The Blackstone griddle has become one of the most popular outdoor cooking appliances for grill masters and backyard chefs. This versatile combo grill and griddle opens up a whole world of cooking possibilities.
In this beginner’s guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to start cooking on a Blackstone griddle.
I’ll cover proper setup, seasoning, cooking techniques, cleaning and maintenance. You’ll also get my top 10 meal ideas and recipes specially tailored for the Blackstone.
Let’s get started!
What is a Blackstone Griddle?
Chances are, if you are reading this, you already know what a Blackstone Griddle is.
But, if not: A Blackstone griddle is a flat top grill that combines a grill and griddle in one appliance.
It has a large flat cooking surface made from cold rolled steel that provides plenty of room for cooking meals for the whole family.
What makes the Blackstone griddle unique is its versatility. The flat top allows you to cook like you would on a griddle – making pancakes, eggs, steak, vegetables etc.
But it also has a grill side with burners that can be used for grilling burgers, chicken, or anything else you would cook on a regular grill.
Key features and benefits of the Blackstone griddle include:
- Large cooking surface up to 720 sq inches depending on the model
- Durable cold rolled steel cooktop
- Stainless steel burners – most models have at least 2 independently controlled heat zones
- Rear grease management system makes cleanup easier
- Portable – wheeled legs allow you to move it around
- Can be used as either a grill or griddle
- Optional accessories like a hard cover, cutting board, shelves, etc.
With the versatility to grill or griddle cook foods, bake pizza, simmer saucepots, or cook a full breakfast, the Blackstone allows you to be creative with your outdoor cooking.
It’s perfect for feeding large groups, meal prepping or simplifying your backyard barbecue setup with an all-in-one appliance.
Setting Up Your Blackstone Griddle
Before you can start enjoying all that delicious Blackstone cooking, you’ll need to properly set up your griddle. Here are the steps:
Choose a Level Location Place your Blackstone on a flat, level surface. This could be on a patio, deck or grass in your yard. Just avoid anywhere with a steep slope or uneven ground. Use the rear locking casters to keep it stable.
Assemble the Components Attach the side shelves, rear grease trap, handle and any other parts that came with your model. Use the instructions that came with your Blackstone for proper assembly and placement.
Season the Cook Surface It’s important to season your Blackstone’s cooktop before cooking for the first time. This seasons the steel and prevents food from sticking. Just follow these simple steps:
- Wash the cook surface with hot soapy water and dry thoroughly with a towel.
- Apply a thin coating of high smoke point oil like grapeseed or avocado oil over the entire cook surface.
- Turn the burners to low and let it heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Turn burners to high for another 10-15 minutes.
- Allow to cool and do 2-3 more rounds of oiling, heating and cooling.
- Your griddle is now seasoned and ready to go!
Connect Propane Tank
For propane models, connect your Blackstone to a standard 20 lb propane tank using the provided regulator and hose. Make sure all connections are tightened properly.
For natural gas models, ensure you have hired a certified technician to install your griddle and hook it up to your home’s natural gas supply.
It’s critical that you test for gas leaks before using your Blackstone for the first time. Just mix up a batch of soapy water in a spray bottle and spray the connections and valves.
If you see bubbles, there is a leak present. Turn off the gas and do not use the griddle until a leak is fixed by a professional.
If no leaks are present, you’re ready to get cooking! Just familiarize yourself with the control knobs and heat zones before starting it up.
Cooking Techniques for the Blackstone Griddle
Now for the fun part – time to start cooking! Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Blackstone griddle:
Always preheat your griddle before placing food on it. Turn all burners to high and close the lid for 10-15 minutes to heat up.
Use an oven thermometer placed on the grill if you want to get precise with temperatures. The cook surface should reach around 400-450°F.
Managing Heat Zones
The Blackstone has multiple independently controlled burners so you can create heat zones. This lets you move food around for direct or indirect cooking.
For example, searing steak over direct high heat before moving to a lower temp indirect zone to finish cooking. Having two or more zones gives you flexibility.
Grilling on a Griddle
To grill foods like burgers, chicken or veggies, keep the burners on high and cook the food directly over the flames.
Leave the lid open and flip halfway for grill marks. Brush or spray oil to prevent sticking.
Aim for grilling temps of 350-450°F. The flames will create plenty of heat for quick grilling.
To cook foods directly on the flat top like eggs, pancakes or stir fry, use a lower heat between 300-375°F. Close the lid to help food cook evenly. Use oil or butter to prevent sticking.
You can use griddle accessories like a griddle press to flatten sandwiches or a splatter screen to contain pops and sizzles when frying.
Simmering and Braising on a Griddle
A cool feature of the Blackstone griddle is you can use pots and pans directly on the cook surface to simmer sauces or braise meats. Just turn your burners down to a lower 250°F zone.
