Does a Blackstone griddle warp? The quick answer to this is yes, they do. But if you understand exactly why they warp, then you can take active measures to prevent it from happening to an excessive amount.
All griddles will warp, that’s just a fact, but this blog article will take you through the different reasons a Blackstone griddle warps and provide some useful tips on how to prevent it from happening so your new Blackstone griddle doesn’t warp to an excessive amount and render it unusable.
As they are known in the US, Griddles are also known as cast iron pots or pans elsewhere. This type of cookware is extremely heavy, solid and durable, and favored by many families in the US.
Cast iron, like steel, will warp if heated to high temperature and then rapidly cooled. This will happen regardless of the thickness of the steel.
The good news is that there is a way to fix a warped griddle, and you can do it quite easily in your home own home!
While some people believe that a warped skillet cannot be repaired as heating and cooling will crack it, others disagree, and luckily we are on their side!
The Origins Of Cast Iron Cookware
Cast Iron has been around the 6th Century CE. Originating in China, they were made by pouring molten iron into a sand mold, and then once cooled, the mold was broken to reveal the cast iron skillet.
In 1707, Englishman Abraham Darby revolutionized cast iron cookware when he found a way to cast iron into relatively thin pots and kettles.
Toward the end of the 19th Century, American cookware brands Griswold and Wagner and Lodge were founded.
Many of these iconic products are still in use today.
With the development of aluminum and the advent of non-stick aluminum skillets, the demand for cast iron began to wane.
Still, it celebrated a resurgence as concerns arose about chemical coatings and it’s effect on our health and environment.
Why Do Griddles Warp?
The physics of metal being heated and cooled comes into play to explain why such skillets can warp. Whenever metal is heated up, it expands, and when it cools, it contracts.
If this process happens too quickly, the metal cools at a variable rate, and this causes the surface to contract faster in some areas, causing the metal to warp.
Even with iron as thick and heavy as this, the same metallurgy principles apply, yet these same principles provide the solution!
Extreme Heat To Cold Changes
As they make all Blackstone griddles from steel, warping is a natural process that will occur.
As temperatures rise beneath the steel, it will naturally expand based on the temperature fluctuations. As the steel begins to cool again after use, it will contract. It’s natural for minor warping to occur in this way.
That doesn’t mean that Blackstone has provided you with faulty goods, in fact, they will have known about this expansion and contraction relationship long before they cleared the product for use by the general public.
It’s a natural process that is bound to happen whenever metal of any kind is heated and cooled down continuously, so it was always going to occur, no matter what they did.
This minor warping won’t affect your grill’s performance at all though, so don’t worry if this has happened with your product.
In most cases, the metal should ‘fix’ itself within a few uses, as the steel will find the perfect position to rest for continued use, and no further changes will occur to the metal.
That being said, if the griddle continues to warp, then you can always contact Blackstone’s customer services and report the problem, as excessive warping can very easily affect the effectiveness of your griddle, which is clearly something you don’t want.
We’d recommend monitoring it, but if there is only minor warping after a few uses, then you should be absolutely fine to use it as normal with no ill effects.
Size Of The Griddle Cooking Surface
Another factor that can affect warping is the size of the griddle itself. Blackstone freely admits that their griddles will warp, and that’s largely just because of their size.
If you think about it, the larger the steel is, the more easily it will ‘crown’ (where the steel bumps slightly in the center of the griddle top), because there is more concentrated heat at that particular spot, and the rest of the large piece of steel is likely considerably cooler.
Again, this isn’t something to be concerned about, and it certainly shouldn’t deter you from buying these larger griddles, because Blackstone is aware of this happening, and has even taken active steps to try to prevent it in their product design.
The key thing that Blackstone has done is weld reinforcing bars beneath the spot where crowning is most likely to happen.
This is something they will have learned in the early stages of product testing, and so they have rectified it with the reinforcing bars to help prevent crowning.
However, minor warping is unavoidable, so you should expect to see this, no matter which griddle you choose.
The salient point to remember regarding warping of any griddle is that it’s perfectly natural and it won’t affect the performance. If it did, manufacturers simply wouldn’t be allowed to use steel for griddles at all, because it wouldn’t be fit for purpose.
Again, as the customer you will know the difference between minor warping that does not affect your griddle at all, and excessive warping that is a clear sign there is some sort of problem with your griddle.
Use your common sense, contact customer services to discuss it if it’s bad, and be patient. Most times the warping will settle down after a few uses.
There are, however, several steps that you can take to make the chances of excessive warping occurring much less, and we’ll cover them in the section below.
What You Need To Fix A Warped Griddle
Before we get into the details, you’re going to need a few accessories to do this. You’ll need a wooden mallet and a piece of wood.
If the pan is bowed outward, you’ll need a slightly longer piece than the pan, and if curved inward, your wood piece needs to be somewhat shorter than the pan.
You don’t need a degree in metallurgy or any fancy tools, only some patience and a genuine desire to have your griddle back in working condition and a durable working surface.
How To Fix Your Warped Griddle In Three Steps
- Step 1: Once you have your piece of wood, heat your stove to medium-high. Once at temperature, place your skillet on the stove and heat it till it’s very hot. On medium heat, this could take around 20-25 minutes.
