The outdoor cooking griddle reminds me of diners. I’ve always enjoyed them. I don’t know if it’s the laminate tables, the soft fluffy pancakes, or the fact that they provide all the best late-night snacks, but eating at diners relaxes me.
They’re places where you can take your time finishing your food. Unlike coffee shops, where everybody is in a rush, eating at a diner is an unhurried experience.
A few weeks ago, when my local diner closed for renovations, I started wondering if I could replicate the diner experience in my own home. None of my pans seemed to make pancakes as fluffy, so I knew it was time to look for griddles.
It was when I discovered the outdoor griddle that it suddenly all made so much sense.
Why not eat your breakfast outdoors?
It provides the same relaxed dining as my favorite diner, only now I can be sure that the griddle will be clean when I cook my omelet on it — not so with some diners! I was able to try several griddles, and I would like to help you find the outdoor griddle that is right for you.
Top Reasons to Look for the Best Outdoor Griddle
An outdoor cooking griddle is an awesome piece of equipment. It’s basically a flat cooking surface placed on top of a heat source. Griddles are best for preparing food for a large number of people because of its huge cooking area.
Unlike using a skillet, it is much easier to flip food items on a griddle since you don’t have to deal with its sides. Plus, the open area allows the extra moisture to escape. No more soggy bacon strips and hash browns! Food comes out nice and crispy all the time.
Some people who already have backyard grills still dream of having an outdoor flat top griddle simply because it is more convenient to cook on that kind of surface. You don’t have to deal with food falling through the grates or of flames jumping up and scorching your meats.
Plus, cooking on a griddle is the only way to go if you want to make a smash burger. A smash burger, by the way, is a trendy food that is made by “smashing” loosely packed ground meat onto the cooking surface.
Try doing that on a grill.
The griddle allows you to cook your food in ways other than grilling. You can sauté, flambé, or just sear your food items. You can use it to make quesadilla. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even impress your party guests with your food-flipping skills as you prepare your vegetable stir-fry Benihana-style.
If you’re convinced that you need an outdoor cooking griddle, read on to see which brand and model you should choose.
Battle of the Outdoor Propane Griddles
Griddles that use propane for its burners are more popularly known as gas griddles. Many seasoned grillers choose the gas option because it heats up much faster than its electric counterpart. The downside is that heating can be uneven, particularly if the area where you cook gets breezy.
Outdoor propane griddles tend to be bulky, so they aren’t really meant to be moved constantly. They also need regular maintenance. The propane tank needs to be checked regularly for leaks. Beyond these few setbacks, the outdoor propane griddle is perfect for entertaining. You can fire up a huge batch of barbecue chicken with some corn and biscuits, and there might still be space left to heat up some shrimp.
For this post, we will first look at two of the most popular outdoor propane griddles: The Blackstone 36-inch Outdoor Griddle Station and the Camp Chef Flat Top Grill 900. These two are known for durability and reliability when it comes to cooking.
Both feature an expansive, cold-rolled steel cooking surface. Both have stainless-steel frames, which is important since both are bulky and require strong support. Both also use stainless-steel burners to heat their cooking surface.
We will also see the features of a portable griddle that uses propane for its burners. The Royal Gourmet PD1300 may be small, but it is still a good choice for outdoor cooking.
Read on to find out what sets these griddles apart and which outdoor propane griddle will best fit your outdoor cooking needs.
Why Should You Get an Outdoor Electric Griddle?
So far we have looked at gas griddles that use propane for their burners. We have seen the benefits and disadvantage of using gas. This time, we shall explore the pros and cons of buying an electric griddle.
An electric griddle has embedded heating elements in its cooking plate. It heats the cooking surface a little slower than in gas griddles. One advantage is that you can control the temperature much better. You can set the temperature using the thermostat control and it will stay that temperature throughout the entire cooking time.
Another advantage to buying an electric griddle is it can be used indoors. Even if you use them outdoors, you won’t have to contend with the wind changing the heat all the time. If you do plan to use them outdoors, you will need to stay a few feet from an electric outlet.
This is one limitation of the electric griddle: you have to have access to electricity to use it. This is not a problem if you want to use it in an RV or just in your backyard. However, if you plan on bringing this during a camping trip, you need to ask ahead if there is anywhere you can plug your griddle in.
Finally, they are more energy efficient than their gas counterparts. If you plan on using your griddle every day, buying an electric model will help you save money which you can use to buy more hotdogs for your next outdoor picnic!
Now, let us take a closer look at a wildly popular griddle and see why so many people are raving about it
The first thing I always check when I try out products is the company that manufactured it. This particular outdoor griddle is manufactured by Blackstone Products. They have been manufacturing griddles since 2005 and they’re basically a household name at this point.
