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Griddle Cooker Questions

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    Griddle Cooker Questions

    Ok folks, I can do limited work here in the hospital, so am wasting time and charging vacation while looking at AR all day and window shopping for MCS stuff. Once we start getting hospital bills I may regret it, but Yvonne has already told me I should buy an outdoor griddle grill, after her surgeon has been showing us all his stir fry, veggies and other stuff in his Blackstone Pro 36. She wants to eat healthier, and thinks this type cooker would get me doing more veggies, chicken and fish, and she is probably right. I was going to get a Smoke Vault, but since I can already smoke, a new type of cooker to complement the kettle, Genesis and offset may be the thing.

    No good deals right now as most folks online are out of stock, but an Ace Hardware a few miles away has the basic Blackstone 36 for $329, and Amazon has the Blackstone 36 with the built in trash bag holder, paper towel holder and cutting board, for $349.

    Where I am getting myself confused is looking at the Campchef FTG600, which has leveling legs that seem like would be good to have, and which a lot of folks say heats more evenly. I don’t really care it can act as normal grill, but it has that too. And then I look at the Campchef 16” stoves, and an option is one of those with a 3 burner griddle, which would be a little over 600 square inches, but you can pull the griddle off and use their pizza ovens, cook in pots, and other stuff. But the total may be more than the Blackstone or Campchef flat tops.

    So those of you with a Blackstone - is leveling of the griddle an issue? I would think it would be. Pretty every place I would put the cooker is a concrete patio or paved area that invariable has a slight slope so that water runs off and away from the house.

    Another question is covers. Is the hard metal cover I see enough to keep the too dry and rust free? I read some concerns with soft covers, which seem justified based on my Weber grill covers, that water will seep through and rust the top using the soft covers.

    I guess there are just too many options. And then there are knock offs of the Blackstone for sale cheaper at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sam’s and Costco. I hesitate to invest money in anything I might not get replacement parts for a few years down the road.

    Of course, If I am smart I will just start with the griddle panels I got for my Grillgrates, but that is about an 18x18 square area, with a ridge down the middle...

    So the options are:

    1. Get a Blackstone 36, only ones you can find in stock right now are $330 at Ace or $350 at Amazon. Seems to have the advantage for available accessories. Or a smaller Blackstone 28, but its just 2 burners. Everyone has that one in stock.

    2. Get a Campchef FTG600, but the only one I found in stock as at a Dick's 70 miles away for $399. Home Depot has it on their website for $349, but out of stock. Seems to have advantages of possibly more rugged construction, and leveling legs to get the griddle flat and draining right.

    3. Get a Campchef 3 burner 16" "cooking system" stove. For $270-ish you can get the Explorer and it comes with a 2 burner (16" x 24") griddle. The 3 burner 36" griddle is $150ish. All sorts of add-on's or the Camp Chef 16" cookers, but they are not rolling cookers, but portable cookers with folding legs. Advantage is flexibility, and leveling legs. Disadvantage is they are not as much a backyard permanent looking appliance like a gas grill, since they re not on a cart. The 3 burner griddle is 600 sq. inches, the 2 burner is 400ish.

    4. Get a griddle for my Genesis II E-410. Main disadvantage is grease management (lack thereof). Exampe would be the LittleGriddle.

    5. Get more Grillgrate griddle panels. Disadvantage - relies on Genesis II grease management, swiping grease off the left or right sides of the panels. Also aluminum versus steel. Don't think it will be as non stick, plus it has those pesky seams.

    I will be cooking a lot of days for 2, and a lot of weekends for 8 to 10, and sometimes for 20-30.

    EDIT:

    6. Just use the cast iron stuff I have and the DNG on the Weber grills, and see if I really need another cooker. For cooking for 2, that may be sufficient.
    Last edited by jfmorris; June 9, 2020, 12:39 PM.

    #2
    I like the versatility of my CampChef. Stove, griddle, and pizza oven all get usage fairly regularly. Can't do that on a Blackstone.

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Which model do you have?

    #3
    I don’t have a griddle, but do grill a fair amount of veggies - cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, egg plant, cabbage, onions, corn on the cobb, bell peppers, and lettuce. I am not trying to talk you out of a griddle, but a cast iron frying pan can do some good stuff, too.

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      I do have a Lodge 12", and I am betting that Lodge 14" pizza pan I have can be tossed onto the gas or charcoal grill to use as a griddle surface too. This would be the cheapest start. Maybe I need to get some griddle tools to use.

    • LA Pork Butt
      LA Pork Butt commented
      Editing a comment
      jfmorris pretty much all I use are tongs and skewers.

