Because I love to grill, I’m always on the lookout for ways to help maximize the experience. Often, that means searching for new products that allow me to expand my ever-growing repertoire of dishes that can be cooked outdoors. Not long ago, I decided that investing in a griddle could be the next logical step. That’s what inspired me to put together this Blackstone 36 inch gas grill griddle review.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Gas Grill Griddle
Owning a gas grill with a griddle-style surface can open up a whole new world of grilling possibilities. Also known as flat-tops, these units offer a broad expanse of cooking space that can be used to prepare everything from scrambled eggs to homemade English muffins.
Unlike a traditional grill surface, which consists of cooking grates that can allow ingredients to fall through, a griddle offers a relatively foolproof cooking experience. If you’ve ever watched a burger crumble in half as you tried to flip it, or lost several asparagus spears to the flames, you should appreciate what these nifty units have to offer.
Griddles are a good choice for anyone who hasn’t quite gotten the hang of traditional grilling grates. If you’re a seasoned outdoor chef looking to expand your repertoire, a griddle could be an invaluable addition to your lineup.
That said, is there anyone who shouldn’t invest in a flat-top griddle? If you prefer a flame-broiled texture for all of your grilled foods, then a griddle might not be the best option. Similarly, if you enjoy using your regular grill and are working with limited space, there’s no reason why you should purchase a separate cooking station. Should you need a flat surface for any reason, you can always position a cast-iron griddle over the top of your regular grill. Assuming you have the space, however, a gas grill griddle will give you better control over the temperature.
- Does your outdoor kitchen have room to accommodate a gas griddle station?
- Do you believe you’ll use the griddle on a regular basis?
- Do you want to be able to prepare foods that can’t be made on a regular grilling surface, such as pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches?
- Do you have (or are you willing to purchase) the necessary equipment required to maintain the griddle surface?
Blackstone 36 Inch Gas Grill Griddle: An Overview
When you purchase a Blackstone Gas Grill Griddle, what comes in the box? This particular unit, known as the Blackstone 1554 Outdoor Flat-Top Gas Grill Griddle Station, offers a grand total of 720 square inches of cooking space over a four-burner station. But what, exactly, will you have to assemble when the product arrives?
As the name suggests, this is a gas-powered outdoor cooking station with a 36-inch griddle-style surface. The frame is composed of black powder-coated steel, while the cooking surface features a cold-rolled steel construction. The folding legs end in heavy-duty rolling casters, and the griddle is flanked by two cantilevered shelves. The frame offers an additional lower shelf, convenient for storing heavier items.
For more information on what this Blackstone griddle station offers, see our Features & Benefits section, below.
- Easy to clean
- Ample cooking surface
- Quality construction
- Reasonable price point
- Poorly designed grease management system
- Burns through fuel quickly
- Requires regular maintenance and upkeep to prevent rust
Blackstone 36 Inch Gas Grill Griddle Review: Features & Benefits
In this section, we’ll go over the individual features that help distinguish the Blackstone 1554 griddle station from the competition. Even if you’ve never used this type of grill before, this information should come in handy as you determine whether this unit is the one for you.
Shipping and Distribution
Blackstone doesn’t do as well in this category as in most of the others. While the griddle usually arrives in good condition, the outer packaging is sloppy. The box that it’s shipped in is easily damaged—although to be fair, the company can’t be held responsible for how the box is treated once it’s in transit. Still, we think a sturdier packaging job might be in order.
As we mentioned earlier, the cooking surface of the Blackstone 1554 is constructed of thick cold-rolled steel. This allows for superb heat distribution and retention, enough so that we would recommend only lighting the burners beneath the sections that you plan to use. The griddle top is removable, which makes cleanup easier.
The frame is durable black powder-coated steel, and generally holds up well against the elements. If you live in an area with high humidity or erratic weather patterns, however, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a cover for the griddle. The shelving is sturdy enough to hold condiments and side dishes, as well as your cooking utensils. Having one shelf on each side is particularly convenient, as this makes it easier to keep the dirty dishes and the “receiving” dishes separate.
