Summary: An excellent performer that’s easy to recommend on the cooking front, but the grease drain system can be a problem.
Blackstone 36 Inch Griddle Cooking Station Review
I love a griddle. It gives you the versatility of cooking pretty much anything on it, from steaks and bangers to making pancakes and frying eggs and veggies. Little wonder then that in this Blackstone 36 inch griddle review I’ll be telling you more about one of the most popular gas grill products on the market right now.
Is this the perfect outdoor griddler? Has Blackstone hit the ball out of the park? Let’s find out.
This is a fairly large unit, but assembly is not that difficult. The manual offers step by step instructions. They’re not all that detailed but, quite frankly, they don’t need to be.
The unit comes mostly assembled and your job will be to open the legs, install the bottom tray, the griddle top, side shelves and handle.
I’ve seen harder assemblies than these, but you should have another person at hand to help you flip over and handle the grill as it is quite heavy and cumbersome.
Here is a video of the unboxing and assembly (not the stainless steel version):
There’s a lot of cooking power under the hood here. Here’s what you get:
– four independently controlled burners
The Blackstone 36″ is a 4-burner propane griddle, powered by 4 x 15,000 BTU stainless steel burners. Each can be independently controlled. This allows you to create distinct heat zones should you wish. It also saves you gas by allowing you to only use as much cooking area as you need.
Just want to fry eggs and bangers for yourself for breakfast? One burner will do you. Want to get some high heat for a steak while using lower heat to fry veggies on another part of the griddle? Just use two separate burners, adjusting the heat of each to suit your requirements.
In total the Blackstone can output 60,000 BTU, but you are in complete control of how much heat you need and where on the cooking surface you need it.
– 720 square inch cooking area
This is a BIG cooking space. You can throw enough burgers on this at once to feed a whole class picnic or accommodate the work’s year end function.
All this space would have made less sense without the independent burner control, but throwing that into the mix you get a wonderfully versatile cooking surface.
The griddle top pre-seasoned, and its non-stick surface works very well. Look, we love grilling but cleaning is always a bit of a “female dog”, if you know what I mean. I’m happy to say that the Blackstone griddle surface is easy to clean. Nothing manages to stick to it with any determination.
Thanks to four pretty sturdy caster wheels, the griddle station is easy to move around. If you need to transport it somewhere, you can fold in the legs and remove the griddle top and pretty much carry it where you want it (it is a little unwieldy and very heavy though).
While the wheels are nice, it can make it a little harder to level the grill on uneven surfaces.
The Blackstone 36 inch griddle features an electronic ignition system. Once you have your gas connected, you start a burner by pushing and turning the ignition knob to the Max setting. This ignites the burner within a few seconds and you’re off and running.
Once you have this baby fired up, you can really appreciate the advantage of independent burners. I’d just throw all my heavy duty cooking (hamburgers, steaks) in the middle with the two center heaters turned right up. While that action is going on I’ll keep the heat on the left and right side burners low for doing the mushrooms, veggies and eggs (or toasting hamburger rolls, why not indeed?).
As already mentioned, there is room aplenty on this cooking surface. The two side tables are handy (they have a weight limit of 10 lbs each). You don’t want to overload them, but you can certainly put most of the extra griddling accessories or food pots that you need on them.
See the grill in action doing 24 burgers at once:
This is a very well designed piece of equipment. You will notice though that the grease drain may get clogged. I can see this happening to most people, especially if you’re doing some heavy duty griddling with greasy foods. Proper leveling is essential and does improve the functioning of the grease trap.
The grease trough is shallow and the grease drain hole is poorly designed. Fortunately with a bit of modding you can fix this. You will already find ideas for grease trap modifications for this grill if you search in Google. It’s not a deal breaker, just an annoyance and something that the company will hopefully attend to in subsequent models.
Update: on current models it appears that the grease drain situation has been improved and is much less of an issue now.
I don’t believe it’s a flare hazard, but it can cause problems with boiling hot grease running down the grill to the floor, not to mention the mess.
The Blackstone also vents heat all around the cooking surface, including the front. On a hot day I can see it getting a little toasty in front of this thing. Again, a minor concern, and probably a perk in winter.
And finally, as I briefly mentioned higher up, leveling legs would have been a great feature for this grill as it is hard to level with the caster wheels.
Blackstone Griddle Stainless Steel
The Blackstone 36 inch griddle cooking station comes in two versions:
– powder coated black steel frame
– stainless steel frame
The difference in price is about $100 more for the stainless. It’s pretty much the same grill apart from the difference in frame construction material.
Now, I’d go for stainless steel every time, even though its not heavy duty stainless. I can understand that Blackstone wanted to keep the weight down on an already heavy item.
That said, it will be more rust and corrosion resistant, which means a longer life for the product. In dry climates I guess you shouldn’t be that concerned, but if you live in wetter climes, get the stainless.
Blackstone 36 Inch Griddle Review Summary
The Blackstone 36″ griddle cooking station is a very good product. The poor grease management is disappointing, so too the lack of leveling feet/legs. In all other respects it is an excellent griddle at a very competitive price.
Build quality is very solid, heating is even if you need it and completely controllable into zones when you don’t. It’s not hard to see why this is one of the top selling gas grill products on the market right now.
That’s it from me. Happy griddling!
Questions and Answers
Q: Is the grill suitable for camping, with regards to weight and ease of transport?
A: This is a heavy piece of equipment, so for a day trip breaking it down and transporting it may be too much hassle. If you’re going to be camping for an extended period though, it’s perfectly viable. You will need some help due to the weight, but the assembly and disassembly of the shelves and folding of the legs is doable. I don’t think it was built for the purpose of being a “portable” grill, but if you’re willing to put in the effort, it’s viable.
Q: Can it be converted to natural gas?
A: Yes, but you’ll need the proper orifices and may need to enlarge the existing holes by drilling. Not ideal, but if you know what you’re doing or hire someone who does, it can absolutely be done.
Q: Is the griddle top stainless steel?
A: On the stainless steel model the cooktop is manufactured from cold rolled steel.
Q: Does the stainless steel model feature stainless steel burners?
A: Yes, it does. This model is more expensive, but the stainless steel makes it worth the extra investment.
Q: Can I remove the griddle and use it as a grill?
A: No, not out of the box. Removing the griddle will just leave you looking at exposed gas burners. Blackstone does have a separate grill top accessory for around $80 that you can purchase if you want to turn your griddle into a grill.
Q: How heavy is the whole thing as it arrives in the box?
A: Around 120 to 130 pounds.
Q: Is this suitable to use in my home or on a table top if I remove the feet?
A: No. This is designed to be an outdoor grill and it will make a royal mess indoors. The table top idea is also not a good one. Even if you elevate the grill off the table using bricks or whatever, it still generates a ton of heat. I wouldn’t consider it very safe or sensible.