Low-Technique: The Anti-Griddle

As the name suggests, The PolyScience Anti-Griddle is a flat-top cooking apparatus that uses extreme cold instead of extreme heat to modify the texture and flavors of food.  The cooking surface is a metal sheet approximately 15" x 9" that is cooled to -30ºF by specialized refrigeration gear.   

This can be used to create some unique dishes or components.  Examples include:
  1. The Moto team used the Anti-Griddle to make crepes on a recent episode of Future Food 
  2. Grant Achatz's Mango, Bonito, Soy, Sesame course at Alinea
  3. PolyScience's own Philip Preston makes a creme anglaise lollipop by griddling both sides but leaving the center creamy
Most home cooks cannot afford the 1000$ price tag.  The good news is that you can simulate the AntiGriddle at home provided you can get your hands on some dry ice.  A number of people have talked about AntiGriddle hacks before, but the first mention I could find came from Nick Kokonas.  Nick is Grant Achatz's business partner and co-owner at Alinea. In 2007,  he wrote this over at the LTHForum:
The first time Grant tried using the "anti-griddle" concept was in my house on the back of a stainless steel spatula that was resting on dry ice. It worked just fine. Obviously, that method cannot be used to prepare 90 dishes per night at a restaurant, but it would be effectively the same at home. 
So, for this low-tech hack, you simply need to sandwich dry ice between two sheet pans.  Hey, I said low-tech.  What did you expect?

If you are going to do this, here are some basic tips and precautions:
  1. At -79ºF and lower, dry ice is considerably colder than the Anti-Griddle.  Do NOT touch Dry Ice.  You can suffer some pretty serious injuries here, and you need good ventilation in your workspace.  Make sure you read the CDC guidelines on handling dry ice.  Use similar precautions in handling the sheet pans.
  2. Use some non-stick spray to make it easy to flip and remove items.
  3. Check out PolyScience's guide for some other ideas on what you can do with this technique.  


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