After removing the Flat Top from the packaging, wash the top surface with hot water and a small amount of dish soap using a nylon dish scrubber or equivalent. Blot dry immediately with a lint-free rag or cloth. Turn your cooktop burners to medium low heat and allow the Flat Top to come to temperature. Using a metal spatula, spread a thin layer of vegetable oil on the entire cooking surface. Keep it heated for 10-15 minutes before allowing to cool completely.
Install drip tray beneath drainage holes at front of Flat Top.
Just like any new tool it may take some trial and error to find the best settings on your particular stove to get the temperature and cooking times you like to work with. It’s important to note that because the mass of the Flat Top is so much greater than common pans or skillets that it will cook food faster than you may be used to. We do believe that an infrared thermometer is an invaluable tool for finding the perfect temperature on your Flat Top. The Flat Top is designed to handle a maximum temperature of 600 degrees while most cooking occurs well below 500 degrees. It’s important not to heat the Flat Top beyond the recommended temperature to prevent any potential warping or damage to the Flat Top itself. Most stoves will require only 1/3 power to heat the Flat Top to 400 degrees or more.
Get right to it: Clean the Flat Top immediately after use, while it is still hot or warm. Don’t soak the Flat Top or leave it in the sink because it may rust.
Add hot water: Wash the Flat Top by hand using some hot water and a sponge or stiff brush. Avoid using soap or steel wool, as these may strip the seasoning.
Scrub off stuck-on bits: To remove stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste of Steelmade Flat Top Scrub, then rinse or wipe with a paper towel.
Dry the Flat Top: Thoroughly towel dry the Flat Top or dry it on the stove over low heat.
Oil it: Using a cloth or paper towel, apply a light coat of Steelmade Flat Top Oil or suitable alternative to the entire top surface of the Flat Top. This process is usually easier when the Flat Top is warm. Some people also like to oil the outside of the Flat Top on occasion. Buff to remove any excess.
Put it away: Store the Flat Top in a dry place.
Your Flat Top is made from carbon steel and shares many characteristics with traditional cast iron cookware. Like cast iron, your Flat Top does not emerge from the box with a nonstick surface. That comes with seasoning, or coating the skillet with cooking oil and heating it. Seasoning is simply oil baked onto the steel that prevents rust and provides a natural, easy-release finish that continues to improve with use. The Flat Top won’t take on that shiny black patina immediately, but with time and use your Flat Top Griddle will continue to darken as it seasons.
Occasionally when your seasoning works a little too hard with acidic foods or really high heat, you may notice some dark residue on your towel when cleaning. This is perfectly safe and normal, and will go away with regular use and care.
Tips and Tricks
Pre-heat gently - Because the Flat Top is so large it can take time for it to heat evenly. Once it’s up to temp it will stay there for a long time! We recommend starting with your stove set to low heat and gradually increasing the heat until you get to your target temp. It’s actually easier to make it hotter once it’s already warmed up, by pre-heating slowly you can control the heat more easily. To be efficient with your time you can start the pre-heating process while you’re getting your ingredients together. It typically takes 10-15 minutes to completely pre-heat the Flat Top.
Start low and don’t overheat! - You might get the urge to turn your burners up to full blast the first time you use the Flat Top, but don’t! Most cooktops only need to be set to 1/3 to 1/2 power to heat the Flat Top to over 500 degrees. Our test stoves only need to be set to 3 out of 10 to reach 400 degrees for cooking. Most chefs agree that the maximum cooking temperature you’ll ever need is 500-550 degrees for searing a steak. The Flat Top is designed to handle temperatures up to 600 degrees without damage. However, torture testing has shown that a regular electric coil stove set to full power can heat the Flat Top to an insane 900 degrees. Even the heavy duty Flat Top isn’t designed to endure those temperatures without warping.
Avoid the smoke - As the name alludes, the smoking point is the temperature at which a fat or oil begins to smoke. It’s important to choose the right oil for the cooking temperature you’re using to avoid creating smoke when cooking. Vegetable Oil has a relatively high smoke point of 400 degrees and is a common choice for most cooking. Olive Oil is a popular choice but has a lower smoke point of 375 degrees. For higher temperature cooking you can consider Peanut Oil (450 degrees) or Avocado Oil (570 degrees).
Don’t use just one burner - Using just one burner to heat your Flat Top with can cause it to warp or buckle. If you’re only cooking a small meal we still recommend turning all of the burners on or removing the Flat Top and using a skillet instead.