After throwing a couple of backyard barbeque parties, all of your guests are well familiar with your great cooking skills. They’re surely looking forward to eating delicious food, but let’s face it – there’s nothing too exciting for them to see while you’re flipping burgers on the grill. But what if I told you there’s a way to bring in that Mongolian restaurant experience right into your backyard? 

Until recently, griddles were reserved for restaurants, but nowadays you can get one of those for your backyard too! And you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for that. We can thank companies like Blackstone who decided to sell high-quality griddles at an affordable price for personal use. 

While Blackstone offers griddles in different sizes, we’ll focus on their 36-inch model in this review. In our opinion, it’s the model that will fit anyone’s needs. 

Blackstone 36-inch Gas Griddle Specifications

  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Dimensions: 62.5 x 22 x 36 inches
  • Total cooking area: 720 square inches
  • Number of burners: 4
  • Total BTU-per-hour Input: 60,000
  • Warranty: 90 days

Key features

  • 4 independently controlled burners that allow you to set up different heat zones
  • Comes with 720 square inches of cooking area which gives you enough room to cook for 8 people at a time
  • Two large side shelves and a bottom rack give you plenty of storage and prep space

Blackstone 36-inch Gas Griddle Overview

This specific griddle was actually Blackstone’s groundbreaking product. After its initial success, they decided to expand their griddle range, but all of their latter products were based on this first model. Like any other product, this griddle has its pros and cons, which we’ll elaborate in detail below. 

What We Liked

  • Cooking versatility – A griddle lets you prepare just about any type of food outside, be it pancakes, burgers, veggies or scrambled eggs. 
  • Large cooking surface – 720 square inches of the cooking area is big enough to prepare food for eight people at the same time. This huge cooking area allows you to prepare, let’s say, meat on one side of the grill and veggies on another, all of that spread out so the juices don’t mix. 
  • Independently controlled burners – Depending on how many people you’re making food for, you can choose to use only one or two burners. No reason to spend so much fuel if you’re only cooking 4 burgers, right? Furthermore, you can set each burner to the desired temperature, which allows you to create different heat zones on the griddle. This allows you to cook diverse food that has different cooking times and temperatures – all at the same time! 
  • Ample prep space – additional prep space is always important for outside grills. You need a place for the food that’s about to go on the griddle, seasoning, tableware and all the cooking utensils. Otherwise, you need to bring a table next to the griddle to hold all that stuff. With small patios and backyards, it’s obvious how this could be an issue. This Blackstone griddle has two foldable side shelves, as well as a bottom rack, giving you an optimal space usage.
  • Caster wheels – This griddle weighs 134 pounds, and you’d probably get a hernia from lifting it up to move it from the garage to the patio, for example. Therefore, industrial-strength caster wheels on this product were a must. The wheels on the left side are lockable, so you can rest assured your griddle will stay in place on every terrain.
  • Foldability – Since it’s quite heavy, you won’t exactly carry this griddle in your backpack on a camping trip. But if you have a car or camper, you can take your favorite cooking appliance with you. The legs are foldable and it can fit in a car trunk easily.
  • Ease of cleaning – A griddle is much easier to clean than a grate. Once it’s cooled down, wet the griddle with a spray bottle and wipe it with a grill sponge. If anything sticky remains on the cooking surface, use a scraping tool to remove it. Paper towels are another option for cleaning the griddle. Last but not least, empty out the grease pan.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Heavy – As mentioned above, the griddle weighs 134 pounds, which is almost as heavy as a kitchen stove. Caster wheels and foldable legs make up a bit for its weight, but if you need to carry it up the stairs, even folded, you’re up for a tough task.
  • Not for indoor use – It’s called a backyard grill for a reason. Theoretically, you could use a gas grill indoors, but they produce a large amount of carbon monoxide and, without proper ventilation, that could kill you. In fact, a dozen people are killed every year by using an outdoor grill inside. Plus, there’s always a possibility of gas leaks.
  • Rust-prone surface material – The cooking surface is made out of rolled carbon 7-gauge steel, unlike the rest of the body, which is made out of stainless steel. Carbon steel rusts way easier than stainless steel.

What’s the Build Quality Like

The first thing you need to do once you buy this griddle is to assemble it, which isn’t difficult. It has a few body parts, and the rest are screws and nuts. The instruction manual that goes with the package is well-detailed so you can’t go wrong. You’ll only need two tools for the assembly – Phillips-Head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. 

Putting the griddle together shouldn’t take you more than half an hour. Once that’s done, you have a griddle that measures 62.5-inch by 22-inch by 36-inch. Needless to say, you should probably assemble this griddle somewhere close to where it will be placed, since it’s quite heavy. Caster wheels are helpful when moving it around, but if you need to lift it, you might need someone’s help. 

Besides being heavy, this griddle is quite sturdy. The body is made out of stainless steel,  which is a great option for an outdoor grill, since it has to withstand different weather conditions. However, the cooking surface is the only part of the grill that isn’t made out of stainless steel. Instead, it’s made out of rolled carbon 7-gauge steel, which will rust over time.