People easily recognize this brand.
Now let’s take a look at the portable outdoor griddle and its features. The Blackstone Outdoor Griddle gets delivered unassembled. Don’t worry, it won’t take you more than ten minutes to put the parts together as the manual is pretty easy to follow. Just be sure to have your toolbox beside you, as you are going to need more than a screwdriver to put this together.
It is best to assemble the griddle outside since it is quite bulky and heavy to move around. I don’t think it could fit through most doors. It weighs a whopping 134 pounds, so once it is in place, you might want to leave it there. This is a good thing as it adds to the griddle’s stability. Just don’t place it on a flimsy deck or it might go through the floor.
However, just because it’s heavy doesn’t mean you can’t transport it anymore. You can actually remove the griddle top, fold the legs, and roll the outdoor griddle to your campsite using its industrial strength caster wheels. This is a plus should you decide to bring it camping or tailgating.
Before you cook for the first time, you have to clean the griddle. You can do this by washing the surface with some grease-cutting soap and water. Some expert grillers suggest using a chainmail scrapper on the surface. After that, you have to season the griddle. Seasoning involves wiping oil all over the cooking surface. You can use a rag or paper towels to do this.
After it has been cleaned, dried, and seasoned, you can start cooking. The Blackstone Outdoor Griddle has four independently controlled burners. Each can be heated by up to 15,000 British Thermal Unit (BTU) and are made of stainless steel. With the different cooking settings, you can cook different food items all at the same time.
You can also switch off the burner, or burners, once what you are cooking on that area is done. For example, if you’re heating some buns for your smashed burgers and they are already toasted, you can switch off the burner on that area while the burger patties are still cooking. This way, your buns stay warm but will not burn.
By the way, it is important to use a good quality spatula when cooking on the griddle. You don’t want your spatula melting on you as you flip your burger patties.
With this large outdoor griddle, you get 720 square inches of heavy-duty, rolled steel as your cooking area — perfect for cooking a giant breakfast, lunch, or dinner for a large family. You can even use it for catering an event, serving up plates of grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas one after another. The front of the cooking surface is closed by a lip, so you don’t need to worry about food falling off as you flip them.
It comes with an improved side and bottom shelf, so you won’t have to hunt for a place to put your sauces and oil bottles on. The side shelf even becomes a removable cutting board. The rest of the shelves can hold paper towels, trash bags, and everything else that you might use for cooking.
This way, you won’t have to keep going back inside to get items that you will need. It even has a hook where you can hang the trash bag. You and your guests have an automatic place to throw away your paper plates and plastic cups after you’re done eating.
No need to worry about stacking charcoals, pouring kerosene, and lighting things with matches. Besides being easy to assemble, the Blackstone Outdoor Griddle has a push button ignition that is battery-powered.
You can start the griddle with just one push of a button.
The Blackstone also has a rear grease management system. It is basically just a big metal cup at the back where the grease, and the water for when you clean your griddle, flows into. It is a source of complaint for some. It’s reportedly quite difficult to slot the grease cup correctly. Some claim that the grease sometimes misses the cup, so it runs down the griddle leg.
To address this, some ingenious grillers attached a piece of aluminum foil in order to direct the grease from the end of the drain into the cup. Other suggest placing bent wire (like a paper clip) from the drain to the cup so it would guide the oil. Either way, it should help you avoid making a huge mess.
This griddle is on the expensive side. But with the powder-coated steel frame, cold-rolled steel cooking surface, and the ease of cooking on propane, it may be a good investment. Plus, it’s meant to last for years, and customer service by Blackstone Products is impeccable.
Since the surface is made of stainless steel, it will rust if not properly seasoned and kept out in the elements. You can buy a hard cover that protects your cooking surface from the rain, falling leaves, tree sap, and other debris that usually coat outdoor cooking equipment. It is a little pricey, but it will save you a lot of time and grief cleaning up before cooking.
Here are the pros and cons to buying the Blackstone 36-inch Outdoor Griddle Station:
- Large cooking area
- Easy assembly
- Multi-zone cooking lets you cook different food items at the same time
- Lip on the cooking surface keeps food from falling off
- Large cooking surface
- Push-button ignition
- Has fasteners for propane tank
- May be difficult to move around because of its weight
- Requires seasoning and periodic oiling to prevent rust
- Grease drainage is ineffective
If you love cooking for your large group of friends or dream of opening a burger joint, the Camp Chef Flat Top Grill 900 might be the perfect large outdoor griddle for you.