    • Skip
      Skip commented
      Editing a comment
      Or a Lodge 17" when you have company. https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Seasone.../dp/B00063RWVG

    #4
    I don't have one yet, so take anything I say with a grain of salt, but I've been looking at them hard for a while now... It seems like if you go with the straight griddle then Blackstone has a slight edge over Camp Chef, but its largely a toss up. I'd stay away from knock offs, they seem to be substandard on the quality and probably won't last that long. Currently if I was able to pull the trigger I'd go with the Camp Chef 16" system and have the flexibility that texastweeter mentioned. Plus, the 30K BTU burners...

    Comment


    • klflowers
      klflowers commented
      Editing a comment
      Dan, I ended up with the Tahoe. Lacks the end tables and the other stuff the P90X comes with but has the wind screen and the same burners.

    • Driverdan
      Driverdan commented
      Editing a comment
      Just last Friday I bought the BlackStone 36 from Walmart for $297. It has 2 side shelves, a paper towel holder, and a metal cover, and I added the soft cover also. I had to feed my raging MCS since I am STILL awaiting my MasterBuilt 1050! My deck is just a tiny bit off level but not enough to be a concern. It has it's own learning curve, but I have smash burgers dialed in now! Huge amount of cooking area will come in handy for family breakfasts, etc. Another impressive cooking device.

    • Attjack
      Attjack commented
      Editing a comment
      Remember there are griddles better than camp chef or Blackstone to consider as well.

    #5
    If you add a couple grill grates, turn them upside down, and use a nonstick grill matt might do the trick.

    I don't know much about these, but from your description - the CampChef FTG might be my choice, just because you said it heats more evenly.

    If I'm using a griddle, I want even temps. Just my 2 cents

    Comment


    • Dan Deter
      Dan Deter commented
      Editing a comment
      And that is a good question about the griddles on the 16" system, but I figure if I can do it the flexibility is worth figuring out heat distribution. Yes, I'm working on talking myself into trying to get this by SWMBO...

    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      I've been cooking with upside down Grillgrates for years, mostly for smash burgers and beef searing. I recently got two of their griddle panels, which lock to make a surface about 18.8" front to back, 18.5" or so side to side. They are on top of the Grillgrates on my Weber Genesis II 4 burner right now, but only used them once for burgers, and was not as happy as when smashing them on the regular grillgrate flat side. Maybe it was not as hot, as I had them on top of the Grillgrates.

    • PBCDad
      PBCDad commented
      Editing a comment
      jfmorris I have the 3 burner 16" Camp Chef. I do love its versatility, and when we go camping it makes me feel like the king of the campground. However I wouldn't say that heat distribution is even, especially with all three burners covered - it seems to do a bit better with one uncovered, but there are still hot and cool spots.
      It can get screaming hot if you want it to. I also want to add that cooking on a griddle is so much fun, you won't regret it. Much better than grill toppers.

    #6
    Following...

    Comment


      #7
      I have not pulled the trigger yet either, but some of you might remember my inquiry several weeks ago regarding a dedicated griddle. My back porch space is limited and the 4 burner models are really too wide. The 2 burner ones seem rather limited after discussing with Mr. Bones. I am currently trying to decide if I want to spend the money on this nice looking unit Camp Chef 3-Burner 475 Flat Top Grill w/ 468 sq in Pre-Seasoned Cold Rolled Steel Griddle.

      At $350 it's more than I want to spend but looks well made and reviews are quite positive....and it fits my space limitations!

      Comment


      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        Mr. Bones if I find it for a good price, I would want the FTG 600. I saw the one on your Blackstone. Do you use that only, or a soft cover too? I.e. does the hard cover protect it from the elements enough to prevent rust?

      • castironchris
        castironchris commented
        Editing a comment
        I can't speak for Mr. Bones but I have mine under a grill gazebo from lowes and have the diamond plate cover on my 36" Blackstone (Bought from Amazon) and it does a good job keeping it dry and clean. Of course I use it 5-6 times a week at least so there isn't a lot of chance for rust to come around.

      • DavidNorcross
        DavidNorcross commented
        Editing a comment
        I have this one and love it. Service was great! https://www.etsy.com/listing/6332364...-cover-griddle

      #8
      It's not something I'm considering more than casually as I don't need one (and it Seattle it would only be used 2-3 months of the year) but I think the bigger options might be overkill. There's 2 of you. You don't need 36" to cook food for two. Now... if you see yourself regularly having people over (like, 8+) and might want to do ggriddled stuff... yeah. But even the smaller Blackstone etc would be plenty of space.

      Also... it's not like you HAVE to cook everything outside. But Huntsville might have weather that is conducive to it... I don't know what that's like...

      Comment


      • Mr. Bones
        Mr. Bones commented
        Editing a comment
        The space on a smaller 2-burner griddle would be sufficient fer small cooks, but imposes limits, heat zone wise, ime...

