Pros: Adjusts to temperature quickly; distributes heat evenly; comes with lid; surprisingly cool-touch handles; large; doesn’t need as much heat; works well as a shallow skillet too
Cons: Not quite as easy to clean as non-stick; takes a little while to get used to the different heat needs
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The Maxam Chef’s Secret 5-Ply Stainless Steel Round Griddle with See-Through Glass Lid is a thing of beauty. It’s made of surgical steel, and the first thing I noticed when pulling it out of the box was how gorgeous the finish was and how elegant the form and shape were. This is truly beautiful kitchenware.
This is the first (non-electric) griddle I’ve seen that comes with a lid, and the lid has a tiny steam vent in it, which is quite clever. The knob is affixed on the wrong side of the lid for shipping, so make sure to have a screwdriver handy for re-affixing it to the right place. It’s a simple operation; I did it easily enough by myself with the screwdriver from a pocket-knife.
The lip of this griddle is just deep enough that you can use this as a shallow skillet as well as a griddle; the versatility is pretty impressive. One of my complaints about most griddles has always been that for the space they take up they don’t see much use, but I don’t think you’ll find that to be the case with this one. We’ve made pancakes and burgers on it, sure, but we’ve also cooked the filling for stuffed mushrooms on it without a problem.
It does take a little while to get used to how this griddle handles temperature, I found. I’m used to using heavy, thick, aluminum-cored cookware, and this has fairly different heat reactions. For one, it doesn’t need to be heated as much; the first few pancakes I made came out a little overly-brown!
I’m accustomed to thinking that in order to get even heat distribution out of cookware you need to use cookware that’s so thick it’ll take a while to respond to changes in heat, so I was surprised by the differences in the Maxam griddle. The griddle overhung the larger burners on our stove by a bit so I was worried parts of the pancakes would come out underdone, yet they were perfectly evenly cooked. And the griddle responds surprisingly quickly to changes in temperature; it cools off after use much faster than I’m accustomed to. I also didn’t expect the handles to stay so cool; I don’t think I once needed hot pads with them, although naturally I’d recommend using care as any cookware can become hot.
The only mild negative I had is that while this griddle certainly isn’t a real chore to clean, it just isn’t as easy to clean as, say, the Cook’s Essentials nonstick cookware we have. It’s too large to fit in our dishwasher (and most steel will water-spot if you run it through the dishwasher anyway), and it can take a little scrubbing if something happens to burn onto it. Most of the time, however, it comes clean easily, and even the difficult things aren’t that bad if you soak them a little. Obviously if you use it a lot it’ll probably never again be quite as shiny and spotless as it was when you pulled it from the box and stood staring at it in awe, but consider that a badge of honor–it just means you actually use your cookware.
I expect the 5-ply surgical steel construction of this thing will last us for years without incident or damage. This is a truly sturdy thing, and obviously it will stand up to the use of metallic implements. Even with the DuPont ScratchGuard I try to be a little careful with our Cook’s Essentials nonstick; it’s nice not to have to worry about that with this.
All in all I love this griddle. One of the major problems I’ve always had with cooking pancakes on the stove as opposed to on an electric griddle is getting even enough heating to end up with evenly-cooked pancakes, and that just isn’t a problem with this griddle. It has wonderful cooking properties, it’s truly beautiful to look at, it’s much more versatile than most griddles, and I expect it will last us for years.