Camp Chef is a company established in 1990. It emerged because they wanted to provide solutions for the needs of campers and sportsmen for better cooking equipment. For the past twenty years, they have been producing high-quality equipment for all types of outdoor gathering.
One of the most versatile and efficient pieces of cooking equipment manufactured by Camp Chef is the Camp Chef Flat Top Grill 900. It is delivered in two heavy boxes, so be prepared to do some lifting. Assembly is pretty straightforward and can be done easily by following the instructions on the manual.
The cooking surface is 877 square inches of cold rolled steel. It comes pre-seasoned, so it doesn’t have to be cleaned and oiled before your first cook. Underneath the cook surface are height adjustment screws. You can use these to adjust the cooking surface and better allow the used oil to flow into the catch can.
Additionally, together with the adjustable cart casters, you can fine-tune the height of the griddle to adapt to irregular flooring height. These are two advantages that the Camp Chef model has over the Blackstone griddle.
Another awesome feature of the cooking surface is that it has a heat diffuser plate underneath. It allows for even distribution of heat throughout the surface and prevents the rolled steel from warping. On top of that, it is well-enclosed in the burner box. With this wind-deflection feature, no heat is lost during windy days.
This outdoor stainless-steel griddle is very heavy. It clocks in at 172 pounds. However, it is not necessarily hard to transport, thanks to its heavy-duty wheels.
You can push the griddle to wherever you want it to be.
Under the griddle are six independently-controlled 12,000 BTU burners made of stainless-steel. These are powered by propane gas, and they heat up the cooking surface really fast. The good thing about lower BTU is that it consumes less propane.
Just like the Blackstone Griddle, you can switch off some of the burners when you are done cooking the food items on it. During Mexican food night, you can keep the tortilla toasting on low heat while cooking the chicken or beef that will go in it. It’s just so convenient!
The Camp Chef Flat Top Grill 900 has two side shelves that can withstand heavy loads. You can place your chopping board on it as you prepare your ingredients. You can also keep your cooking implements and sauce bottles on them.
You won’t need matches to start this grill because it has an ignition system. You can start it by pushing a button. This is one thing that most charcoal grillers envy. There is no need to shred paper to use as kindling for the fire. Plus, you won’t be dealing with the awful kerosene smell that others give off.
As for clean-up, it is made easier by Camp Chef’s grease management system. It effectively directs used oil and small pieces of food towards a large grease cup. Removing the cup is easy, so you don’t need to wrestle with it when it is time to wash it with soap and water.
There are no reports of leakage happening unless you forget to empty the grease cup. You do have to remove food leftovers from cooking to prevent it from caking on the surface, but that can be done easily with a scraper.
Finally, we get to the price. Don’t be scared, but this large outdoor stainless-steel griddle costs a lot. Now, if you plan on using this for the home, then it may seem a little bit expensive. However, if you are going to use it for business, then it is a worthy investment. It’s meant to be used for many, many years, so you will eventually break even. Just don’t forget to treat the surface with oil to prevent rusting.
Here are the pros and cons to buying the Camp Chef Flat Top Grill 900:
- Huge, evenly-heating cooking area
- Adjustable height to adapt to uneven flooring
- Doesn’t require pre-seasoning
- Multi-zone cooking
- Consumes less propane
- Push-button ignition
- Has a propane tank holder
- Effective grease management system
- Easy to clean
- Very heavy
- Very expensive
If you love cooking while camping, tailgating, or just hanging out at your neighbor’s backyard, the Royal Gourmet PD1300 might be the right portable outdoor griddle for you. This product is manufactured by Royal Gourmet — a pretty popular brand in the grilling world. It is based in Atlanta, GA, and it is known for using the latest technology to make its grills and griddles.
Like all the previous griddles reviewed, this portable griddle comes unassembled. It will take you anywhere from ten to twenty minutes to put the parts together following the instructions on the manual. You just have to have the right tools with you.
This griddle weighs 30 pounds, much lighter than the other griddles featured in this review. This one is meant to be carried around. You can place your Royal Gourmet PD 1300 on top of any heat-resistant counter. It is not meant to be used indoors because of the attached propane tank. It poses a hazard, so keeping it outside is highly recommended. But you can bring it in your RV and set it up outside to enjoy stir-fries while on the road.
One advantage that this outdoor griddle offers is that it doesn’t need pre-seasoning. Once you have assembled and cleaned the surface, you are ready to cook. Speaking of surface, this griddle features 316 square inches of porcelain-enameled cooking space. It may be smaller than the others, but it is big enough to cook meals good enough for four to five hungry people.
