Grilling outdoors is one of life’s greatest pleasures and having a quality grill is something that can make summers and outdoor entertaining more fun. If you want to be able to create your favorite grill recipes in your own backyard, then you’re going to need some quality hardware. The Blackstone Griddle is one option that is quite unique in the market and you don’t want to miss out on the cooking that it can offer.
A griddle is not quite the same as a regular hooded grill. Griddles are used for unique recipes and in many ways, they are easier to cook on. If you demand quality but want to stay within a reasonable price range, then the Blackstone Griddle is a great option. This high quality outdoor cooking station could be all that you need to turn every grilling season into the best one yet.
Blackstone Griddle Key Product Features
The 36” Outdoor Flat Top Gas Grill Blackstone Griddle Station is a straightforward cooker without the additional features that you’d find on the average hooded gas grill. However, cooking ability is not sacrificed, as you’ll learn throughout this review.
- 36 Inch cooktop with 720 square inches of surface area.
- Steel frame and 4x stainless steel burners.
- Commercial quality with independently adjustable heat zones.
- Easy assembly and cleaning.
- Propane gas powered.
- Bottom and side shelves for storage and preparation.
- 60,000 total BTU rating.
- Easy battery powered electric ignition.
First Impressions and Construction Quality
From the moment that you unpack this grill from the box, you will realize that it’s different to the average gas grill on the market. The Blackstone Griddle is a purely flat top grill, with no hood or other features like side burners or smokers. It’s built for a single purpose and it performs its purpose exceptionally well. Due to the straightforward design, it’s also incredibly easy to assemble.
Whereas some hooded grills can take up to two hours to assemble (with help), the Blackstone Griddle can easily be unpacked from the box and put together in less than an hour. There are fewer parts than the average grill, which makes for a simpler assembly experience.
The real treat comes when you see the materials and the design that have been used. Some large hooded grills can be impressive when they’re all put together, however, they are also costly, and you can sometimes spend upwards of $400- $500 to have a true ‘premium’ look and feel from a hooded grill. Because the Blackstone Griddle has an inherently simple design, Blackstone has been able to keep all the materials premium, and there are no corners cut when it comes to quality.
The grill is assembled over a steel frame with an attractive powder coated finish which makes it look understated and of professional quality. The controls are simply laid out on the front, and the griddle plate is large, heavy, and feels durable. Even though this grill has a basic design, it still features side shelves and an undertray for storage. You get much more than what you pay for here, making this one of the best grills on the market in terms of the price to quality ratio.
Even some of the smaller features like the caster wheels will impress you. On most grills in this price range the wheels will be large, plastic, and they’ll need replacing within a few seasons. On the Blackstone you get four high quality caster wheels with brakes so that the grill can easily be moved and secured outdoors. Once you lock the brakes, the grill will be stable for long cooking sessions.
The simple design also makes this grill easy to move around. Although the size means that it isn’t quite a portable grill, it’s still significantly lighter than grills that feature the same cooking area. This means that it can easily be stored in a garage or shed and moved when you need to use it. This is ideal for protecting the grill and ensuring that it has a long lifetime, as storing it indoors will always be better than simply using a cover.
The burners used on the grill are of the straight line stainless steel variety, meaning that they’re of commercial quality and will last for many seasons. They can also be easily replaced with Blackstone or generic parts, so this is a grill that will easily last for years of regular use.
Overall, there are no complaints to be made about the construction quality and materials. Although it’s not the most aesthetically advanced grill, it does have an attractive design that will look good outside your home. The materials and construction quality make it one of the sturdiest grills that we’ve ever reviewed.
Cooking Ability – What Can You Do with the Blackstone Griddle?
The real impressive part comes when you start cooking. If you’re looking at the Blackstone Griddle and haven’t considered this type of grill before, then you’ll need to know about the types of food that it excels at.
A flat cooking surface means that you can cook all the recipes that you would usually do on a skillet, in a frying pan, or on any other flat top grill. There are no cooking grids, so you won’t get the cross-char pattern that is possible on a regular grill, but this isn’t much of a downside and only changes the presentation of your food.
You won’t be able to bake, smoke, or roast on this grill, which is an inherent limitation of a flat top grill of this style. For everything else, you will enjoy excellent cooking abilities for several recipes.
