Gas grills are an incredibly versatile outdoor kitchen appliance that is great for barbecuers of all experience levels to use. Though you can use a gas grill to cook a wide range of different foods, there are still limitations to what you can grill. The bars of a grill’s grates are often set too wide apart for most smaller veggies and the more runny foods are a definite no-go.
If you try to cook foods like smaller potatoes and cherry tomatoes on a grill, there’s a high chance that they’ll fall onto the burners and become unsalvageable. Fortunately, many experienced barbecuers suggest getting a grill topper or two to help barbecue these kinds of foods. To people just getting acquainted with their grills, what it is exactly is confusing.
We’ve answered this question as well as any other questions you might have about grill toppers. If you want to get one for yourself or get any other accessories, check out our catalogue to see what’s available today.
What is a grill topper?
Though the term can be quite new to people new to barbecuing, there’s a high chance that you’ve seen some of the many kinds of grill toppers in action. What a grill topper is is a question that’s simple and entirely straightforward to answer. Grill toppers are accessories that are designed to easily fit onto your grill’s grates. Primarily used to prevent smaller and more runny foods like cherry tomatoes and eggs from falling past the grates, a standard grill topper often has much smaller gaps to let the heat and smoke through.
Some grill toppers do vary greatly from the standard type. Depending on its type, some grill toppers might have higher walls or even bigger gaps between each bar. Each one has its own specified use but can all be used for grilling all sorts of foods on a gas grill.
The different kinds of grill toppers and how to use them
As mentioned earlier, there are many different kinds of grill toppers that you can get. While you only really need one to make the most out of your grill, having a few can be a much bigger help than expected. How you use one gives you a wide range of ways you can cook with your grill and the only thing that can stop you is your own imagination.
Griddles can be one of the most well-known types of grill toppers, especially since many grill stores offer long and flat griddle pans or trays as accessories. As grill toppers, many griddles might have a space underneath them to allow heat to build up. This essentially creates a second grill-like area that is perfect for grilling eggs and evenly toasting burger buns.
Larger griddle grill toppers, on the other hand, are often made of much heavier materials. Since these toppers are much flatter than other kinds, these larger grill toppers are made of cast iron to better retain heat. Regardless of their size and shape though, griddles are incredibly versatile.
Much like grill pans, grill topper baskets come in two different styles. The first and likely easiest to find is quite similar to a griddle but with much higher walls. They often tend to look like medium-sized colander bowls and are just short enough to fit under a grill’s lid. These are often the type of grill toppers to be used for smoking all sorts of diced vegetables and can even be used for tossing them.
The second style of grill basket is much more like a sturdy mesh. This style of grill topper is often used to help grill fish and prevent them from sticking to the grill’s grates. Often having hinges, a handle and a second basket to keep the food inside it, any sticking becomes far easier to clean up after. And, with enough creativity, you can even put particularly sticky veggies in it.
Many grill topper pans are quite a lot like griddles with their main difference being the small gaps in the pan itself. Though many are rectangular, the general size of these grill pans is just small enough to allow you to grill other foods more traditionally. These are the grill toppers to get if you want smoke to add flavour but still cook delicate meats like fish and seafood.
Grill pans are also quite great for cooking pizzas on your grill. Like baking pans, grill pans can also be round. Combined with smaller walls in some styles of grill toppers and handles in others, you can easily create a grilled pizza, from the base to the topping.
Do you need a grill topper to use a grill?
Though you might get many suggestions to get a grill topper, you don’t have to own one in order to use a gas grill. Though they are quite convenient, the main purpose of a grill is to cook some kinds of meat and veggies. If you find yourself grilling up burgers, steaks and kebabs more often than the smaller vegetables, avoid getting a grill topper. Many grill toppers can still cook quite a lot of meat too, but it needs to suit a barbecuer’s grilling style first!
How to use a grill topper
Regardless of the type of grill topper you get, using it is the same as grilling without it. Though they may take a few more minutes to heat up – due to their materials or however many gaps – grilling works much the same. When using a grill basket to cook smaller veggies, make sure to stir or toss them every few minutes to make sure all sides are caramelizing but besides that, how you cook depends on what foods you grill.
Grill toppers are simple but extremely helpful accessories to have for barbecuers of all experience levels. As the name suggests, a grill topper can be put onto a hot grill to cook all sorts of food. With the different styles of the accessory, grill toppers can be used for cooking anything you can think of.