Blackstone Griddles VS a Traditional Grill: Which Is Right For You?

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The griddling season is here, and for those of you on the fence, you may be trying to pick between a new griddle and a more traditional grill, well, let us help you sort that out.

You probably already know it, but the major difference between a traditional gas or charcoal grill and a Blackstone griddle is the cooking surface.

The traditional grills have a rigid cooking surface and use the direct heat of the flame from the gas or charcoal to cook the food, whereas a Blackstone griddle has a flat, stainless steel surface that is used to cook the food. 

But what does that actually mean, and how do you know which is right for you? Well, for us, there are three important categories that all outdoor cooking equipment needs to cover.

The first (and most important in our opinion) is the food, the second is the cooking process, and the third is the maintenance of the equipment itself. So, we’ll look at Blackstone griddles and traditional grills in these three categories to highlight the differences so you can decide which is right for you!

blackstone-griddle-vs-traditional-grill

The Food

Let’s start first with traditional grills, and how they perform in the food department. There’s something to be said about meat that is cooked over an open flame. That smokey, charred flavor isn’t something you can replicate, no matter how much you try. 

Burgers, steaks, wings, no matter the meat, it tastes great when cooked on a traditional gas or charcoal grill, and there’s no denying it. Not only that, but it’s actually slightly healthier for you too.

The excess fats and oils drip out of the meat and through the gaps between the bars of the grill, so you actually end up having a meal that is slightly better for you, and delicious too.

But what about griddles? First, you’re not cooking it on an open flame, so that smokey flavor isn’t going to magically appear. But then you wouldn’t expect it too.

What the griddle offers in terms of flavor is that slightly juicier, fattier piece of meat. Remember, fat is flavor. Ask any chef and they’ll tell you the same.

There’s a reason that griddles have been used in professional kitchens far longer than they’ve been available to the general public. Sure, it might not be as healthy, but it’ll taste good.

So which one is right for you? Well, that depends on what you prioritize. For slightly smokier, healthier food, opt for the grill. For fattier, juicier meats, choose a Blackstone griddle. But remember, that choice doesn’t have to be exclusive.

When it comes to delicious flavor, we strongly believe that you should have both options available to you, so why not have both a griddle and a grill? Your tastebuds will thank you, we’re sure.

The Cooking

Unlike the food, the cooking process itself has a clear winner in terms of convenience and safety. A traditional grill is, undeniably, a much more dangerous method of cooking.

The open flame is always a risk, and it might lead to an accident in which something sets alight that you didn’t want to be on fire. But even if you’re the most safety conscious grill master in the world, a traditional grill is still more inconvenient in terms of the cooking process too.

When you’re cooking on an open flame, you’re cooking on something that is unpredictable. It leads to uneven cooking temperatures across different parts of the grill, and it can lead to unevenly cooked food if you aren’t careful, which is something you obviously want to avoid.

For a Blackstone griddle, though, there isn’t this problem. The flat, even metal cooking surface leads to even cooking. No matter where you place your food on the griddle, it will cook at the same time, allowing you to cook more at once, which can only be a good thing! Griddles are also much safer to cook on too, because you don’t have an open flame that can cause a problem.

Of course, you sacrifice that smokey flavor slightly, but for a safer and more even cooking experience, we’d say it’s worth it. So, in terms of the cooking process, we can’t see why a griddle doesn’t win out over a traditional grill.

But, you CAN smoke food on the Blackstone griddle, check our article, How To Smoke Food On The Blackstone Griddle.

The Maintenance

Our last test is also important, but many people would overlook it. The amount of maintenance a griddle or grill requires is important, because sometimes people don’t have the time to commit to regular maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep. So let’s start with a traditional grill again. In terms of maintenance, it is fairly low. 

You will need to give it a surface level clean after every use, but a deep clean doesn’t really need to happen more than twice a year. But when you do deep clean your grill, make sure you leave an afternoon free.

The fat dripping from meat, the bits of food that fall down between the bars, and the burnt on scraps will all take a long time to clean properly.

A griddle might be a little more high maintenance. You will need to season it before use, and you’ll need to be careful about how you clean your griddle so you don’t remove all the protective oil from seasoning it, or else you’ll have to do the entire process all over again.

You won’t have to put up with dripping fat, or missed food that accidentally burns onto the surface as you might with a grill though, as the flat surface is pretty easy to clean after every use. But again, a thorough clean will be needed now and then, which could take you a while to do it to a high standard.

On this measure, neither one really wins. Cooking equipment of any kind will need proper maintenance to make sure it works correctly and is cleaned to a hygienic standard for cooking on.

Just pick whichever you find easier to clean, because if it’s something that seems like it’s too much work right now, imagine how much work it will seem when you’re scrubbing it for hours on end.

Verdict

Really, the only person who can decide which is right for you is you. But like we said earlier, it doesn’t have to be an ‘either/or’ situation. Both have their merits and both have their drawbacks.

We would advise both for different reasons. Some foods simply taste better on a grill, because that smoky flavor really brings out the best in the dish. 

Likewise, a juicy hamburger is much more delicious than a dried out one, so a griddle is great for that. Just remember that griddles are slightly easier and safer to use, because this will probably be important if you’re only just starting out and experimenting with outdoor cooking.

But if you’re a keen outdoor cook, then a traditional grill and Blackstone griddle should both be weapons in your arsenal!