Outdoor Griddle In Cold Weather: 3 Things To Consider

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Thinking about using your griddle when the weather outside is cold? There are a few considerations and precautions to think about when using your Blackstone griddle outside in the cold weather.

Let’s explore using a Blackstone Griddle in cold weather. Using a griddle year-round is always a goal of mine, however, as much as I love outdoor cooking, it seems winter always makes things tougher. 

griddle-cold-winter-freezing-temps

First, some quick ground rules, let’s iron out what is “cold”. In the US, depending on where you live and what your tolerance is, “winter cold” might be 0 degrees outside if you live in Minnesota and for others “winter cold” might be 60 degrees (I’m talking to you Texas and Florida). For the sake of this, I’ll just say “winter cold” would be anything below 40 degrees fahrenheit.

Do I Cook On My Blackstone Griddle In The Winter?

I should put my money where my mouth is if I’m writing this article. The answer is a YES, I definitely griddle all-year and that includes many snow days here in Colorado.

Although, I should mention, I’m strongly considering Florida lately, something about sun all year and warm months all year has me looking closely. But anyway, yes, I love to griddle all year and that includes the deep winter months. 

What Does Blackstone Say?

Cold Weather Safety Tips
Cold Weather Safety Tips

So, in my research outside of my own personal use, I found that Blackstone does have a Griddling 101 page on their site that discusses cold weather griddling tips.

However, as you can see, it’s basically “cute” stuff like “Stay warm” and “Use Your House As A Barrier” which is true, but doesn’t really bother breaking down any concerns or considerations about the actual griddle itself and how that will impact food.

So, I thought I would take my own case studies on this and share what I learned with you guys and hopefully give you the info you are actually looking for.

It Takes Longer To Heat Up

It’s no surprise, but when you are cooking on a griddle in cold weather, it’s going to take longer to get things hot. From the griddle frame and components all the way to the actual cooking surface, it just takes longer to get it all hot.

So, if you are going to plan a winter cooking event on your Blackstone (or any other outdoor griddle) , plan to start a bit earlier to account for this. 

Beware of Griddle Surface Warp

Ever hear of the dreaded griddle warp? If not, you are lucky, it’s not pretty and not cheap to deal with. One of the leading contributing factors to a griddle warping is a rapid change from hot to cold temperatures on the griddle cooking surface.

This was discussed in another article here in more detail, but essentially, if you go from extreme cold to extreme hot on your griddle, this can (and likely will) cause your griddle surface to warp. 

When winter cooking on the griddle, I recommend not cranking up your griddle and immediately warming it on the HIGH setting first. Instead, try to start your griddle and let it warm on the LOW setting first and then gradually move up to HIGH.

We want to avoid a rapid heat to cold exchange. In fact, I may go a step further and suggest cooling it down in a reverse manner. After cooking, move the heat setting to MED, then LOW, then OFF. Again, cooking in winter just takes longer. 

You Will Use More Propane

Another factor to consider when winter cooking on the Blackstone, is propane consumption. It’s cold outside and although the griddle is staying how, due to the ambient temperatures around the griddle, it will cause the propane to continue burning to keep things hot.

Essentially, it’s working overtime to cook your food. There may be some other science involved but I’m not that smart. The folks over at Propane 101 give a bit more detail if you want to nerd out on propane data. Long story short, more winter cold, more propane usage. 

Consider Wind Guards

A design flaw of the Blackstone griddle is the temperature escaping on the sides between the griddle cooking surface and the frame of the griddle. Now, many have already created wind guards for the Blackstone Griddle and I’d say it’s a good buy.

Not just because of the wind and cold air coming in and decreasing cooking temps, but even because on hot days, the hot air escapes outwards and can quite literally melt your utensils and food around the griddle on the shelving. Ask me how I know…..

A Griddle Hood Will Be Your Friend

Is a griddle hood necessary? Nope, but it will certainly help regulate temperatures inside your griddle when you are cooking food in the winter.

Additionally, if it’s snowing, you can close the hood and just periodically check-in by lifting the lid and then closing it without it constantly being an open top with no hood where rain/snow just keeps falling, ruining your feast.

Some Blackstones come with a hood and some don’t, if yours doesn’t, the folks over at Griddle Guard make some cool diamond plate-styled griddle hoods that look pretty cool in both chrome and black. 

Conclusion

So, can you use your griddle in the winter cold months? Yes! Just keep these precautions mentioned in mind and you are good to go griddling in the deep winter months. Hopefully this was helpful and we will see you at the table! Griddle King, out.