When you camp, you likely have some rituals whether you know it or not. It may be something as simple as checking your pack list twice the night before. Maybe it's only wearing a certain pair of socks for those hardcore hikes. For me, I can’t go camping and not bring my Coleman camp stove....Or Whiskey.
I recently had my beloved Coleman camp stove fall victim to 20 years of abuse and it stopped working. While I likely could have fixed it as they are generally pretty basic stoves, I decided to look into a new one.
In my search for a new grill, I discovered the world of "griddles". Now, hear me out, I know these aren't new, however, because I don't shop stoves/grills much, it was new to me. My initial thoughts were "ok, but that's too big and cumbersome to take camping". I moved along and went back to looking at traditional camping stoves. While browsing online, I kept wandering back and looking at the Blackstone Adventure 17inch griddle. Not so much because I wanted it, I was just intrigued.
I noticed while looking at the specs the griddle surface was cast iron. Ok, now I have an issue! I cant use cast iron, it's heavy, it's difficult to work with and it needs just too much attention overall, which I'm not willing to do when camping.......But, I also have a true Love/Hate relationship with cast iron. Yes, it's needy...Yes, it's dirty.....and YES! I don't want to deal with that when camping!
However, I do love the challenge of cast iron, and I also inherited my cast iron pan from a "Free" pile at a yard sale, covered in rust and bits of 100-year-old food. So my relationship with cast iron started, well, flawed if you will.
What if I started fresh? What if I had the cast iron from day one and seasoned it correctly? Could I also be a cast-iron pro? Easily sliding sunny-side-up eggs around the cast iron surface with no help from "no-stick sprays"?
All of these questions started swirling around in my head. Couple this with my impulsive ADHD brain, and I was determined to try out this Blackstone Griddle and see If I could be a cast-iron pro. I mean, hey, If I sucked at it again, it was only $79 and not a huge loss.....aside from my ego.
With my ambitions high, I headed to Wal-Mart and snagged the Blackstone Adventure 17-inch Griddle. I was going to war with cast iron, again.
Setting Up the Blackstone Adventure-Ready 17" Griddle
Set up was very straightforward. I threw the instructions in the trash and pulled out the Blackston Griddle. I removed the plastic coverings, styrofoam packaging and dumped (recycled, I'm not an animal) the box. Then, I stared at it awkwardly as I tried to figure out how to put it together.
Fortunately, this was very straight forward. I simply placed the cast iron griddle cooking surface on top of the burner base in pre-determined placement holes. Then screw in the propane regulator adapter, and dropping the grease trap in place on the back and this bad boy was ready to cook! Well, not exactly.....I had to season this, and I had to do it right.
Seasoning Your Blackstone Griddle
Seasoning cast iron must be some sort of voodoo, right? Because my attempts on my old cast iron NEVER seemed to work. I scoured the web and a series of YouTube videos and came up with a common theme outlined below:
- Heat the Cast Iron up at a Med/High Heat.
- Wait until the entire cooking surface is hot.
- Using a cloth, spread a conservative amount of oil over the hot surface (using tongs not to burn your hand).
- Let said oil burn off. You will know as the oil will no longer smoke.
- Repeat steps 1-4 approximately 3-4 times.
- Remove Heat and allow the surface to air cool.
BTW, do this outside as it will smoke up your house. Or not, it's your world, baby!
I used Grape-Seed Oil, however, I read you can use several other oils.
Cooking on the Blackstone Griddle
After the seasoning process, I started trying some cooking experiments on the Blackstone Griddle. I was cautious at first as my experience with cast iron always ended up with all the food stuck to the surface. However, SUCCESS, this was all just sliding around and cooking like it was supposed to! I couldn't believe it, I was a cast-iron chef!
Since that first cook, I have cooked burgers, eggs, bacon, hash browns, tater tots, and even Cod Fish Fillets. Guess what? it all worked like a charm, had no sticking, and tasted great. I'm still in shock. However, be warned, the cleaning process, when you are done, is VERY IMPORTANT.
Blackstone Griddle After-Care
Ok, so your meal is great, you've impressed your family, and now you can clean the griddle surface and go to bed, right? Well, yes....and no.
You do need to clean the surface, but do NOT use any soap. AT ALL. You need follow these instructions, its worked for me so far:
- While it's still hot, use a griddle scraper or spatula to scrape all excess food of the griddle surface into the grease/food trap on the backside.
- Using a cloth, wipe the surface down.
- Pour some water onto the griddle surface, this will create a steaming and sanitizing process. While it's still steaming on the surface, use a cloth to wipe the surface clean. Because the surface is very hot, the cast iron "pours" will be opened up and the surface will clean much easier.
- Repeat 1-3 as needed until the surface appears to be clean (it doesn't take much).
- Spread a thin layer of oil on the griddle surface, wipe the excess away and let the griddle cool on it's own.
Thats it! No soap, no special equipment, just good old fashioned heat, water, and oil. So far, it's been great and this process only takes about 3 minutes.
Camp Cooking With The Blackstone Griddle
So, this article is about camping, right? YES. This Blackstone Griddle is a beast when camping. Need eggs, bacon, and hash browns cooked all at once? no problem! Throw them on the Blackstone! Need to cook fajitas? Easy! place the meat, the peppers, and the tortillas all on the surface at one, no problem again!
In the past, we cooked eggs separate from bacon, or had to cook one, then the other and when it was time to eat, only the most recently cooked item was warm, the others were cold. Not with the Blackstone Griddle! This boss cooks it all together. Even more so, this griddle regulates heat so well and disperses the heat evenly so no worrying about one item cooking faster the other. And even if it did, just slide each around to different areas to handle the heat changes.
I can't stress this enough, cooking at the camp with the Blackstone is a game-changer. No sticking, no mess, all evenly cooked, hot food when it matters, all at once!
The downside to the Blackstone Griddle
To be fair to the Coleman camp stove die-hards cussing me out right now, the only downside I can come up with is the lack of a lid. Why does it matter you say? Well, I live in Northern Colorado and frequent my camping in the Northern Colorado Rockies and Southern Wyoming Snowy Range. I love remote, free public land camping. However, with the beautiful Rocky Mountains, the wind is often present. When you pair wind with a griddle, it equals some extra debris in your food. Not ideal, just sayin.
Conclusion - Buy It.
Can you tell I love it? I really do, and I'm not being paid a dime for this by Blackstone, I just love this camp griddle and want you to do the same. Even if you don't, just be happy for me and my equally well cooked, equally warm, and equally tasty camp chow.
Fair warning, you may love your classic Coleman, but give that old dog a rest, drop 80 bucks on this Blackstone Griddle and you may see firsthand how Blackstone Griddles are changing the camp chow game.
Level up your camp cooking, peeps.