Griddle Grease: Front VS Rear Grease Tray Explained

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Griddle grease trays, front or rear? Trying to decide between a Blackstone Griddle with the front or rear grease tray system? Not sure of the actual difference? Well, let’s solve that now.

If you’ve looked into different Blackstone products, then you will have noticed that some of their products use a front grease management system, and others use a rear grease management system. Whilst you can find both, the rear system seems to be slightly more common.

But, if Blackstone offers griddles with both types of grease management systems, then there must be a reason for that, right? Below we’ll look at both types, what they offer, and any pros and cons they might have so that hopefully, you’ll be able to pick a Blackstone griddle with a grease management system that will work for you.

front-vs-rear-grease-tray-blackstone-griddle

Front VS Rear Grease Management Systems Explained

As the names suggest, the grease management systems that are offered focus on where the grease can be disposed of when cooking. In the front grease designs, the grease will, you guessed it, drip out of the front of the griddle and into a drip tray which can then be cleaned up.

In the rear one, the same thing happens but at the rear of the griddle. Now, you might think that the difference is tiny, and therefore isn’t something to be concerned about, but Blackstone must have changed the system on the newer models to rear for a reason.

Blackstone vs Grill
Blackstone vs Grill

Or, at the very least, they must have some practical rationale behind why a rear grease management system would win out over a front one, or vice versa. So, we did what any sane griddle enthusiast would do, and we researched and tested it.

Below are the results, focusing mainly on user experience, since the only actual differences between the two systems is to do with where the grease is dripping down from.

Pros And Cons Of Both Grease Systems

One of the key differences between the two grease management systems is that the rear drain unit has a bigger catch basin available. This means that as you push the grease on your griddle top to the opening at the rear of the griddle, more of the grease is likely to land inside the basin and therefore land in the drip tray.

The reason it is so much bigger on the rear grease management system, we assume, is simply aesthetic. Having a larger catch basin at the front of your griddle might be a little distracting for some, and there’s no denying that it would stand out a lot more if the basin was larger.

However, due to this difference, there is much more of a chance of you making a mess with your grease when using a front grease management system because your grease is simply more likely to miss the basin altogether, and drip onto the ground.

If you’re cooking on a patio area, then this can really create a mess that will be a headache to clear up.

The front management system does have some advantages in terms of user-friendliness though. As you’re aiming to push your grease towards the front opening so that it can fall into the drip tray, there is no lip at the front of the griddle as there is with the models that use a rear grease management system.

Instead, there is a trough at the front that makes directing the grease towards the correct area so that it can fall into the drip tray a breeze. With the rear management systems, however, there is a lip at the front of the griddle to prevent any grease from dripping down the front of your griddle and on to the floor.

This makes a lot of design sense, but practically speaking it can be something of an irritant. Flipping burgers and steaks becomes slightly more difficult because of the lip at the front of the griddle.

Of course, you can get around this by flipping the meat towards the rear of the griddle instead, but if you’re cooking multiple burgers at once, this can become an endless cycle of moving your food around just so you can flip it, which, as we said, can be irritating.

On the flip side (do you see what we did there?), the lip at the front can sometimes be a blessing. You’re much less likely to lose any meat to the ground when moving your food around because the lip actually prevents you from knocking the food off the griddle to begin with.

While you could argue that you would just be extra careful when using a griddle with a front grease management system (and therefore a model with no lip at the front) you can’t always guarantee that you won’t accidentally knock something as you’re moving your food around, so the lip can help. The question of lip vs no lip really comes down to personal preference in the end though.

Finally, just as the catch basin is larger on the rear grease management system, so too is the drip tray itself. As such, if you’re cooking for a large group or party, then a rear grease management system will be much kinder to you, because the drip tray won’t fill up as quickly.

There’s nothing worse when hosting a large group than having to stop cooking part way through the evening to empty and clean your griddle’s drip tray before carrying on.

This is a problem you could realistically face with a front management system, but not something you’re likely to face with a rear system.

Which Grease Management System Is Right For You?

Well, that’s up to you. The grease management systems on offer from Blackstone really don’t have major differences. Yes, it might affect the design of the product, but either way, you’re going to be able to manage the grease effectively.

What should really make your mind up is which one you think will be more practical for you. If you regularly cook for a large group, then a rear grease management system will have a larger drip tray and catch basin so it’ll be easier to manage larger amounts of grease.

But if you find the lip at the front of griddles with a rear grease management system to be inconvenient, then the front grease management system models don’t suffer from this. Does either of the grease management systems outperform the other?

No. But if one outperforms the other for you, then stick to the one you think works best!

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