A Review of the Blackstone 36″ Griddle

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Introduction

2023 saw continued growth in the variety of appliances available for outdoor cooking. From kettle BBQs and ceramics to offsets, pizza ovens, and griddles, the options are expanding, offering consumers more choices than ever (a good thing). Additionally, the advent of ‘smart’ devices has made outdoor cooking more accessible to many people.

Among the different outdoor cooking devices, griddles or flat-top grills have become increasingly popular. Blackstone’s CEO, Roger Dahle, predicts that griddles could capture up to 40% of the market share as the gas BBQ market in the US declines. With this backdrop, let’s delve into my review of the Blackstone 36″ Griddle.

For full transparency, I was a Brand Ambassador for Blackstone and have been using the 36″ Griddle for about 15 months.

Setting Up the Griddle

Setting up the Blackstone 36″ Griddle was straightforward, even for someone who admits to being “rubbish at DIY”. The hardest part was attaching the gas hose, but overall, I managed to assemble it on my own. I do recommend having help when lifting the griddle onto the frame, as it is quite heavy.

Features of the Griddle

The Blackstone 36″ Griddle feels like it is made from quality materials has a number of well thought out, user-friendly features:

  • Spacious Cooking Surface: With 720 square inches of cooking space, this griddle provides ample room to cook for large gatherings or meal prepping.
  • Side Shelves: Two side shelves provide ample space for prep and tools.
  • Utensil Hooks and Magnetic Strip: One side shelf has hooks for utensils, while the other features a magnetic strip for other tools.
  • Underneath Storage: Includes a kitchen roll holder for quick cleaning access and a bottle opener.
  • Four Burners: These allow for the creation of different heat zones, making it versatile for various cooking methods.
  • Rear Grease Management System: Makes cleanup easier by directing grease into a removable catch pan, reducing mess and maintenance time.
  • Durable Construction: Made from cold-rolled steel, the griddle top is designed to withstand high heat and heavy use.

Cooking on the Blackstone 36″ Griddle

Seasoning the Griddle

Before cooking, it’s essential to season the griddle, similar to preparing a cast-iron skillet. Apply a thin layer of oil (I used Rapeseed Oil) and let it cook off. Repeat this process 3-4 times to build up a non-stick surface. This process not only prevents food from sticking but also enhances the flavour of your dishes over time. You should use an oil with a medium to high smoke point. The reasons for this are:

Prevents Smoking and Burning

Oils with a low smoke point, like extra virgin olive oil, start to smoke and burn at lower temperatures. This can lead to an unpleasant taste and smell, and it can even produce harmful compounds. Medium to high smoke point oils, like rapeseed, withstand higher temperatures before smoking, making them ideal for seasoning.

Creates a Durable Non-Stick Surface

The seasoning process involves heating the oil to the point where it polymerizes (forms a hard, non-stick coating) onto the griddle surface. Oils with a high smoke point reach the necessary temperatures without breaking down, ensuring a smooth, durable, and effective non-stick layer. This makes cooking and cleaning easier while extending the life of your griddle.

Enhances Flavour Without Unwanted Residues

Low smoke point oils can leave a burnt residue on the griddle, affecting the flavour of the food you cook. High smoke point oils, when properly heated, create a clean seasoning layer that enhances the flavour of your dishes without any unwanted burnt tastes.

Maintains Griddle Condition

Regular seasoning with the right oils prevents rust and keeps your griddle in top condition. The protective layer formed by polymerized oil acts as a barrier against moisture and oxygen, preventing rust and corrosion.

Efficient Heating

A properly seasoned griddle with high smoke point oils heats more evenly and efficiently. This is crucial for achieving the perfect sear on steaks, evenly cooked pancakes, and delicious grilled vegetables.

Create Your Cooking Zones

With having the 4-burner version you can easily create cooking zones with different temperatures. This is ideal to help you manage your cook and also keep everything warm to serve at the same time.

An infrared thermometer is really useful if you have a griddle (or plancha). This will give you the temperature of the griddle surface, giving you an indication of how hot it is and whether it is ready to begin your cooking.

Favourite Dishes

Griddles don’t offer the same versatility as a traditional BBQ/Grill. However, they are far from a 1-trick pony. Here are some of my favourite dishes to cook on the Blackstone:

  • Smashburgers
    • The griddle gets hot enough to create crispy edges on the burgers.
    • Using a cloche helps melt the cheese perfectly.
    • Great for warming/toasting your rolls (if that’s your thing)
  • American Style Pancakes
    • The large surface allows for cooking multiple pancakes simultaneously, reducing cooking time from 30 minutes in the kitchen to just 5-10 minutes. Great if you are cooking for a group of people.
  • Chicken & Steak Wraps
    • Cook the meat in the hotter zone while preparing vegetables and wraps in the cooler area.
    • Combine everything before serving to mix the flavours.
  • French Toast (Eggy Bread)
    • Quick and easy to cook on the Blackstone.
  • Fry Ups (English Breakfast)
    • Perfect for making a full English breakfast. It really does excel here!!! The big 36″ has loads of space to get everything cooking at once, which is great if cooking for a group of people.
  • Tacos
    • It’s great for cooking up different tacos; breakfast, fish, beef, chicken or pork (you name it).
    • I’ll usually cook the meat on one of my other BBQ’s (or smoker) and then finish them off using the Blackstone.
    • As with wraps, I’ll use the different heat zones to manage the cook.
  • Scallops & Bacon
    • The Blackstone Griddle does a great job searing scallops and cooking streaky bacon – a classic combo!!!

Additional Cooking Tips

  • Use High-Quality Oils: Use oils with high smoke points like canola, vegetable, or avocado oil for seasoning and cooking.
  • Preheat Properly: Allow the griddle to preheat for 10-15 minutes to ensure even cooking temperatures.
  • Keep It Clean: Regularly scrape off food residue and grease to maintain the non-stick surface and longevity of the griddle.

Verdict

With so many options available for outdoor cooking, there is something for everyone based on their preferences and needs. While I personally enjoy cooking over charcoal for the challenge and the flavour, the Blackstone 36″ Griddle is a great appliance if you are just looking for a griddle. It offers a large cooking surface and versatile cooking options, though smaller models might be more suitable for those who don’t need as much space.

Blackstone is also innovating with models that include built-in air fryers, broadening the scope of what you can cook outdoors. Before purchasing any outdoor grill, consider what you plan to cook, the number of people you’ll be serving, and your budget. Again for me personally, the price of these is a little steep (upward of £800). Costco had these recently for £499 which looks a far more competitive price to me. This is further sickening when you see the price of these in the US (under $300 (£250) at the time of writing).

If a griddle fits your needs, the Blackstone 36″ Griddle is an excellent choice, but think carefully about what you want to cook outdoors as a kettle or ceramic BBQ paired with a good quality plancha could do the cooks you desire and give you some future proofing if you get the BBQ bug.

Happy cooking!

 

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