Why You Should Never Throw Tortillas On The Grill
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Why You Should Never Throw Tortillas On The Grill

Apr 25, 2024

Whether you make your own or get them from a local grocery store, few things are better than a freshly warmed tortilla. And if you're grilling out, you may be tempted to place tortillas directly on the grates to ensure they're nice and toasty. While convenient, exposing tortillas to the open flames and high temperatures of a grill will quickly dry them out and result in an unpleasantly rigid texture. The preferred method of reheating involves a plancha, which is a flat cooking implement similar to a griddle. Planchas are great for evenly dispersing heat, which keeps the tortilla moist as it is reheating.

Planchas can consist of just the cook surface, which is placed directly onto the grill grates, or they can be powered by gas or electricity and used independently of the grill. Tortillas can also be reheated on a comal, a weighty skillet often made of cast iron that is placed atop cook surfaces. Like other types of cast iron cooking implements, comals must be oiled (i.e., seasoned) to prevent food from sticking to the surface.

If you want to use a plancha or comal with your grill, you'll need to prepare it first. With a gas grill, you can set the temperature between 450 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to charcoal briquettes, allow them to heat up for five minutes or so or until the exterior of the briquettes turns a white, ashy color. Once the grill has reached the desired temperature, you can position your cooking implement atop the grates. Wait around 10 minutes to ensure the plancha or comal reaches the right temperature, then distribute tortillas across the surface.

Tortillas will heat up rapidly, so be sure to keep your eye on the grill. You'll also need to flip them once (preferably with a pair of tongs), which ensures each side is properly cooked. Your best bet is to pull the tortillas off the cooking surface when they begin to brown, at which point you risk them getting burned if they're exposed to heat for much longer. For safety reasons, never touch a heated plancha or comal directly.

If you're without the preferred cooking implements for reheating tortillas, there are other methods you can use in a pinch. For instance, an oven works quite well, provided you take steps to prevent overheating. Placing tortillas in an aluminum foil packet helps them retain moisture and allows you to heat up multiple tortillas at once. After wrapping, place the foil packet into an oven set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes. At this point, the tortillas should be nice and toasty while still being pliable.

If you're looking for a faster and more convenient reheating experience, you can also use the microwave. Take two paper towels and lightly dampen them with water. Place one paper towel on the bottom of a microwave-safe plate and place the tortillas on top of it. Take the second dampened paper towel and position it over the tortillas. Transfer the plate to the microwave and zap them for up to 30 seconds. The wet towels will prevent too much moisture from leaching away, which is key for a warm and tasty tortilla.