The carbon steel Chef King Griddle line from Rocky Mountain Cookware is a prosumer chef’s dream.

Every cook needs a good griddle.  Why not use one found in thousands of restaurants across the world?  At Montana Outdoorsman we are always looking for versatile products that perform just as well at home as they do at elk camp or over a fire.  Enter the Chef King Griddle line from Rocky Mountain Cookware.  These durable, rugged griddles will serve up mass amounts of delicious food and great memories for years to come.

First a Clarification:

There seems to be some confusion on Amazon and other retail sites. I’ve read several Amazon reviews confusing Chef King as the manufacturer of these griddles when in reality Chef King is a product line produced by the company Rocky Mountain Cookware. I’ll talk more about Rocky Mountain Cookware below. For the purposes of this Chef King Griddle review, I will also use the brand name Rocky Mountain Cookware to describe the griddles.

The Company – Rocky Mountain Cookware

Globalization is taking more and more jobs overseas as companies are taking advantage of the low costs of producing their products in developing countries. There are a few companies who are resisting the trend and continuing to manufacture their products in America. Rocky Mountain Cookware is exactly that kind of company.  They have now been cranking out die-stamped griddles for over two decades.

Rocky Mountain Cookware is perfect for people who want to move away from non-stick cookware surfaces like Teflon. In the early 2000’s chemical manufacturers came under fire as the effects of the chemicals used to create Teflon became known. PFOA or C8 is a type of synthetic acid used in the process of manufacturing Teflon cookware.

Consumers began looking for alternatives to Teflon. Enter carbon steel. Carbon steel is similar to cast iron (another great option). It has gained popularity in recent years because it is lighter and more durable than cast iron.

Carbon steel is approximately 99% iron, so in many ways, it will perform similar to cast iron. Similar properties include weight and poor heat conductivity compared with cookware such as copper, and aluminum. What sets carbon steel apart from cast iron is that it is slightly lighter than cast and MUCH less brittle. If you drop your favorite cast iron skillet you will usually break off the handle at least. You may be picking up the pieces. The small amount of carbon added to the iron in carbon steel means your carbon steel pan will bend before it breaks if it bends at all.

 

Pros of Carbon Steel:

  • Can be seasoned to a nearly non-stick surface as baked-on oil makes a layer of built-up polymers.
  • Can be used on induction cooktops because it’s magnetic (however for the purpose of this griddle your induction burners will need to be bridged to ensure even heating)
  • Get away from dangers of cooking with Teflon

 

Cons of Carbon Steel:

  • It’s lighter than cast iron but it’s still pretty heavy.
  • Carbon steel will rust when exposed to water or humidity. Any part of the griddle that is not seasoned will rust if allowed to sit wet. The good news is that minor rust can usually be removed relatively easily.
  • We’ve already mentioned uneven heating. This will primarily be an issue depending on the cooktop you are using.

 

Chef King 12 x 20 Inch Carbon Steel Griddle – Product Being Reviewed

For the purposes of this review, I got my hands on the Rocky Mountain Cookware Chef King model RM1220 carbon steel griddle. The Chef King line has three griddles in it. I will break down the differences between the griddles at the end of the article. We have had our hands on all three griddles.  All three contain the same basic design and we love them all.

Features include:

  • ½” lip
  • corners that make pouring off grease or oil easier
  • foldable handles for easier storage and convenient handling
  • Heavy-duty carbon steel
  • NSF certification (National Sanitation Foundation – develops standards and tests products to ensure public health and safety)

First Impressions:

The griddle comes in a fairly normal cardboard box. My first thought is that this thing feels really solid and well made. It’s a big hunk of steel. The handles come folded in but easily fold out for grip.

The next thing you will notice is that the griddle is covered in a greasy film. The setup and care instructions explain that this is a “food safe rust inhibitor” applied to the griddle to keep it from rusting while it sits in the warehouse. This is perfectly normal for all carbon steel cookware that is sold unseasoned. Different companies use different rust inhibitors. Many use beeswax. The Chef King Lineup is NSF certified so we can assume that whatever they are using must be nontoxic.

Initially, you will want to wash your griddle thoroughly. I do mean thoroughly. It took me several trips through hot soapy water to get all that black stuff off.

Warning: Do not let your griddle drip dry between washings. One of the golden rules of carbon steel cookware is that you always dry it after washing. Using heat is the best way (i.e. put it on the stove and heat until dry).

 

Seasoning Carbon Steel Griddles:

I’m not going to go into too much detail here. I have a complete explanation of how to season your carbon steel griddle [here].

Basically you are going to create a layer of carbon polymers by applying a thin layer of oil and heating the griddle. You will want to repeat this process. A thin layer of oil. Heat the griddle. Repeat. There’s no rocket science here. You can do it in any number of ways. On your stovetop will work if you can provide even heating. You can put it in the oven if your oven is big enough to fit the griddle inside. I did mine on the barbecue. The oil produces a bit of smoke as it heats and I was glad I didn’t fill the house with that.