This gives you extra room for sides or even a full meal. You can also fill a cast iron pan with water and use it as a makeshift boiler.
Smoking on a Griddle
To infuse your food with smoky flavor, make a smoker pouch with aluminum foil and add your favorite smoking wood chips. Place directly on the grill while cooking. The smoke penetrates giving foods an extra layer of flavor.
You can also buy a smoker box specifically sized for the Blackstone that controls the smoke.
Pizza on the Blackstone Griddle
The large surface area is perfect for baking pizzas from scratch. Roll or stretch out your dough and top with sauce and toppings. Cook 5-10 minutes until the crust is crispy and cheese is melted.
One of the best advantages of the Blackstone is combining cooking techniques. You can sear a steak over direct high heat before moving it to indirect heat to finish.
Or start chicken thighs on the grill before braising in a pot of sauce on the flat top. Get creative with cooking steps to get the best results.
No matter which technique you use, the key is managing heat zones and using them to your advantage. With some practice, you’ll be flipping pancakes, grilling burgers and searing steaks like a pro.
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Griddle
To keep your Blackstone looking like new and prevent any stuck on gunk, it’s important to properly clean after each use:
Scrape Loose Debris
Use a stiff grill scraper or spatula to scrape any chunks of food debris from the cooktop while still warm. It’s much easier to remove immediately after cooking versus letting it sit and harden.
Wipe down the cook surface with paper towels, shop rags or a grill scrubber pad to remove excess grease and oils. Empty and clean out the rear grease management system as well.
Clean with Water
Give the surface a thorough cleaning with hot water, either spraying with a hose or scrubbing with soapy water and a nonabrasive scrub pad.
Use a plastic or wooden scraper as needed for stuck on bits. Rinse thoroughly.
Always dry the griddle thoroughly after cleaning. Water droplets can lead to rust if left to sit. Wipe down with a towel or paper towels. You can also heat the surface for 10-15 minutes on low to evaporate any lingering moisture.
Re-oil and Season
Give the entire cooktop a light coating of oil to refresh the seasoning after each cookout. This maintains the non-stick properties of the seasoned steel.
In addition to after each use cleaning, do a deeper clean by scrubbing with a griddle stone or fine grit sanding block 2-4 times a year. This removes any carbon buildup that regular cleaning won’t catch.
Use grill cleaner and reapply a fresh layer of protective oil after deep cleaning. Keeping your Blackstone properly cleaned prevents long-term damage.
Storing A Blackstone Griddle
When storing your Blackstone for long periods, fully clean the cook surface and then coat in oil to prevent corrosion. Prop open the lid so air can circulate.
Store indoors or use a protective cover if keeping outside. Remove and drain the grease management system so grease doesn’t solidify.
By properly caring for your griddle after every cookout and doing periodic deep cleans, you’ll enjoy years of use without any rust or deterioration.
10 Meals You Can Cook on a Blackstone Griddle
Now for the best part – cooking delicious meals!
Cooking on a Blackstone Griddle: Getting Started
The Blackstone griddle opens up so many possibilities for backyard cooking fun and great tasting food.
With the ability to grill, griddle, simmer and more, you can expand your outdoor culinary horizons.
Here are 10 of my favorite foods to whip up on the Blackstone along with tips for success:
- Smash burgers, gourmet burgers and everything in between taste great from the grill side of the Blackstone. Get those crispy edges while cooking through the middle. Adding a griddle press gives you ultimate control over thickness.
Tip: Don’t press burgers more than once and resist the urge to smash repeatedly. This can lead to a drier, tougher burger.
- Get perfect sear marks on juicy, restaurant-quality steaks. Use the direct high heat side to get that crust before moving to indirect heat to finish to your desired doneness.
Also: Pat steaks dry beforehand and let them come to room temp for more even cooking.
- The flat top is perfect for getting a nice char on veggies. Try zucchini, squash, bell peppers, asparagus and more. Toss in olive oil and seasonings for quick grill marks.
Tip: Softer veggies like peppers and zucchini can go direct. Harder denser veggies like potatoes may need to par-cook first.
- Stir Fry
- Make restaurant-style stir frys with wok hei right on your Blackstone griddle. Use the burners to your advantage to create super hot and cooler cooking zones.
Tip: Use a splatter screen lid to contain the flash frying action.
- Cook up eggs any style, pancakes, hash browns and other breakfast goodies all on one appliance. You can really pump out food fast for large groups.
Hint: Cover with a dome lid while cooking cheesy eggs or hash browns to melt the cheese nicely.
- Pan Pizzas
- Use cast iron skillets right on the flat top to bake amazing fresh pizzas. Customize with your favorite toppings. The direct heat gives you an extra crispy crust.