The burners themselves are made of durable stainless steel, and the caster wheels (two of them can be locked to keep the unit in position) are sturdy and reliable. With the proper care and maintenance, this unit should last for many years.
We’ve found that the setup for this model takes a surprisingly short amount of time, even for novices. One person alone can put the unit together in about 20 minutes, provided they have all the tools required. For two people, the job could be done in half the time.
The Blackstone 1554 features a battery-operated “quick ignition” system, allowing you to fire up the burners at the touch of a button. Unlike with some finicky gas-fired units, you won’t have to keep a supply of matches on hand in order to start grilling.
Burners and Cooking Surface
This unit offers four stainless steel burners, each with its own control knob. The settings range from “low” to “high,” allowing you to prepare several menu items at once. You can even keep prepared foods warm while waiting for others to finish cooking.
The cooking surface measures 720 square inches total, which is large enough to accommodate large parties, with enough space for about 25 decent-sized hamburger patties. You could easily serve a party of 20 or more with this griddle. Since each burner is controlled individually, however, it’s easy to scale down the operation for couples or small families. This versatility is one of the key features that makes a gas griddle such an appealing option.
Grease Management System
Unfortunately, the grease catcher on the Blackstone 1554 is poorly designed. When preparing grease-heavy foods such as hamburgers, the runoff will often streak right past the built-in cup that’s there to catch it, heading down the leg of the griddle instead.
Some innovative customers (see What Customers Are Saying, below) will get past this problem by wrapping a piece of foil around the drain in order to direct the runoff toward the cup. Others claim that a piece of wire affixed to the grease drain can be used to reroute the flow. While we agree that these measures will work in a pinch, they shouldn’t be necessary in the first place. The company should work harder to address the grease management issues in the future.
Maintenance and Cleanup
Before using your Blackstone 1554 grilling station for the first time, the cooking surface should be seasoned. If you’ve ever owned a cast-iron frying pan or griddle, you should be familiar with the process. Simply add a thin layer of neutral oil (canola works well) to the cooking surface and turn the burners to medium. As the oil heats up, carefully work it into the surface using paper towels. Turn the burners off, allow the surface to cool, and repeat the process 5 more times.
At this point, the cooking surface should be well-seasoned. This will prevent your ingredients from sticking to the griddle, thereby making your cleaning duties that much simpler. Since the griddle attachment can be easily removed from the burner, there’s no need to rely on grill scrapers and brushes in order to get the surface completely clean.
The twin cantilevered shelves offer a decent amount of storage space, but the open cart-style design of this rolling griddle gives you even more room to work with. Although the shelf sits a little too close to the heating elements for our taste, it’s convenient for storing tools and dry goods. Make sure to remove anything perishable before storing the unit for the winter. Also, while the optional cover does a decent job of protecting the griddle and burners, you shouldn’t rely on it to keep the lower shelf completely dry during rainstorms.
The legs on this model are thick and sturdy enough to give it good mobility. If you plan on using the griddle on an uneven surface, this might not be the best fit, since only two of the casters are outfitted with locking mechanisms. For decks and patios, however, the two locks are perfectly adequate.
What Customers Are Saying
Although I and my research team have personally had decent luck with the Blackstone 1554, we couldn’t help but wonder if our experience was representative across the board. Have other customers had the same experience we’ve had, or did we just get lucky?
To find out the answer, we took to the internet. On the whole, we found that other users felt the same way about this model’s construction and performance. Outdoor chefs praised the value of the griddle station, claiming that it performed just as they’d expected. Others spoke highly of its versatility, finding new and exciting ways to experiment with their favorite grilling recipes. Blackstone’s customer service department also earns high marks—one tester received a unit with a defective ignition switch and was able to obtain a replacement within days.