      • rickgregory
        rickgregory commented
        Editing a comment
        Bones - that's a consideration that I'd overlooked for sure. If you want a 'keep warm' zone and a hotter one, I wonder if the smaller tops are adequate.

      • Red Man
        Red Man commented
        Editing a comment
        rickgregory I rarely go for more than two weeks without cooking outside. I have a pop up canopy if I need it, but don’t use it very often. It may be cool and rainy most of
        the year, but at least it’s rarely too cold to cook outdoors!

      #9
      I am going to just reiterate my opinion - I like the versatility of the Camp Chef stoves. The other day my wife was frying fish in a CI skillet on one burner while I was making a cheese steak on the CI griddle on a different burner.

      I have to say those Blackstones are really pretty though. Maybe I need one of those too???

      Comment


      • klflowers
        klflowers commented
        Editing a comment
        Mr. Bones, you got that right. She did tell me I could get a Grilla Chimp pellet grill, but I haven't been able to bring myself to pull the trigger. I have enough stuff.

      • hoovarmin
        hoovarmin commented
        Editing a comment
        klflowers what does this phrase mean, "I have enough stuff"? I cannot process this. I know my wife has enough stuff, but...

      • klflowers
        klflowers commented
        Editing a comment
        hoovarmin, she was watching me type. Now that she is gone, I can go back to jonesing for every piece of gear known to man.

      #10
      Don’t have one but have looked at enuff reviews that the CF 600 would get my vote and they make a portable version also but that is griddle only that you can pack up to go camping

      Comment


        #11
        I have a 36" Blackstone. It's the all stainless one with the rear grease drain. I'm glad they moved the drain to the rear. You'd rather scrape things away rather than towards you.

        It's just me and the wife mostly. You will not regret that size even just for the two of you. Like when doing stir fry for example. You can cook your meat, veggies, rice etc all in their own little areas then combine in one glorious heap! Same with things like fajitas and breakfasts. Even with smash burgers, the extra elbow room when placing them and then flipping them comes in quite handy.

        Mine sits on pavers and I have no issues leveling wise. Everything tends to run towards the drain. Maybe I just got lucky where I positioned it. However you can simply put some washers on the legs of the griddle if it needs to be dialed in for leveling purposes. The legs just sit in the holes of the cart and can be easily lifted. There are two diameters for the legs. The end is a smaller diameter that goes into the holes and the face of the larger diameter sits on the cart. So you can securely stack some washers to level it. I did that initially because of what my level was telling me. Then I tried it without the washers and got the same results.

        I do have the hard cover. I love it except for the price. Had a soft cover initially. The problem with that, is it sags in the middle and wants to rest on the oily surface of the griddle. Plus, with the hard cover you can put it on right after you're done cooking. Obviously a soft cover would probably melt.

        I live in the desert so rust isn't really a concern for me. Just treat it like cast iron.

        Comment


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          I saw a video today where a guy leveled the Blackstone with washers, so it does work. And I have lots of washers!

        #12
        Griddles are fun to cook on, I love my Blackstone 28. On weekends, since you're cooking for crowds, you,'ll probably want the 36" Blackstone or the Campchef. It seems the Campchefs are a little higher quality. Up to you. As far as leveling I use 2 small blocks of wood cut to the right height to keep it level. I like the idea of levelers on the Campchef. I find the wood blocks kind of a cumbersome, but they do work.

        Please give my regards to your wife. Positive thought and prayers.

        Comment


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks! I use wood shims under my offset to get the grease draining properly. It has two leveling legs, but the bolts have not been turned since 1980-something, so I doubt I could ever break them loose.

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          This is what I do when needed on my 36", as well, but I like the ^^^^ Rod washer idea, as well, an will be tryin it.

        #13
        I have the CampChef FTG600, I love it. The levelling legs are definitely a plus, and it is solidly built. It decidedly has hot spots, but I can’t day whether it is better or worse than others. Like you, I don’t care about the convertibility.

        Comment


          #14
          I would highly recommend the 36" griddle. I can also say that I have owned several Blackstones and I also currently have the CampChef 600. I prefer CampChef. I believe it handles wind better and I rarely need to cook above the low setting because it heats so well. I have also found the the preseasoned top works better for me. I do not think you can go wrong with either and this is in no way to put down Blackstone. For me, the build quality of Camp Chef is fantastic.

          Hope this helps.

          Comment


            #15
            Gawd I hate it with MCS and then asking the group just gives me more questions sometimes. That certainly is not what you need right now. But then again maybe this is a good distraction for you.
            IF money was not an object and you could have what ever; how would you go?
            Last edited by ofelles; June 9, 2020, 03:05 PM.

            Comment

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