My Big Green Egg is green with envy.

It just sits there in its table nest and gives me that look like: “I see the orange and black thing. I know what you’re doing.” How do you even respond to that? I just pat the bumpy ceramic cooker several times, lift the lid, assure it that it’s the most awesome Large Big Green Egg in the land, and then put the cover back on and make something on my new Blackstone Griddle.

Life is all about change. It’s been a month or two since I bought a new Blackstone Adventure Ready 28 Inch Griddle at my local Walmart, and that’s enough transition time to appreciate just how radically different this barbecue world is from the Big Green Egg kamado cooker that sits 10 feet away in its table nest. There’s a Char-Broil gas grill another 10 feet away that has its feelings hurt as well, but we’re all in this together and we’re here to help others as well with 20 things you have to learn for yourself after you join Blackstone Nation.

Why There’s A Time And Place For Every Barbecue Grill

Combine a Blackstone with a kamado ceramic cooker like a Big Green Egg or a Kamado Joe, and then add popular outdoor BBQ unit like the Traeger pellet grill or a Weber Genesis Grill, and you have the best of all worlds out back. It just so happens that these three cookout worlds really are as different as can be. In a way they’re kind of like Mercury, Venus and Earth, all of them in a nice rotation and relying on intense heat to exist for your pleasure.

Most of us are mood eaters with minimal planning amid our busy lives. The Big Green Egg is all about planning, and completely worth the while if you’re going to smoke an Aaron Franklin Brisket all day or even something a little less ambitious. Now I have two options for more fast-action outdoor cooking, because a propane tank and a flame leads to quick results. If I want a ribeye or pork chops, I am more likely to go straight to the Char-Broil because I like an open flame for thick meats. If I want a burger, now I’m all about the Blackstone and my grill press. Breakfast even happens fast on the griddle, making us less apt to rely on a quick bowl of cereal because it’s way more fun to make pancakes and bacon.

blackstone griddle on patio on mat
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Here Are 20 Things You Learn After Buying A Blackstone

Whether you are transitioning from another piece of outdoor cooking hardware or introducing a new Blackstone as your solo superstar on the back deck, these are some of the early discoveries you may encounter on your journey. This site is independent with no affiliate links or brand fealty, so what you see here is for any consumers who want to get the most bang out of their bucks and just enjoy barbecue life every day.

1. Stand At Attention It’s Like The National Anthem

One thing I have had to get used to the most is the whole standing thing. The whole point of grilling on a Weber or smoking with indirect heat on a Big Green Egg kamado cooker is letting the fire do its job while you sit down and enjoy a cold beer and listen to some music. They even make amazing temperature control devices like the Flame Boss so you can sit down even more and walk away from the grill. Every now and then you get up and check your food on the fire, nod your head, and go sit down some more. Now with the Blackstone Griddle, the whole point is to stand up with good posture for the entire time, and don’t even think about going anywhere. Stand with your feet about shoulder length apart, like you’re ready to do squats. After a while move your feet around just to keep circulation going while you stand the . . . whole . . . time.

greasing the blackstone griddle

2. Blazing Speed Means You Won’t Be Standing For Long

You know what it’s like when you stand for the seventh-inning stretch at a baseball game? Think of your Blackstone more like that. It’s not like torture or anything because it really doesn’t last that long. You squirt some oil on the griddle, spread it around, slam your food onto the designated areas and the sizzle is fast and furious. Use both spatulas to work the morsels and watch them quickly brown or crisp. Use the dome to tenderize or melt for fast results. Before you know it, this whole exercise is over and it’s like you’re ready for the leadoff batter in the bottom of the seventh.

3. If You’re Lookin’, You Must Be Cookin

Anyone who smokes brisket or pulled pork or a beer can chicken on the Big Green Egg has used the famous expression: “If you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin’.” I don’t even know who came up with that expression but I’ve already written it like 1,000 times for this site. You let valuable smoke and heat escape from your grill or smoker when you keep checking the status of your meat on those units. And maintaining an even heat on those is paramount. With the Blackstone Adventure Ready Griddle, it’s the opposite. If you ain’t lookin,’ you ain’t cookin’. You’ll burn your food. If you are looking, you will see what needs flipped right now.

4. Make Sure Your Platter Game Is On Point

Since you aren’t going anywhere during the cookout, preparation is even more important for having platters set up on the side tables. Then when each item is done you can quickly remove it and be ready to transport it to the kitchen or dining room so that it’s still hot when you serve it. If you shuttle back and forth from the griddle to the kitchen while the food is on, you’re going to see why they put the word “black” in Blackstone. Always be ready for the grand finale.