We only found a small handful of complaints about the model, mainly concerning the ineffective grease management system. This wasn’t a deal-breaker for most testers (us included), as it’s fairly easy to work around. Most of the other detractors had problems that could have been easily avoided with the proper seasoning and maintenance.
Have you taken in all the information and decided that the Blackstone 1554 Gas Griddle Station isn’t for you after all? Maybe you think you’ll need a larger unit, or maybe you’re looking for one that’s configured a bit differently. That’s totally understandable—when it comes to grilling equipment, one size definitely does not fit all! That’s why we’ve compiled this list of possible alternatives. With any luck, you’ll be able to find a gas grill griddle station that suits your needs.
#1 Pit Boss PB757GD Gas Cast Iron Griddle
This offering from Pit Boss is set at a comparable price point to the Blackstone 1554, but the similarities don’t end there. It also comes equipped with four individually operating burners, a lower storage shelf, and four rolling casters. With 748 square inches of cooking space, it’s only marginally bigger, but those extra inches could make all the difference if you’re cooking for a crowd.
What’s cool about the Pit Boss PB757GD is the fold-out shelves, which tuck neatly atop the surface of the griddle when it’s not in use. This feature, coupled with the easy mobility, make this a great unit for camping trips and tailgating expeditions.
How do the products stack up in a side-by-side comparison? Let’s take a look:
- Shipping and Distribution—Pit Boss
- Burners and Cooking Surface—Pit Boss
- Grease Management System—Pit Boss
- Maintenance and Cleanup—Tie
- Storage—Pit Boss
- Maneuverability—Pit Boss
Does this product sound like it might be more your speed? If so, check out the Pit Boss PB757GD today.
#2 Royal Gourmet Regal GB2000
Another alternative to consider—particularly if you’re working with limited space—is the Regal GB2000. Offering just 486 square inches of cooking space, this compact selection is a good choice for singles or couples. It features a reliable push-button ignition system, two powerful burners, and two oversized wheels for maneuverability. We’re especially fond of the built-in tool hooks, which could also be used to hang a condiment rack.
Most of the customer complaints about the Regal GB2000 concern the shipping and distribution of the product, with several claiming that their griddle station arrived damaged. Fortunately, these are issues that should be easy to clear up through the company’s customer service department.
- Shipping and Distribution—Blackstone
- Burners and Cooking Surface—Blackstone
- Grease Management System—Royal Gourmet
- Maintenance and Cleanup—Royal Gourmet
If you’d prefer a smaller gas grill griddle station, take a closer look at the Royal Gourmet GB2000.
#3 QOMOTOP 18-Inch Portable Propane Griddle
This is the least expensive option on our list, and with just 282 square inches of cooking space, it’s also the smallest. Unlike the others, this is a tabletop griddle rather than a stand-alone station, so you’ll need to make sure you have access to a heatproof surface before taking it on the road.
The two-burner system on the QOMOTOP is remarkably efficient, heating the entire surface quickly and reliably. We think it’s a good choice for camping trips, especially if you enjoy hearty breakfasts when you’re roughing it in the great outdoors.
- Shipping and Distribution—QOMOTOP
- Burners and Cooking Surface—Blackstone
- Grease Management System—QOMOTOP
- Maintenance and Cleanup—Blackstone
The Bottom Line
If you’re in the market for a generously-sized gas grill griddle station, the Blackstone 1554 is a solid option. Its four-burner system is reliable and effective, it has plenty of storage space, and it’s built from top-notch materials.
Personally, I love being able to prepare things like fajitas and stir-fries outside the confines of the kitchen. With a little bit of practice, I’ve even mastered the art of making homemade tortillas on the griddle. While I enjoy a good burger as much as anyone (and perhaps more than some!), I also appreciate the freedom that this type of grill griddle offers.
To experience this freedom for yourself, check out the Blackstone 1554 by clicking here.