Take steak as an example. To cook perfect steak, you need a high searing temperature with good surface contact. The Blackstone Griddle will allow you to cook restaurant quality steak at home. If you want to experiment with southwest style cooking, then this grill is the perfect cooking station to use. The large flat top has a deep edge around the rear and two sides, so you can work with smaller ingredients like stripped steak, shredded chicken, and various vegetables. It’s easy to mix food on the grilling surface and you won’t need to worry about anything falling through to the underside of the grill.
You can cook eggs and pancakes, flatbread, or even ingredients for tacos and enchiladas. This is also the perfect grill for making outdoor quesadillas or simply for cooking taco wraps. With a grill weight press, you could cook burritos to perfection, starting from the ingredients and right up to toasting the soft tortilla.
Of course, this flat top Blackstone Griddle is also the ideal grill for cooking burgers, pork chops, lamb, chicken legs and breast, and skewered BBQ meat. Sausages and hot dogs are also simple to cook on this grill.
As far as size goes, you won’t be left wanting, because with 720 square inches of flat cooking surface this is one of the biggest grills in this price range.
Limitations of a Flat Top Grill
We have mentioned that the grill isn’t suited to cooking styles with the hood down, which is something to consider if you love to smoke, slow cook large BBQ cuts, or even bake in your outdoor grill. If you are looking for an option that covers these styles, then we recommend checking out our other grill and smoker reviews.
Pros and Cons of the Blackstone Griddle
This grill is not the most versatile option on the market, but what it can do it does as well as the best flat top cookers. Here are the top pros and cons that we’ve found in our review.
- Excellent cooking ability for any flat top grill style recipe.
- Suitable for breakfast food like pancakes and eggs.
- Excellent heat retention/transfer from the large surface and four powerful gas burners.
- Relatively lightweight despite its size, making it easy to store.
- Excellent construction quality with premium steel materials and heavy-duty caster wheels.
- Simple to clean thanks to the completely flat surface.
- Side shelves are basic but add additional prep space.
- Four burners allow for independent heat zones with individual controls.
- Easy assembly with good instructions from Blackstone.
- In terms of full grilling versatility, it can’t compete with hooded grills.
- Some recipes simply can’t be used on this grill, and you can’t smoke or bake.
- Gas tank mounting hook can be difficult to use in some scenarios.
Customer Feedback for the Blackstone Griddle
Feedback from real owners is always a good indication of the quality of any product. This Blackstone Griddle is one of the highest rated grills on the market, with an average score of 4.4/5 stars from more than 2,000 online customer reviews.
Owners loved many of the same benefits that we have pointed out in this review. The cooking ability is on par with any commercial flat top cooker. If you are looking for a real professional cooking station at home, then this is one of the best and most affordable ways to get one.
Blackstone Griddle owners also appreciated the simplicity of use and the easy cleaning. Most of the oil produced by this grill is collected in a tray underneath the cooking surface. It’s easy to empty and you’ll cut down on cleanup time when compared to other grills with open cooking grates.
Less than 14% of all reviewers gave this grill a rating of three stars or less. Some of the complaints related to things that would not necessarily impact your cooking experience. The gas tank mount can be difficult to use with some cannisters, so you may need to use an additional clip (or wire etc.) to get your tank securely mounted. Some owners did not like the handle placement, because both handles are on the sides of the grill where the prep trays are. While none of the complaints were deal-breakers, they are important to take note of. In the case of the handles, this is something that cannot be easily avoided with a flat top grill. Folding side trays would have made the handles easier to access, but this would also require additional engineering and would likely inflate the price of the grill.
Overall, the overwhelmingly positive customer feedback is testament to the great job that Blackstone has done when designing and manufacturing this grill.
Final Thoughts and Recommendation
While it’s not the most versatile grill on the market, the Blackstone Griddle is still one of the very best. It’s suitable only for flat top, open cooking, but for that purpose it performs better than most grills that you can buy today. If you need something with a massive surface area to cook a variety of grilled and fried foods, then this is an excellent choice.
The relatively low price really helps to sell this grill, especially considering that you get premium materials and a straightforward design that will provide quality cooking for many years. Premium additions like the wheels and the gas burners only help to make this purchase decision easier.
The Blackstone Griddle is by far one of the best grills that we’ve reviewed when all things are considered, and it’s worth a buy if a flat top cooker would work with your cooking style and favorite recipes.