Move over grill; there’s a new player in town! If you’ve walked around a campground recently, you’ve likely noticed the recent trend in outdoor cooking, the Blackstone Griddle. While griddles are nothing new and have been utilized in restaurants and diners for ages, they recently hit the mainstream of the outdoor cooking world.
The griddle has become commonplace thanks to the leading manufacturer of outdoor cooking griddles, Blackstone. The griddle concept is relatively simple. It uses a propane (or electric) heat source to heat a flattop cooking surface. You then cook directly on it. The flat surface griddle is made from cold-rolled steel and is reminiscent of that old cast iron pan passed down from generation to generation. When properly seasoned, the griddle creates a perfect non-stick cooking surface with the versatility to serve up almost any meal.
The main difference between cooking on a propane griddle vs. a gas gill is how heat is applied to the food. In a grill, the heat is transferred directly to the food via the propane flame. As grease drips down, the flames rise and provide the often-sought-after flame-grilled taste. However, the griddle is similar to cooking on a pan, where heat gets applied to the cooking surface and then transferred to the food.
With a grill, the grease and juices drip through the grates to the flame, causing it to flame up. However, with the griddle, the grease and juices burn off on the surface or are pushed into a grease trap. This small distinction often results in a noticeable taste difference in the food. Both offer great flavors.
Both grills and griddles have their place in outdoor cooking and have their benefits and disadvantages. Before owning my Blackstone, my only experience with outdoor cooking was with a grill. However, after trying the griddle for the first time, I was hooked, so much so that my propane grill will be staying home on upcoming camping trips, and this season, all be using my Blackstone exclusively.
Blackstone makes griddles in many different sizes and for various applications. For example, you can get a large 36-inch model that looks just like a gas grill for the home. On the other extreme, you can purchase an extra-portable 17” model perfect for cooking up some burgers while tailgating. Blackstone offers propane and electric options, but propane is the most popular.
Selecting the right Blackstone can seem overwhelming since you have so many options to pick from. Not only do you need to consider the size, but you’ll also want to explore other features such as side shelves, hoods, number of burners, storage, or even unique options like a built-in air-fryer. We’ll focus on one of the most popular options for this review: the portable 22-inch griddle.
Why the 22 in Blackstone is the perfect RV camping cooking option
If you’re looking for a Blackstone for camping and RVing, I suggest you look no further than the 22-inch Blackstone tabletop griddle. It’s plenty big enough to cook a big meal for the whole family, yet portable enough to pack up and stow away in your RV when not using it or between camping trips. In addition, you can pick up a 22-in griddle in propane or electric models, with or without a hood, and even a side burner for added versatility. In my opinion, it’s the perfect size gas griddle for the campsite.
Below are some of the key reasons why this makes the perfect camping griddle:
Lightweight and Easy to store
While the Blackstone cooktop feels heavy and durable, it’s not difficult to move around. For example, one person can easily pick up and move the griddle from the RV to the picnic table. In addition, it’s small enough to fit inside most passthrough storage compartments in an RV or even in some cabinets if you have the space.
Suppose you want a stand for your griddle, no problem. Blackstone makes a collapsible stand that you can easily store in the RV. You can also purchase a carry bag that makes storage easy and mess-free. Blackstone also offers various storage solutions for your cooking accessories, allowing you to easily organize your smaller items like cooking tools, seasonings, cleaning supplies, etc.
The 22″ griddle is simply a great size for camping. In fact, I would argue that its size is one of its best features. It provides plenty of square inches of cooking space, but can easily be stored away unlike Blackstone’s larger griddles.
Easy to clean
Cleaning anything when camping is one of my least favorite tasks. However, cleaning up a griddle after cooking is really easy. When you finish cooking, just scrape the drippings and crumbles into the drip pan, scrape the surface clean, and apply a thin coat of oil to maintain the seasoning. After you do it a few times, cleaning up is less than a 5-minute job. Once you let the griddle cool, you can wipe down the exterior and store it until you’re ready to use it again.
The 22″ tabletop model has an integrated grease management system, which consists of a small opening in the back of the griddle, allowing you to push unwanted grease or food particles into the included grease drip tray. You can purchase replaceable liners for the rear grease management system to keep cleanup a sinch.
The thinking I love the most about griddle cooking is versatility. When cooking on a gas grill, you need to worry about food slipping through the grates, severely limiting what you can cook (without added accessories). However, on a griddle, you have one large cooking surface. You can easily cook up stir-fries, vegetables, eggs, pancakes, bacon, burgers, etc. Anything you can cook on a grill or in a pan, you can cook on a griddle. It’s by far the most versatile outdoor cooking option.