The porcelain surface is easier to clean and only requires a good wash with soap and water. Unfortunately, there were several complaints about it chipping easily. Some noticed the chipping as soon as the item got delivered. Others noticed the chipping after a couple of use. Therefore, it is best to avoid using abrasive materials when washing the porcelain-enameled cooking surface, as they can scratch off the covering.
The cooking surface is heated by three separately-controlled stainless-steel burners. Each offers 9,000 BTU. The burners fire up with a single push of the ignition button, so no need for matches. The cooking surface takes a while to heat up, but once it does, it tends to run a little hot.
Even if you switch off one of the burners, it is still quite easy to burn your food if left unattended. Another issue that some people raised is the uneven heating of the surface. The back of the cooking surface tends to run hotter than the front part. It is best to keep this in mind, so you can position food that require higher temperatures to cook at the back of the griddle’s surface.
The 9,000 BTU means you use less propane, making the griddle more economical to use than the other large outdoor griddles.
The gap between the burners and the cooking surface is also a little big. This is disadvantageous if you are cooking somewhere windy. Some who bought the PD1300 had to fashion some form of windscreen to avoid having the fire being blown out.
There is a removable grease cup at the side of the griddle’s main body. Some people claim that it is too small, so it fills up with used oil fairly quickly. On the plus side, it’s very easy to remove and clean by washing with soap and water.
Speaking of cleaning, the entire griddle is very easy to maintain.
The cooking surface just requires wiping down and washing with any dishwashing liquid. The rest just needs to be wiped down with a rag. It is not advisable to use a scrapper to remove food remnants stuck on the cooking surface, as it can chip the porcelain.
For a small griddle, the price seems just right. It doesn’t come with any extra features like shelves or wheels, so the price is expectedly lower than the other griddles.
It comes with a free cover, but it is important to note that the cover is not waterproof. Since the control panel is made of stainless steel, it might be a good idea to find another cover that will keep the rain off of this portable outdoor griddle.
Here are the pros and cons to buying the Royal Gourmet PD1300 Portable 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill Griddle:
- Light and portable
- Doesn’t require pre-seasoning
- Multi-zone cooking
- Consumes less propane
- Push-button ignition
- Has a propane tank holder
- Effective grease cup
- Easy to clean
- Cannot be used indoors
- Porcelain cooking surface chips easily
- Runs a little hot even when 1 burner is switched off
- Uneven heating of the cooking surface
- Windy conditions can affect performance of the burners
- Free cover is not waterproof
- Body will rust if left uncovered
If you live in an apartment or a house with no backyard, this Secura electric griddle is the perfect griddle for you. Out of the four models on this review, it is the only one that you can use inside your home. It runs on electricity instead of gas, so it is safer to keep inside your kitchen.
Secura, together with Duxtop, is a brand from the manufacturer of the same name. It is a leading producer of small appliances in North America and has sold over eight million units worldwide. One of their top selling products is the Secura GR-1503XL.
This outdoor cast iron griddle gets delivered unassembled. The great thing is, since it only has 6 main parts, it is super easy to put together. Before you use it, you need to give the cooking plate and the base a good wipe using a damp cloth. Allow it to dry completely. Next, get two teaspoons of cooking oil and spread it all over the cooking surfaces using a folded paper towel or a small piece of cloth.
Yes, you read that right. Surfaces.
This griddle-grill combo has two cooking surfaces. The removable cast iron cooking plate is reversible. It is a grill on one side and a griddle on the other. This makes it the most versatile cooking equipment in this review! Once you’re finished oiling the surfaces, plug it in and you’re ready to grill, fry, sauté, or sear.
The Secura griddle is very light. It only weighs 13.6 pounds. This makes it perfect for everyday use. You can take it out from wherever you are storing it and place it on any flat heat-resistant surface. As long as there is a power source nearby, you can cook your eggs and bacon just about anywhere.
After setting the temperature probe to the right setting, you need to wait for the griddle to preheat before you can start cooking. Because it has embedded heating element, the plate heats up fast. It will take about 8 minutes for it to reach its highest temperature setting. Once it has reached the desired temperature, the heating indicator light will go out. That means it is time to put your food on the griddle.
The cooking surface is not as humongous as the other electric griddles, but it is still big enough to cook a meal for a fairly big group. The cooking plate is roughly 180 square inches. That’s enough space for cooking 6 burger patties or 12 regular-sized hotdogs. Some posts claim that there tend to be hot spots on the cooking surface.