- Step 2: Being careful not to burn yourself, use a potholder or a similar tool to remove the griddle and place it on the durable surface with the warped surface facing up. If the warp is curved outward, then it will be placed face down. If the warp is inward, it will be placed face up.
- Step 3: Placing your piece of wood across the center of the bowed area, use the mallet to hit the wood repeatedly and stop when the pan has cooled off.
This method works because while the pan is getting very hot, it’s nowhere near the casting temperatures, so heating this on medium heat and allowing the pan to get very hot is a gradual heating and cooling process.
While this can be used to ‘unwarp’ your prize family pan, the better practice is not to allow the plan to warp in the first place.
Prevention Is ALWAYS Better Than Cure
To avoid doing this repair process regularly and risk cracking the pan, look after your existing and new cookware by applying easy principles.
- Never add cold water to a hot or boiling pan, regardless of material. Never submerge it and wash it with warm water and ONLY by hand. Dishwashers for cast iron are not recommended.
- Take the time and wash your cast iron or stainless steel cookware by hand. Looking after your pots and pans and treating them with the respect they deserve will yield years of service.
- With hard-anodized aluminum, steer clear of the dishwasher as well, as this can lead to the coating being removed, leading to grimy-looking pans.
Season Your Skillet For More Than a Lifetime Of Use
- After unwrapping your new cast iron cookware, you need to wash it thoroughly with soap and water. This will be the only time that you will use soap to clean and wash it! All washes after this should be done with salt, never soap.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Take some foil, line a rimmed baking sheet with it, and place it on the oven floor.
- Vegetable oil or canola will cleanly bake on the surface. Using other oils like butter or olive oil are great for cooking, but they won’t bake cleanly to your skillet surface and give it that non-stick finish.
- Put your pan face down in the middle of the oven and let it bake for 60 minutes. When the hour is up, switch the oven off.
- Allow the pan to cool down completely. This process adds a natural non-stick layer to the pan. For an added layer of seasoning, cook pork chops or a similar fatty food as the first meal; it will do wonders for the surface!
Nine Easy Ways To Keep Your Griddle In Top Shape!
As tough as cast iron is, it also needs a little help to keep its shipshape. So here are nine easy points to remember.
- Don’t soak your skillet. All metal is prone to rust, and your pan is no different.
- Only use soap on the first wash before seasoning.
- Use salt to clean the skillet after use
- Please make sure you add oil to the pan once it’s washed and dried; this keeps the surface seasoned.
- Never store your griddle wet. Please give it a final wipe with a cloth before putting it back in the cupboard, even after air drying.
- Always preheat your skillet. This will prevent uneven heating as you prepare to cook as cast iron doesn’t heat evenly like stainless or non-stick pans do, but they retain their heat a lot better!
- Continue to season your pan throughout its lifetime. When you see the surface shine start to fade, it’s time to re-season.
- Avoid cooking seafood unless it’s specifically for seafood. Unlike other materials, cast iron retains flavors, and you don’t want everything you make afterward to have that prawn under flavor!
- Don’t leave acidic foods too longer than30 minutes. You can make your bolognaise in your skillet, but don’t leave it to stand for too long as the acidity can start to strip the iron away and impart an odd flavor.
No Warp Drive, Mr. Sulu!
Exercising proper care over the years for your cast iron skillet will provide great returns for your family cooking for years to come and deliver great food, flavor, and cooking pleasure!
Following these steps will help you keep your griddle in excellent condition, and in the unlikely event that you (or someone else not as well versed in cast iron cooking as you) manage to warp the iron, you are well equipped to spring into action to restore it!
Whilst heat and griddles go hand in hand, you can actually prevent some of the larger temperature fluctuations from happening by being careful about how you use your griddle.
Preheating it long before you plan to use your griddle can actually increase the likelihood of warping.
This is because the temperature on the griddle will become excessively high because of the amount of time you have spent preheating it.
When you then add your chilled food on to the griddle top, a temperature fluctuation will occur.
Because of the extreme heat mixing with the cold food, warping is much more likely to happen because of the sudden drop in temperature.
So, our first tip is to only preheat briefly, and then add your food to the griddle top before the heat gets too high. Likewise, try to avoid frozen food on griddles where possible.
As you’ve probably already guessed, if a griddle can warp because of chilled food at fridge temperature, imagine how large the temperature fluctuation will be when adding food from the freezer.
You should try to avoid cooking frozen food on a Blackstone griddle wherever possible.
Another huge preventative measure you can take is by avoiding washing your griddle with too much water. A spray bottle is best, because you can monitor how much water you actually apply without excessively soaking it.
The reason for water warping your griddle is similar, in theory, to why heat does.
Applying lots of water will result in a temperature change that activates the atoms of the steel, causing it to expand and contract, and ultimately warp.
Even if you allow your griddle to cool completely before cleaning, you still run the risk of warping if an excessive amount of water is being used because the temperatures will still differ.
Using a spray bottle and using water sparingly on particularly tricky bits will help prevent warping.
It’s a point we keep reiterating, but it’s an important one to end on: minor warping is natural and unavoidable.
Even following these prevention tips won’t stop the inevitable. However, these tips are great to follow to stop excessive warping from occurring, which can often lead to an ineffective griddle if it becomes too bad.