PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – While gas grills have made grilling in many homes a year-round activity the Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional start of grilling season.
But there is new competition in the outdoor cooking environment: griddles.READ MORE: Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued For Pittsburgh Area; High Winds, Potential Hail Expected
No charcoal, no out-of-control flames, griddles are catching on, but will they replace the grill, and are they healthier for you?
A brief sampling of cooking views on the streets of Pittsburgh found overwhelming support for the good old grill.
As one woman said: “grilling! Griddling is just like frying outside. The whole point is like to do it over an open flame.”
“We’re talking the thrill of the grill or the riddle of the grill,” says Nutritionist Leslie Bonci of ActiveEatingAdvice.com.
From a health standpoint, Bonci says when it comes to meats the grill is healthier than the griddle.
“It’s a flat surface, nothing can drip through so if you are, are doing a fatty meat, where’s the fat going to go, it’s going to stay right there,” Bonci says. “The difference with grilling is right there in between the grates so if you’re making something that has fat, where are that fat going? It’s going down onto the coals.”
WATCH: Getting Creative On The Grates
But what is a virtue for the grill is also a curse when it comes to things other than meats.
“You put the veggies on the grill or the little pieces of shrimp, it’s like, oh no, and there they are down in the abyss of the coals,” she says.
Which is where the griddle comes in.READ MORE: Consumer Alert Issued For Italian Village Pizza/Shake Shop In Pleasant Hills
To make it healthier she says to go easy on the oil.
“You know a lot of people that don’t like vegetables regularly, really love them when they’re grilled they just bring that wonderful taste that char is the star,” Bonci says.
Whether on the griddle or the grill, think creatively.
“Doing something like a grilled fruit, it’s fabulous to do that grilled watermelon or grilled pineapple, It just brings that taste to the mix, absolutely delicious grilled peaches can do that as well,” Bonci says.
Yes, she said watermelon.
“What I like to do is take the watermelon, a tiny little bit of a hot pepper jelly on it, and you just flip one side to the other, fabulous,” she says.
Want to jazz up your holiday burger?
Bonci says to try, “50% ground beef and 50% chopped mushrooms. The mushrooms actually bring a nice meaty flavor, and you’re cutting down overall on the amount of fat but you’re preserving all that flavor. It works beautifully.”
If you do use a griddle Bonci says, “Do the veggies on the griddle and if you don’t want things overladen with fat do the veggies first take them off then do the meat, or vice versa.”
Make sure to wipe the griddle after you cook the meat to prevent the fat from getting into the veggies.MORE NEWS: Police: 2 Young Kids Critically Hurt In Quadruple Shooting
Bonci says, don’t overhandle the meat as you cook and you might want to minimize alcohol intake or phone distractions if you want to avoid ending up with charred food.