The 22″ Blackstone comes with two independent burners, providing two separate heat zones allowing you to keep one on high and another on low. This dual burner griddle makes it super easy to cook versatile meals at different temperatures. You don’t need to heat up the whole griddle when cooking smaller meals for a small family. The tube-style burners provide plenty of BTUs for high heat cooking and give you full control for optimal cooking.
Perfect for the campsite:
When you’re camping, space is always a limited resource. Large grills (and even some small portable ones) can take up a lot of space and make transporting them difficult and messy. However, a griddle solves many of these problems. Since you can place the 22-inch model on virtually any solid surface, you have very little work to get it ready aside from placing it on the table and connecting the propane. I can usually have mine heating up in just a couple of minutes.
Also, when camping, you rarely need more cook space than what the 22-inch provides. So while you can always go a little bigger, staying with a mid-sized unit gives you the best of both worlds- cook space and portability.
The 22-inch model is very reasonably priced. While you can spend a little more and upgrade some of the included accessories like a hood, stand, carrying case, etc., you don’t need to. For about $130, you can cook on a griddle. If you want the hood, stand, and larger propane tank adapter hose, the Blackstone adventure-ready 22” griddle will cost you a little over $200. Compared to the price of a gas grill, you simply can’t find a better value.
Setting up your Blackstone 22” Griddle
If you’ve ever assembled a gas grill from a box, you’re in for a welcomed surprise with the Blackstone griddle. Assembling it takes less than 5 minutes. You only have to connect four small legs, a propane adapter, and a drip pan. That’s it. Did I mention how easy it is?
The griddle comes with a propane adapter for the small disposable propane tanks. If you don’t want to use a small propane bottle, you can purchase an inexpensive adapter to connect it to the larger 20 lb, tank. You can also purchase a quick disconnect and connect it directly to the RV if you have a propane accessory port.
Seasoning your Griddle
The most time-intensive part of getting the griddle ready is seasoning it. However, this is relatively easy and takes nothing more than a little cooking oil, paper towel, and time. One pro-tip here: Don’t skip past this step. A properly seasoned griddle will define your cooking experience. Take your time and make sure that you repeat the process at least three times.
A perfectly seasoned griddle is almost completely black and non-stick, hence the name Blackstone. The first “Seasoning” layer is the most important part of getting a perfect cooktop. Set up your griddle, connect the propane, and ready your supplies to get started.
The first thing you’ll need is seasoning oil. You can use pretty much any cooking oil. Blackstone also sells a seasoning conditioner, but any oil will do (Canola Oil, Flax Oil, Vegetable Oil, Shortening, Olive Oil). You’ll also need some paper towels. That’s it- you’re ready to start the seasoning process.
Here are some easy steps for seasoning your griddle:
- The first step Ais to add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to your griddle, and using a dish towel or a handful of paper towels, rub the oil onto every inch of the griddle surface to create a thin layer (sides and back too)
- Turn up the heat on all burners. Keep the temperature high until the oil starts smoking.
- The griddle will discolor. That means the oil is bonding to the metal – this is good! This step will take 10-15 minutes.
- Before moving on to the next step, wait until the oil stops smoking, and then do it again. 2-3 tablespoons of oil, rub the entire surface with a thin layer, and let it smoke.
- After the smoke stops, do it one last time. Add oil, rub the entire surface, and let it smoke.
- Once the smoke stops, turn off the griddle and let it cool.
- If all goes according to plan, you’re looking at a black griddle top.
Cleaning your Griddle after cooking:
When you finish cooking on your griddle, it’s very important to maintain the seasoning to keep the griddle in tip-top shape. This process is very similar to what you did to season it for the first time. If you follow this step, you’ll be ready to start cooking the next time you use the griddle.
- After cooking, clean it up (remove food particles, scape grease and burn items, and give it a gentle wipe down.
- Next, rub oil on the whole surface and remove any excess oil with a paper towel
- Let it heat up again and stop smoking.
- Finally, store it somewhere cool and dry.
If you develop a little rust on the griddle, you can easily scape or sand it off and re-season it. Even a very rusty griddle (say you forgot it outside in the rain for a week) can easily be restored. However, as Ben Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So if you keep your griddle clean and dry, you shouldn’t have to ever re-season it.
If you’re on the fence about getting a tabletop propane griddle, go for it. You will enjoy the versatility of cooking on it, appreciate the ease of transporting and storing it, and find that it’s your go-to cooking option at the campground. The Blackstone 22” model is perhaps the best all-around camping griddle you can purchase. It’s affordable, portable, easy to use, has adjustable heat controls, a stainless steel body, and is fun to cook on. The Blackstone flat top griddle has you covered whether you’re grilling up some hot dogs, smash burgers, pancakes, french toast, eggs, or a healthy vegetable stir fry.