Let’s be clear, stainless steel isn’t exactly a corrosion-proof material – if you don’t take care of it properly, it will rust. After all, steel it’s an alloy of iron, and iron oxidizes. But the main difference between stainless steel and carbon steel is that the prior contains chromium. Chromium attaches itself to oxygen and that way it creates an invisible layer that provides corrosion resistance. Carbon steel typically doesn’t have enough chromium to create that layer, which results in iron oxide, or in other words, rust.

We’d advise you to get a quality grill cover which will protect your griddle from weather conditions when not used. And since it’s easily foldable, it’s advisable to keep it inside the garage during cold periods of the year when you don’t plan on using it a lot.

How Well Does the Blackstone 36-inch Griddle Perform?

If you’ve never used a griddle before, trying out this bad boy will be super exciting. You’ll feel like a chef in a teppanyaki-style restaurant. We can bet that in a few days, you’ll find yourself practicing those knife tricks and flame cooking to show off at your next barbeque party!

This griddle runs on a 20-pound propane canister which you need to buy separately. The ignition is simple – one push of a button starts up four burners. These are made out of stainless steel, and with proper maintenance, you don’t have to worry about corroding. Each burner puts out 15,000 BTUs per hour, which makes up a total of 60,000BTUs, making this griddle a beast.

The burners can be used individually, which gives you a more precise heat control. Given that the size of the cooking surface is 720 square inches, it would be a waste of fuel using all four burners to prepare, for example, a couple of veggie skewers. Instead, turn only one or two knobs. 

Individual burners allow you to set up different heat zones. This means that you can cook your meat on the left side of the griddle, while the veggies are prepared at a low temperature on the right side. This two-zone cooking system is especially great for preparing stakes using the reverse sear method – that’s when you cook your steak on a low heat and then placing it on a hot side of the grill to sear it up and get a brown crust. 

As we previously mentioned, the cooking surface is made out of rolled carbon steel. It’s supposed to be seasoned just like your cast iron pan, which flavors your food in a unique way. The seasoning also doesn’t allow the food to stick to the surface. Rolled steel is great at distributing and retaining heat, which makes it a good cooking surface material.

The great thing about griddles in general is that you don’t have to worry about grease dripping on burners. These juices go through a grease drainage system, which Blackstone updated recently. The older version had a gutter on the front side of the griddle, that drains the grease to the grease pan located on the side. However, more often than not, the grease dripped down the leg of the griddle, making a mess. 

So Blackstone came up with a new rear grease management system. On this model, grease goes down through the hole on the rear of the griddle, into a removable pan underneath. Mess-wise, this is a great improvement, since juices go where they need to. However, it’s not ideal if you’re cooking a lot of really greasy food at a time and it fills up quickly. This thing is also made out of steel, meaning it’s hot. You need to make sure you’re wearing gloves when emptying it out.

Sale
Blackstone 1554 Station-4-burner-Propane Fueled-Restaurant Grade-Professional 36 inch Outdoor Flat...
  • Easy assembly, and quick ignition button
  • Griddle top is easily removable. Rolled Carbon 7-Gauge Steel Griddle Top
  • Four independently controlled burners with low to high temperature settings provide versatile cooking options
  • Four industrial strength, caster wheels (two are lockable)
  • Solid stainless Steel burners for long life, and thick Rolled Steel surface for excellent heat retention and distribution

Last update on 2020-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Seasoning the Griddle

Remember how we said rolled steel rusts? Well, there’s a way to prolong the life of the cooking surface made out of that material, and that’s by seasoning it. Seasoning is a process of baking oil into the metal, creating a non-stick surface and a protective layer from oxidation. The griddle does have a tiny layer of soy oil on it when you first get it – it’s a way to protect it from rust during the shipping process. But you still need to season it properly before first use.

For initial seasoning you can use just about any oil you have. People most commonly use extra virgin olive, flaxseed, canola or other vegetable oil. Before you go in with an olive layer, wipe the griddle with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt. Then, apply 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil of your choice to the cooking surface and spread it with a paper towel.

Turn the griddle on and heat the oil up to the smoke point and leave it like that until it stops smoking and the griddle starts to discolor, which is what you’re aiming for. This will take around 20 to 25 minutes. Then it’s time to let it cool down before the second coat. In fact, you should do this a few times, until you get a dark cooking surface.  A well-seasoned griddle has a shiny black and non-sticky surface. This will happen gradually – the more you cook the more it becomes like that. 

The griddle should be cleaned after every use. Usually, that’s done with a paper towel or a wet cloth, but if something’s stuck on the surface, use a spatula or a scraper and gently scrape that. After you clean it, you should apply a very thin oil coat to restore the protective layer.

No matter how well you think you’re preserving your griddle, there’s a high chance of rust appearing on the surface, but that’s not a big deal. If that happens, rub it off with a wool cloth or high grit sandpaper. Then repeat the seasoning process.

Should You Buy the Blackstone 36-inch Gas Griddle?

Once you lay down all the pros and cons of this griddle, we’d say that this is a pretty good buy. You get a large cooking surface that allows you to prepare food for the whole party at one go. But if you’re cooking just for yourself, you can use only one part of the grill. If you can pass by minor problems regarding the grease drainage system, it’s a griddle you’ll surely be happy with. For a lot of grill fanatics, just the fun of flipping food and fire cooking can be enough to sell this griddle.