The seasoning will initially appear as a translucent brown sheen (much like a cookie sheet). As I applied layers it began to darken. Your griddle will continue to season as you cook with it.   Eventually, it will even look black.

If at any time you are unhappy with your seasoning it can be easily removed. Click [here] for our tutorial on removing the seasoning on a griddle.

Chef King Griddle Review Carbon Steel Rocky Mountain Cookware

Cooking:

It is obvious that this thing was made to handle high volumes. Once it’s dialed in this griddle will absolutely slay large amounts of food. I’ve cooked fried eggs and scrambled eggs on it. They scrape right off with no effort. Hamburgers come out with a beautifully caramelized exterior. Sausage cooks to perfection and you can HUGE quantities fast. You will feel like a professional chef cooking pancakes and French toast for your whole crew.

This griddle really is so much fun to cook on because you have the same tool in your kitchen as many restaurants are using in theirs.

Two of my favorite things to cook on this griddle:

  1. Bacon: I hate cooking bacon indoors and this griddle makes it super convenient to cook bacon on the barbecue out on the porch. The lip is deep enough to hold the grease and the handles make it easy to pour it off into a grease bucket. Delicious crispy bacon and my house won’t smell like bacon for the next week.
  2. Steak: Another thing this griddle does incredibly well is put a perfect sear on the outside of the steak. It can then be cooked to the desired doneness using other methods. If you’ve been looking for a perfect sear look no further.

 

There are a few things I’ve learned cooking on this griddle.

  1. You must keep even heat to avoid warping it. I’m not sure you could warp this thing because it is really solid, but it may be tempting to cook on just one side of it or make one side a “cooking” side and the other side a “keep warm” side. I would advise against this, and the company does too.
  2. Most cooking should be done at around 350°. The packaging says the griddle’s warranty covers up to 600° but I can’t think of any applications for that kind of heat.

 

For accurate temperature, I recommend buying a good surface thermometer like the Etekcity Lasergrip. That way you will be able to ensure you have even heat and avoid the risk of warping, although I doubt there is much risk because this thing is HEAVY DUTY.

See Lasergrip Price on Amazon

 

Best Applications and Uses for each Model:

I have used the Chef King griddles for everything from home use, barbecue, camping, and even cooking for large church groups. They have been great in each instance. In this next little bit, I want to break down the sizes and give my recommendations for which griddle will meet your specific needs.

Chef King 12 x 20 inch 10 Gauge Griddle – Rocky Mountain Cookware

Chef King Griddle Review- Carbon Steel

This griddle is for you if: You want a great carbon steel griddle and this size fits the dimensions of your cooktop and or barbecue.

This size is probably too small for most commercial applications. It’s perfect for covering two burners on your home stovetop. It’s made of lighter gauge steel (10 ga.) and is the lightest and smallest of the line. This means it’s portable for use over the campfire. If your camping trips tend to have lots of people then consider a bigger version.

If you are looking for something lighter and more portable check out Rocky Mountain Cookware’s Camper Griddle made to fit most Camp Stoves and RVs.

See 12×20 inch Griddle Price on Amazon

 

Chef King 14 x 23 inch 7 Gauge Griddle – Rocky Mountain Cookware

This griddle is for you if: You need more size than the smaller offering, but you don’t need the full four-burner model. In my opinion, it’s the perfect middle of the road choice. I have one of these and I have used it in many different settings. I have four growing boys so the extra cooking space means I can make more pancakes or cook an entire package of bacon all at once. With the handles folded in it’s barely bigger than a cookie sheet (although much heavier)

See 14×23 inch Griddle Price on Amazon

 

Chef King 23 x 23 inch 7 Gauge Griddle – Rocky Mountain Cookware

This is definitely intended for commercial use but I think it has a wide variety of uses even outside the restaurant. If you have a demand for high volume food production, this griddle is a workhorse. I have seen these bad boys used in fire halls, restaurants, lodges, and bed & breakfasts. My church had one and we used it whenever we put on brunches or prayer breakfasts.

See 23×23 inch Griddle Price on Amazon

 

Final Thoughts:

This griddle is a great tool for every outdoorsman to have in his arsenal.  It would be great to have one for the cabin, one for home, one for hunting camp, and one to use over the campfire.  This griddle would make a great addition for outfitters and guides who need a hearty piece of cookware to get everyone in camp fed in an efficient manner.  After all, less time spent on breakfast means more time hunting and fishing.

I mentioned the warranty earlier. The entire Chef King line comes with a LIFETIME WARRANTY against manufacturer and material defects. This warranty only extends to the original purchaser but it’s still pretty dang awesome! As solid as these griddles are made I doubt you or your children or your grandchildren will need to make use of it.

Imagine how delicious your wild game will taste cooked to perfection on this professional cooking surface.

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