8 Tips for Grilling a la Plancha

A carbon steel plancha grill instantly elevates weeknight grilling.

Plancha Grilling
Photo: Jen Causey

Grilling a la plancha ("on the griddle" in Spanish) is an easy upgrade to your charcoal kettle grill or gas grill. A simple setup—a carbon steel plancha set over a grill grate—opens a world of possibilities. Marbled cuts of meat won't flare up or dry out, veggies won't fall through the grill grate, and hard-to-sear items, like citrus and avocados, can be charred and caramelized.

Essential Tools for Plancha Cooking

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lodge carbon steel griddle

We love the Lodge Carbon Steel Griddle for its handles, slick cooking surface, and generous 18- by 10-inch area that fits on standard charcoal grills.

To buy: Lodge Carbon Steel Griddle, $37 at amazon.com

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Wok spatula

wok spatula

Intended for cooking over high heat in bowl-shaped woks, a long-handled spatula is perfect for spreading red-hot coals.

To buy: Deslon Stainless Steel Wok Spatula, $9 at amazon.com

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Grilling gloves

grill gloves

Made from flame-retardant material, grilling gloves make it comfortable to work over a hot bed of coals.

To buy: Mayferte Extreme Heat Resistant Gloves, $15 at amazon.com

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Charcoal chimney

Weber 7429 Rapid Fire Chimney Starter
Courtesy of Amazon

The easiest way to get your grill hot enough in no time.

To buy: Weber Charcoal Chimney, $17 at amazon.com

How to Cook a la Plancha

Light the Coals

Light Coals
Jen Causey

Fill each of 2 charcoal chimneys (we like this one from Weber,) with approximately 3 pounds of hardwood charcoal. Light charcoal and let burn until flames subside and coals glow bright red, about 25 minutes.

Pour Into Grill

Pour Coals into Grill
Jen Causey

Carefully pour charcoal into kettle grill, and let burn until coals are covered in a thin layer of ash, about 5 minutes. If using a gas grill, heat all zones to high (450°F to 550°F).

Arrange Coals

Arrange Coals
Jen Causey

Use a wok spatula to arrange coals in an even rectangular layer. Set grill grate in place, and set plancha on grate over bed of coals or gas flames. Let plancha heat 10 minutes.

Prep Ingredients

Prep Ingredients
Jen Causey

Toss the vegetables and rub the meat with neutral oil. Never add oil directly to the surface of the plancha (it may ignite).

Add Ingredients

Add Ingredients
Jen Causey

When plancha is very hot (water dropped on plancha will bead), use tongs to add ingredients to plancha in a single layer.


Jen Causey

Sear ingredients until charred on one side, and then flip and cook to the desired degree of doneness.

Easy Cleanup

Clean the plancha while it is still hot. Soak several paper towels with water, and roll them up together like a cigar. Using a pair of tongs to hold paper towels, rub the surface of the plancha to remove residue. Let plancha and grill cool before removing plancha.

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