It's been a full year since I first announced the new Baking Steel Griddle. Since that day, I've received almost daily emails and Tweets inquiring about when it will be released to the public. I'm happy to announce that today, Baking Steel is finally ready to start taking discounted pre-orders from the public, with delivery expected to begin on September 19th.
The Baking Steel Griddle, with a baking surface on one side and a flat griddle on the other, is one of my favorite pieces of kitchen gear. Placed in the oven with the flat side up, it performs all the same function as the original Baking Steel. Think: faster, better pizza with insanely crisp crusts and better browning and hole structure. Breads that bake like they were cooked in a professional bakery oven. The guarantee that you will never break another pizza stone in your lifetime (or your grandchildren's lifetimes, for that matter).
Flip the 18- by 14- by 3/8-inch slab of solid steel over and you get a polished steel surface with a grease channel that converts the Baking Steel into the world's best consumer cooking surface. The whole thing is slightly longer than the original Baking Steel, which means it fits perfectly over two burners of your range.
Sure, you'll get that huge surface that'll let you flip pancakes, fry eggs, crisp up hash, and sizzle enough bacon to feed an army, but more importantly, you get that wide surface on top of 3/8ths of an inch of solid steel. More volume means more stored heat energy, which means that you can get a sear on your steaks, burgers, shrimp, pork chops, lamb chops, or vegetables faster and better than has ever been possible in a home setting before.
Like a good carbon steel or cast iron pan, the Baking Steel Griddle will develop a dark black layer of seasoning with time and use, eventually rendering its surface completely non-stick. At this stage, I can use a paper towel to wipe a thin layer of oil onto my original prototype model and cook eggs on it with no fear at all of sticking. It's like having a diner-style griddle or Spanish plancha in my kitchen.
Simply put, if getting a good sear on your steak and burgers is something you enjoy, then you will not find a better way to do it than with the Baking Steel Griddle. This thing makes your heavy duty cast iron look like My First Pan.
If you order now through the pre-sales link, it's retailing at a price of $195 (that goes up to $249 if you wait until the actual release in September), which seems pricey until you take into account a few factors.
First off, it replaces any pizza stone you currently have or will ever buy. At around $40 to $50 a pop, the pizza stones I've had in the past have lasted at most a few years before cracking and failing. This is a buy-it-once-and-never-worry-about-it-again type product. The other factor is that a great heavy duty pan—say a 12-inch All-Clad stainless steel skillet—is gonna cost you well over $200, anyway. While the Baking Steel Griddle doesn't replace all of the functions of that pan, it exceeds it in many ways, particularly when it comes to cooking surface area and searing capacity.
I'm the kind of guy who likes to spend my money on things that are going to last me a long, long time. I can't imagine anything I own lasting as long or getting as much use as the Baking Steel Griddle.