It runs 20-30F hotter on the area that is near the plug. It’s best to remember that, so you can place your food that needs more heat on that area. People rave about its non-stick surface. Not only do the meats not stick on the grill while you are barbecuing, it is also so easy to wipe off food residue once you’re done cooking.
Another positive thing about the cooking surface is it is made of cast-iron. As mentioned, it is already naturally non-stick. It will get even better as you season it. It fortifies the food you cook with iron. For those who lack this important mineral in their diet, simply cooking your food on this outdoor cast iron griddle already improves your health.
Afraid of getting hot grease on you?
The Secura GR-1503XL has got you covered — literally! It has a removable glass lid that acts as a shield for oil splatters. This is perfect since you might be using it inside the house, and you definitely don’t want your counter and walls to be covered in grease after cooking.
It also keeps the heat from escaping, letting your food cook faster. Don’t worry, your food won’t turn soggy, as the extra moisture seeps out of the side vents. However, some have commented that the moisture from the food condenses on the surface of the glass, making it difficult to see what you are cooking.
The grease channels let the fats and excess oils drain away from the food, allowing you to eat healthier. It is similar to buying lean cuts of meat, since all the fat drips out. The used oil slides into the removable drip tray cleanly, avoiding any drips that normally collect under other electric griddles.
The drip tray received mixed reviews. Some people who have used the product say they were surprised at how clean the underside of this griddle stays. Others complained that it was ineffective, so they had to line the bottom of the griddle with paper towels to avoid making grease puddles every time they cooked.
Once you’re done cooking, all you have to do is allow the griddle to cool completely, then just detach all the washable parts. Clean-up is a breeze with the Secura GR-1503XL. The drip tray, base, and scraper all need to be hand-washed, but the cooking plate and glass cover are both dishwasher friendly. The manual says not to use abrasive pads or harsh cleaners on any of the parts so as to avoid scratching.
At $76.99, this griddle and grill combo is a steal. It allows you to cook inside and outside your house. It can be used to barbecue or fry. It is small enough to be placed inside a drawer if you don’t have the counter space for it. It is easy to use, clean, store, and transport. What more can you ask for from a portable cast-iron griddle?
Here are the pros and cons to buying the Secura GR-1503XL 700W Electric Reversible 2 in 1 Grill Griddle with Glass Lid:
- Reversible grill/griddle cooking surface
- Light and portable
- Easy to store
- May be used indoors
- Easy to clean, some parts are dishwasher-friendly
- Very affordable
- Requires pre-seasoning
- Requires a nearby power source
- Uneven heating of the cooking surface
- Some complaints about ineffective drip tray
Features at a Glance:
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the important features of each griddle. This might help you decide which one to get for your home or RV.
|Blackstone 36-inch Griddle||Camp Chef Flat Top Grill 900||Royal Gourmet PD1300 Portable||Secura GR-1503XL 700W|
|Cooking Area||720 square inches||877 square inches||316 square inches||180 square inches|
|Additional Features||· Built-in grease catcher|
· Electric ignition
· 4 castors
· Folding legs
· Built-in side and bottom shelves
|· Caster wheels|
· Electric ignition
· Built-in side shelves
|· Removable grease cup|
· Electric ignition
|· Removable glass lid|
· Heating indicator light
|Construction||Powder-coated stainless-steel frame / cold-rolled steel cooking surface||Steel frame / cold-rolled steel cooking surface||Stainless-steel body / porcelain cooking surface||Plastic frame / cast-iron cooking surface|
Many people who grew up eating breakfast at diners want to replicate that at home. Not just the taste of juicy hamburgers and fluffy pancakes, but also the relaxed, unhurried pace of eating good food surrounded by your family. Having an outdoor cooking griddle lets you cook restaurant-quality food and more. Now, you can also enjoy the beauty of the outdoors as you have your meal.
There are so many brands and models to choose from. We only covered four today. Which one should you choose? The answer to which model of outdoor griddle you should get is really based on your cooking needs. Do you need to cook a huge amount of food most of the time? Then you should get the Camp Chef Flat Top Grill 900. It is so big that it can be used for commercial purposes but can also be downsized for personal use.
Do you want a big cooking surface but cannot afford the big price tag? You can buy the Blackstone 36-inch outdoor griddle station. It is big enough to feed your group of friends, but the price tag is not as hefty as the Camp Chef model. Do you want to be able to use the griddle inside?
Then the Secura GR-1503XL is the perfect griddle for you. This Outdoor Griddle is small enough to be placed on your kitchen countertop. Plus, it is the cheapest yet the highest-rated product among the four different models we’ve reviewed. Once you figure out your particular outdoor cooking needs, then you will be able to better decide which of these griddles to buy for your next cookout.