Giving Up the Grill for a Griddle

Blackstone Griddle Cooking Station
 Courtesy manufacturer

Few things symbolize the American summer like firing up the grill. And while I’ll always have my trusty Weber kettle to smoke barbecue, my hamburger heart now belongs to another. Stand in line at 5 Guys or Shake Shack and you won’t see cooks working over a grill. Nope. Those burgers, which are worth every red cent they charge you (in my opinion), are cooked on a big slab of metal.

 

That’s why this summer I’m griddling burgers and fixins on a flattop. I tested the 36-inch wide Blackstone griddle over a couple of weekends in July and I’m pretty much done with grilled burgers. For such a large rig, the Blackstone is easy to assemble in about 30 minutes with a handful of parts, and the whole thing breaks down for storage in the garage or the RV while camping.

There are four burners that make up the guts of the griddle, and they sit underneath a thick seven-gauge steel top. That top reaches temperatures between 100 and 500-degrees, so you can cook hot and fast or put a small pot on there to keep a sauce bubbling hot. The first few firings, the burner the furthest from the ignition button (far right) needed a little fiddling to fire, but it eventually started working on command.

The 720-square-inch top is wide enough to fit almost 30 standard burgers or 72 hot dogs. Before you start cooking you’ll need to season it a couple of times, which takes about an hour. I cooked about 12 burgers, and half as many hot dogs, on one side while griddling up some onions and toasting buns on the other. Burgers that cook in their own rendered fat taste as great as you imagine. And the wide-open space means messy thing like bacon isn’t a big issue. Without a lid to close, melting cheese can be tricky so do what the pros do: grab a stainless-steel bowl and put it over the burger to trap steam and encourage melting.

The locking, hard rubber casters make the griddle easy to move, even when a propane tank is strapped on board. The grease funnels towards the back of the griddle and into a drip pan that’s easy to dispose of.

My only regret is I didn’t get around to cracking a few eggs on it—next time. The Blackstone comes in a few sizes and if you’re routinely cooking things hot and fast—burgers, dogs, steaks, shrimp—for a crowd, it’s a nice partner to a grill.

[$300; blackstoneproducts.com]