Pro Tip: Flour or cornmeal the pan bottom so the pizza can slide right off when done.
- Large quesadillas are a cinch to make on the Blackstone griddle. Fill with cheese, chicken, steak, shrimp and more. Use the press to get perfectly crispy tortillas.
Tip: Brush the top tortilla with oil and cook that side first for maximum crispness.
- From grilled cheese to paninis, the press on the Blackstone lets you make diner-style pressed sandwiches. Add sauteed onions, peppers or other veggies to take it over the top.
Helpful Tip: Use mayo instead of butter on the bread for extra crispy grilled cheese.
- Chicken Wings
- Crispy skinned wings with a light char are easy to churn out on a Blackstone grill. Go for a classic buffalo sauce or get creative with dry rubs and glazes.
Tip: Opt for all drumsticks or flats for more even cooking. Mixing the two may require two cooking zones.
- Skirt steak sizzling with peppers and onions is simple to whip up for crowd-pleasing fajitas. Bring the flavor with Mexican seasoning blends. Serve up with tortillas and fixings.
Tip: Cut skirt steak across the grain before marinating for more tender bites after grilling.
As you can see, the options are endless with a Blackstone griddle! It’s the ultimate tool for backyard cooking and entertaining.
Helpful Blackstone Griddle Accessories
Having the right accessories for your Blackstone griddle makes cooking easier and more efficient. Here are some of my recommended accessories to take your experience to the next level:
- Grill scraper/chopper – Makes removing stuck on food simple after cooking. A chopper style handle provides leverage.
- Steel grill brushes – Great for applying oil or sauces across the entire cook surface. Avoid wire brushes which can damage the steel.
- Griddle spatula – You’ll need a good high heat resistant spatula for flipping. I like ones with a beveled edge.
- Griddle press – Flattens sandwiches and thin meats evenly. Some styles have removable grill plates.
- Grease management tools – Cups, buckets and scrapers that neatly contain the rear grease runoff.
- Cutting board – Lets you prep food right on your Blackstone for added convenience.
- Thermometer – Monitor your griddle temps for precision cooking.
- Cast iron griddle pans – Use smaller pans for eggs, sides etc. right on the flat top.
- Storage cover – Provides protection from outdoor elements when not in use.
- Side shelves – Expand your prep space on select models.
- Propane tank holder – Secures your tank safely underneath the unit.
- Cargo carrier – Makes transporting your Blackstone easy if needed.
Outfitting your griddle with the right tools tailor-made for it will help you get the most functionality possible. Look for accessories that are durable and enhance the Blackstone experience.
FAQs About Using a Blackstone Griddle
Still have some questions about how to use your new Blackstone griddle? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
How do I prevent rust on my griddle?
Follow proper cleaning methods after each use to remove debris. Dry thoroughly, coat with oil and keep covered when storing. Avoid over-scrubbing down to bare metal.
What temperature should I cook hamburgers at?
Aim for 400-450°F for quick cooking burgers without drying them out. Higher direct heat gets the crust while cooking through.
Is it okay to cook acidic foods like tomatoes on my Blackstone?
Yes, but clean afterwards right away. Acidic ingredients can take off the seasoning if left to sit. Avoid cooking the same acidic foods repeatedly.
How can I get better grill marks on a Blackstone Griddle?
Let meat come to room temp before grilling for more defined marks. Brush with oil first. Press down with tongs/spatula as it cooks for darker marks.
Should I clean my griddle after every use?
Yes, do a quick clean after each cook to prevent any stuck on residue from hardening. Do a deeper thorough clean periodically.
What oil is best for seasoning and maintenance?
Opt for high smoke point oils like avocado, grapeseed or peanut. Avoid olive or butter which can burn. Crisco works well for initial seasoning.
Is it safe to cook on my Blackstone indoors?
No, Blackstones are designed for outdoor use only and can produce carbon monoxide. Never use in a garage, porch or enclosed space.
How can I dispose of old grease properly?
Allow grease to completely cool and solidify before transferring to a metal container or bag. Trash normally or check for local grease disposal programs.
Can I use metal utensils on my Blackstone?
Yes, metal is fine as long as it’s not anything too abrasive that can scratch the surface.
How do I know if my griddle is level?
Use a bubble level tool or fill halfway with water. The water should evenly spread out without pooling to any one side.
Hopefully this beginner’s guide gives you plenty of tips to get started cooking on your new Blackstone. From proper setup and seasoning to cooking techniques and meal ideas, you now have the knowledge to unleash your inner grill master.
The only thing left to do is get outside and start cooking up some magic on your Blackstone griddle! Have fun with the recipes and techniques. Part of the joy of owning one is experimenting and finding your own Blackstone style.