I learned to cook at an early age. I was raised by my grandparents – mostly my grandmother, since gramps passed away from a stroke when I was 12-years old. I had a good childhood – we were dirt poor, but so was everyone else in our neighborhood – but most of my friends and I didn’t know we were poor. I don’t want to bore our readers with much of this, but as an example of being poor, my grandmother would send me to the corner grocery store – there weren’t any big supermarkets like we have today, and she would give me orders “get four slices of baloney” or “tell them you want 25-cents worth of baloney…” I had a hunch we weren’t rich by any measure. I also knew that, the grocer would give me more that I asked for, knowing we weren’t all that well off.
Looking back now, I realize we weren’t just poor, we were really poor. My own mother hardly gave my grandparents any money to help raise me, and both grandparents worked until I was about five years old – one would work the day shift at a factory, and the other the night shift, so one of them was always home to care for me. Again, not to bore our readers, but I learned to read, write and do simple math, long before I entered kindergarten – that’s how much my grandparents cared for me.
I love to barbecue, and we can usually barbecue all year round, even in the rain and snow, and we get a lot of rain in Western Oregon – but our front deck is partially covered, and I can roll the barbecue grill until the covered part of the deck and still cook – no matter the weather conditions. I was up late one night, I don’t sleep well at all – and saw an infomercial for something called the Blackstone Griddle – and it really caught my attention.
When my wife and I were first married, I did some cooking at a senior citizens home in the early mornings, and we had a huge restaurant-style griddle there to cook on – it made it fast and easy to prepare breakfast orders for everyone. I always thought having such a griddle would be great to have – but where to put it?
After watching the Blackstone griddle infomercial, I was sold, and the next day started shopping around for one of these griddles. Little did I know they had a lot of different models to chose from. I settled on the one with a 36-inch cooking surface – it is big! My oldest daughter told me that Walmart sells them – where she works as the security manager/assistant store manager, and of course, the price was far less than the retail price. She brought my prize home the next day and she is great at assembling things – she had it all put together in half an hour.
The cooking surface is rectangular, as measured diagonally it comes out to 36-inches. So it is really big, as already mentioned. The entire set-up weighs around 125-pounds. Most of this weight is in the griddle surface itself – its probably 100-pounds alone. It has four rolling wheels, and two of them lock, so there’s no worries about the griddle moving around when you don’t want it to. There are also two side shelves on either side, for placing your condiments and the foods you want to cook – very nice – and this provides plenty of room. This model has four burners – and it operates off of propane. I will say this, these burners heat-up FAST – VERY FAST for your cooking needs. Of course, it has the auto ignition system, simply turn-on the burners you want to use and press the igniter and you’re good to go – just that fast.
When you first get a Blackstone griddle, you need to “season” the cooking surface, and you can’t rush this job, you wipe the cooking surface down with cooking oil, while all four burners are on, and you just wait until the oil burns off – repeat this 3 or 4 times and your cooking surface is ready to go. There is also a grease catcher on the rear of the cooking surface. Plus, and lower shelf under the cooking surface if you need it to place things on it. The Blackstone does not come with a propane tank, but takes the the standard 20-pound cans.
The four burners provide you with a whopping 60,000 BTUs of heat – did I happen to mention how hot this thing gets? The cooking surface measures out to 720 square inches – lots of room for cooking lots of things. The cooking surface is rolled 7-gauge steel – as already mentioned it is heavy. The one thing I don’t care for is that the cooking surface just sits on the stand – it isn’t attached to anything. You can take this griddle out to your favorite picnic area, but be sure to remove the top cooking surface before transporting it – you don’t want it falling off.
I also hear some questions about those 60,000 BTUs for cooking – yep, sure enough, that will burn-up a lot of propane – that is, if you are using all four burners. Again, as I mentioned, this griddle heats up VERY fast, and it cooks very fast, too. So, if you are only using one or two burners, you won’t go through propane as fast as you think you will. My 6-burner barbecue grill doesn’t get very hot, and it takes a good long time to cook on it. I go through a 20-pound propane tank in a year. I’m not sure how much propane you will go through with the Blackstone griddle, but the way it heats up the cooking surface so fast, and it cooks so fast – it may not use as much propane as you think it will – unless you have all four burners going…I’ve only used two burners for my cooking needs thus far.
Speaking of cooking, you can cook 28 big burgers at one time, or 16 big steaks, 72 hot dogs – one of my favorite foods, and of course, 72 slices of bacon – haven’t had to cook that much – yet! My wife made pancakes and cooked on the Blackstone – and they have an entirely different taste, than when she uses the electric grill in the kitchen, and I love the outdoorsy taste of the pancakes on the griddle. Plus, shredded hash brown potatoes on the Blackstone – we are talking restaurant quality – I kid you not. We all loved shrimp, and cooking several pounds of it on the Blackstone – doesn’t take-up much room on the cooking surface and in no time at all, the shrimp are cooked to perfection. We are talking the ultimate party machine.
No Power? No Problem
Now, all of this brings us to survival, as it should. Many kitchen stoves these days use electricity, and when the power goes out, how to do you still cook. Well, we have a couple of camp propane stoves, but it takes a while to cook on them. And, the barbecue grill – great if you are barbecuing meats. The Blackstone griddle – it’s the way to go – it will cook your food super-fast, and it won’t go through a lot of propane. We keep several spare propane tanks filled at all times. We also have a travel trailer, and at times, when the power has gone out, we cooked on the propane stove inside of it. But there’s nothing like cooking on the Blackstone griddle on my front deck – just adds a new layer of flavor to whatever it is you are cooking – hard to explain, but easy enough to taste the difference.
The full-retail price on my particular Blackstone griddle is $339.99 – but shop around, especially if you have a Walmart near you – and I hate shopping at Walmart. But Walmart will deliver or you can use their easy app to purchase stuff – and you don’t ever have to walk into the store…they bring your order out to your vehicle. Still, I don’t even do that, I’d rather pay a little more and shop at a local grocery store or other big/small box stores, than give it to Walmart. However, when I see a huge savings in money on a product, I’ll break down and purchase it from Walmart. If you’re interested in a top-of-the-line griddle, check out the Blackstone line of griddles, it can sure save your butt, when the power goes out for short or long term survival when you need to cook.