shows the Steelmade Flat Top on a glass ceramic stove. Note how much more even the cooking temperature is with much more diffuse hot spots. This is because of the thicker 3/16" material and the air gap between the heat source and the bottom of the Flat Top.  

In the end, every cook surface has its own quirks and performance characteristics that can only be learned through experience. The Steelmade Flat Top is a fun and versatile product that will work well on any stove.

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