When cooking on your griddle you’ll frequently need to be cooking with some sort of oil or to help prevent your food from sticking to metal surface and to help get the desired texture on your food. Is there a single one you should be using?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of various oil options? There’s several things you should take into consideration when deciding what type oil to use.
When choosing an oil you’ll want to ensure you’re using one with a high enough smoke point. You’ll typically want to use something that has a smoke point of at least 400°F and preferably even higher.
You’ll want to avoid using extra virgin olive oil (325°F smoke point) and regular butter (350°F smoke point) unless you’re cooking at lower temperatures.
Cooking oils cooked above their smoke point can cause the oil breaking down resulting in the release of harmful chemicals and it can give the food an undesirable taste as well.
Neutral vs. Flavored Oil
Another factor you’ll want to consider when choosing an oil is whether it’s a neutral flavored oil or not. Neutral cooking oils will not effect the taste of the food while others will impart some additional flavor to the food.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as adding these flavors may enhance the dish your cooking. It just comes down to what your cooking and what your preference is.
Some foods you’ll want to impart flavor from the oil into the food. When cooking Asian dishes, sesame oil can impart some amazing flavor into the food and many recipes will call for it specifically.
Beef tallow is non neutral and can also enhance the taste of various dishes. If you want the food to stand on it’s own without the additional flavoring, just be sure to select a neutral oil that won’t influence the taste.
Below is a quick reference list of oils with at least a 400°F smoke point and whether they are a neutral oil or not so you can pick the best option.
|Oil||Smoke Point °F||Smoke Point °C||Neutral|
|Refined Avocado Oil||520°F||270°C||Yes|
|Refined or Light Olive Oil||465°F||240°C||Yes|
|Ghee or Clarified Butter||450°F||232°C||No|
|Refined Coconut Oil||450°F||232°C||Yes|
|Refined Sesame Oil||410°F||210°C||No|
My primary go to options are ghee (clarified butter) and avocado oil which both have higher smoke points. I use avocado oil when I want a neutral flavor that won’t change the taste of the food and ghee when I’m cooking something I want to impart a buttery flavor to like sautéed vegetables.
I’ll use other oils as well depending on what dish I’m preparing so don’t feel obligated to stick to just one or two of these. Sesame oil for Asian stir fry dishes being a prime example.
There’s many options available so just pick what oil is best for you and the food you’re going to be cooking.