Blackstone Griddle, by Pat Cascio

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.




22 Comments

  1. The Blackstone 36″ Grill is an excellent choice and is very well made. Ours was purchased at our local Tractor Supply Company (TSC) for $299.00 plus tax. It is holding up well and I have been putting a thin coat of oil on the griddle after use.

    Cooking on it during the last family get together, I felt like a Grill Man at Waffle House!!!

  2. i’m stuck with a glass top electric range that generalizes a cooking temperature by turning the burner on and off; no way to keep the steady, even heat needed for canning. Will the Blackstone be a good alternative for outdoor canning in the summer kitchen?

    1. No the heat tranfer is wrong,get a “fish fry/cajun cooker/turkey fryer” type propane base that fits your canner and has adjustable heat output (powerful burners can warp or damage thin gauge canners even full of water). Be prepared to have a wind screen to control heat and dust/dirt using it outdoors. You may try to get large commercial/resturant stockpots and really up your canning-20 quarts from 7, a regular gas stove couldn’t do that or could you be inside with it.

    1. No the heat tranfer is wrong,get a “fish fry/cajun cooker/turkey fryer” type propane base that fits your canner and has adjustable heat output (powerful burners can warp or damage thin gauge canners even full of water). Be prepared to have a wind screen to control heat and dust/dirt using it outdoors. You may try to get large commercial/resturant stockpots and really up your canning-20 quarts from 7, a regular gas stove couldn’t do that or could you be inside with it.

  3. I second Gene’s question about the Blackstone grill working well for canning. Although we have a propane stove, the heat generated when canning in the summer makes for an uncomfortable kitchen.

    Thanks for bringing this product to my attention Pat!

    J & M

  4. Pat, thought you grew up in Chicago(you talk about it)? Jewel has been in almost every neighborhood for 100+ years,Domincks was too.
    36″ is a really big grill unless you are cooking for really large crowds a smaller grill would be better suited and more efficient-go to a Waffle House or old school diner and see what a grill man can do with a 24″ hot top. Do not forget the accessories to really make it work;big heavy duty spatulas, tongs,grill stone,small fry pans,sauce pots, cover,
    etc. If this is to stay outside protect all surfaces(especially underside) or it may not last. You can use very high temp spray paint that isn’t effected by direct flame. Happy Grilling

  5. Pat I have the same one you do and we keep ours in our camper. When we go to the lake, that’s all we use to cook on. It is awesome! I would recommend to anyone. A bit heavy, but just about indestructible. If the metal part of the cooker ever rusts out, just throw that cast iron griddle over an open flame and you’re good for another hundred years. Keep up the good work. Grid down…griddle on!!!

  6. The key to using a large grill like this is to create heat zones. You run the hottest to one side and lower on the other. that way you are creating a “hot holding” area where cooked food can sit and wait for the rest to be done. The temperature should be set so the griddle runs around 325-350 degrees. A cheap infrared thermometer will help achieve that.

    You can also create inexpensive food lids by using a cheap stainless steel bowl with a short piece of dowel screwed into the base.

    Proteins, will stick to a poorly seasoned griddle but will usually free themselves if you don’t play with them. Let steaks, hamburgers, potatoes, eggs…etc. cook until they can be easily lifted from the surface.

  7. The hacks on the news can’t stop talking about the Corona virus. All the stores are out of N95 respiratory masks. And here we are debating if the new Blackstone 36″ griddle would be good for outdoor canning.
    Man, it’s great to have our proverbial sh*t together and not have to sweat the small stuff like the rest of the herd.

    1. Mannys Deli is as good as ever,and you can still get a real Maxwell St. Polish(extra onions on mine),old school hot dog stands are disappearing fast,and Dukes drive in (85th+Harlem) closed last summer. Chain junk replacing real culture

  8. VT, I know!! My 82 year old father was devastated when we heard about Dukes closing. Interestingly, when he was a teenager before going into the USMC, he had a 63 split window corvette that he would take there. I wish he would have kept that car!! Grrr.. I can’t remember what he traded that one for, but of course was normal back then to have a hot rod and then trade it off for something else!!

    I believe Jean & Jude’s is still there but I haven’t been over there in a long time.
    Memory lane is awesome & I’m always asking Dad questions about simpler times. His long term memory is fantastic and I absolutely love hearing him talk about all of those things. It truly lights up his face (He has Alzheimer’s so engaging him about these sorts of things is very soothing for him).
    Gotta go, Mannys Deli is calling & Dad loves Polish (with extra onions of course)
    Take care

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