The griddle has a ridged side and a flat side.
Please note that my opinion of the Half Moon Grill Grate is based on using the model on the Large Big Green Egg. There is only one size of this grate suitable for use on the Large and XL BGE’s. The grate measures 16” (40 cm) x 9” (23 cm) plus there are 2 round tabs which stick out on the sides at the 9:30 & 2:30 positions. I think they serve to keep the sides of the grate from direct contact with the ceramic fire ring. I’m not sure if they are also intended to serve as handles to pick up the grate without touching the cooking surfaces. When I say cooking surfaces that is because there are two. One side is a flat top griddle grate and the reverse side is ridged to give less contact area for foods like bacon or sausage. The griddle surface is sloped with each side being sloped towards a half moon shaped grease well on each side. The griddle is a very heavy unit made of cast iron which has what appears to be slightly pebbled surface which I’m sure is intended to help keep food from sticking. The units go for $34.95 retail and they can also be used in pairs and I did buy two to do just that.
The griddle grate allows you to use half of the grill with an open grate and the griddle on the other half.
One thing that is a bit of a puzzle is why the units aren’t the full 18” diameter of the large & are instead 16” plus the spacer tabs. But that is for others to understand I guess. The big question is how do the units work? Very well in my experience so far. The heavy cast iron heats evenly and imparts a good sear on everything I have made on it. Before using the grate I spray both sides with PAM for Grilling, the high temperature version of PAM. Then I add whatever oil or fat the recipe calls for. Nothing I’ve made so far has stuck to the grill grate, and has gotten a great sear. There is one problem I soon discovered: You need to pay close attention to the level of the grill. The griddle surface is sloped towards the well on that particular side of the griddle. If the grill isn’t level the fat or oil you are using may slope away from the grease well or collect on one side of the grill. So for even cooking you’ll want to either level your BGE and the fire ring, or shim the griddle so at least the griddle itself is level. I am still working on the best method to do this.
The half round shape is not always ideal in terms of maximizing the food on the griddle. For example here only 4 large sandwich size English muffins fit.
While the griddle cooks extremely well, all is not perfect. A semi circle is not the most efficient shape in terms of laying out your food. The two corners are often wasted unless you are dealing with small pieces of food. The two solutions to this are to get a second griddle grate (which is what I’ve done) and as long as you don’t need the open grate at the time. The other solution is to get a second BGE to allow you to do open grilling and griddle grilling and will allow you to do this at two different temperatures. This is an expensive proposition, but ultimately I’d like to get a second Large BGE. Instead off supplementing my grill and smoker, the Egg seems to be replacing them. So a second EGG makes sense in so many ways. Knowing the half moon shape is not real space efficient, you should verify ahead of time that all of the food will fit on the griddle in one round. Better to find out ahead of time that you may need to allow for multiple rounds of food on the griddle, than to find out once you are in the middle of cooking.
The griddle is great for cooking egg & look at the nice golden brown finish I got on the muffins.
So what can you cook on the griddle grate? While I haven’t made sausage on the ridged side, I have made bacon and it turned out great. The flat side is great for eggs, sauteeing mushrooms, peppers & onions, toasting rolls, muffins and buns. If you time things right you get a nice even golden brown color that is hard to beat. One thing you must watch out for is the temperature climbing on the Egg if you are going to have the lid up placing your food on the grill and cooking it. If I am going to be keeping the lid up for a while I usually close the lower draft door to 50 percent of what I was just using. This is still an on going experiment, but it seems to help. The bottom line is to keep an eye on the temperatures if you’ll be having the lid up for any length of time. Also keep a close eye on the food. The cast iron griddle is very efficient at transferring heat.
As for cleanup so far it has been a breeze. Most times I simply wash both sides with extremely hot water and a sponge with one side which has a green plastic scouring side that looks a little like a plastic Brillo pad. The sponge is made for cleaning non-stick pans and so I know it is safe for the seasoned cast iron. One time I did have some stuck on food (a glaze) which didn’t want to come off and I soaked the entire griddle in my Kitchen sink. This did the job nicely and the food came right off. Once the griddle is clean and dry I spray it with a little more PAM for grilling and store it in a plastic bag so the grate won’t get oil on anything else it comes in contact with.
So the cast iron Half Moon Griddle is the typical BGE Eggcessory. Well made, qualitly construction that IMHO is reasonably priced. I eggspect to get a lot of use out of it and have it for a long time. Part 2 of this entry will cover the Half Moon Raised Grid which allows you (among other things) to do direct grilling on your regular grill grate and indirect grilling on the raised grid.