5. All That Standing Deserves A Standing Ovation

Like we said, you are going to be standing at attention and not going anywhere while that scorching griddle surface is doing what it’s supposed to do, so you’re going to be like Bradley Cooper in Maestro and waving your arms wildly like crazy with those two spatulas moving those pancakes or burgers or veggies around constantly. It’s just how we do it, like a philharmonic symphony performance, and when everything is done the upside is that you can turn around, bow, and pretend that a whole concert hall is standing on its feet yelling “Bravo!”

blackstone griddle temperature

6. Make Sure You Are Always Laser Focused

I was given a General Tools Digital Laser Temperature Gun by a fellow cast iron restoration guru, who had a whole box of them when I visited his storage one day. I use it mainly to aim at vintage skillets when seasoning them in my oven, but I discovered that it is a vital tool for a Blackstone Griddle. Simply aim it at spots all around the cooking surface and you know each specific temperature. I don’t know if I can even call this an accessory. It’s like saying Luke Skywalker’s Light Saber was an accessory in Star Wars. It’s more like part of your persona, an extension of your body. Trust me, you NEED this and then you can’t live without it. That’s crucial for griddles, not as important for a ceramic cooker or gas grill.

7. Learn How To See The Fire Within

Why is that ability to “see” temperatures on a griddle so much more important than on a Big Green Egg or a Traeger kettle grill or Pit Boss Smoker? Because it’s the one outdoor cooking apparatus where the fire is HIDDEN. It’s not the first time humans have tried to hide fire. We went from discovering it as Neanderthals to containing and concealing with furnaces and wood stoves. Gotta tell you, I personally prefer to SEE beautiful dancing flames when I cook, so this is one of those things I’ve had to get used to. It takes a while to master a Blackstone standup griddle and part of that mastery is an ability to visualize the fire that is still very much there but lurking beneath your rolled carbon steel top and knowing that a fire is still a fire.

burgers cooking on blackstone

8. All Heat Zones Are Note Created Equal

So now that you have your infrared temperature gun and you’re firing lasers everywhere, you can easily see that the griddle top is a wide range of hot spots. That means you have to know where to put all of your food, how often to move it around, and where it gets hotter faster. Blackstone advertises “two” heat zones, which is kind of crazy because it’s more like 20. Their point is that your griddle has two H burners that each work sort of independently with their own temp control knobs. The burner on the left is closest to the propane tank, and the center of that cooking zone will be the hottest on your griddle no matter what. Put your steak there. If you’re making bacon and flapjacks, put the bacon on the left first and let it sizzle a bit and then pour the batter on the right half of the griddle.

9. Don’t Be Surprised If You Have To Use the Long Lighter

Both H burners are designed to ignite when you turn the dial setting to the first orange dot and then press the ignite button, but my igniter never worked from the get-go. Blackstone gives you a long list of troubleshooting tips whenever that happens after assembly, and none of them helped me. In fact, I’m 0-for-2 on my last two propane-tank devices in having an ignitor button that actually worked. This really sucks because companies like Blackstone should make them FOOLPROOF in the QA process instead of adding the burden of troubleshooting a hack after you assemble. So what I have to do is open my propane, then set the two dials to start, and then stick my long butane lighter through the little gap under the griddle and light it. That works pretty easy, and you can barely see the little blue flame in that gap so you know it worked.

Cedar Planks and Long Spatula

10. Stay Agnostic And Don’t Be A Brand Zombie

Brand loyalty is way overrated in the barbecue world. I see Big Green Egg cooks who have to live in a green world with every BGE accessory, and same here with Blackstone junkies who bleed orange and black and just buy their accessories. I really enjoy Blackstone accessories just like others and I’ll tag them occasionally on social media, but you’re just adding to their fiscal reports by grabbing every item they make and they budget more revenue thanks to you. I swear by my Big Green Egg meat press that I use on my Blackstone, and my Weber griddle spatulas and squirt bottles are just as good or better than Blackstone’s. In most cases, there is at least one alternative to every product you could use with your Blackstone, and go to Amazon and you’ll see a whole category rank of them. Save money in this area and use the savings to buy more prime ingredients.

11. The Whole Squirt Bottle Thing Is Still A Mystery

Speaking of squirt bottles, I still have no idea why they are basically impossible to start using. It’s like they were made for toddlers to childproof them. Please feel free to tell me in the comments why this is so difficult and who is to blame. The one with vegetable oil is our go-to after spending an hour or two somehow making the liquid flow properly, and to date I have no idea how to make the water bottle squirt or even when exactly to use water, since water and oil have never mixed in human history. By the way, I wouldn’t leave the same water in there forever, especially if you always store your bottles on the covered grill.

12. There’s No Place Like Dome

I dilly-dallied on the whole dome thing, figuring that the Blackstone’s hood was a lid itself and when I close it that would provide enough convection heat. But isolating a dome on one or more items is key, and it will melt and tenderize quickly. Example: My first two attempts at smashburgers included a hunk of fresh blue cheese, so I held out my hand and tried to crumble some chunks onto the patties. That’s easier said than done because blue cheese tumbles. Once they covered the patties, I really needed the dome to help them melt faster without the burgers getting overdone. A round dome is technically better than a square one because of basic physical properties that make it more effective, but either type will work.

13. Forget The Blackstone Spatula Holder Thingy

I purchased Blackstone’s package of four bright-orange magnet utensil holders at my local Walmart, and those have been handy in keeping my cleaning tool and other important utensils right where I always need them. But someone in Accessory Strategy decided it would be wise to include a little spatula holder strip in with those magnets, or else the package would not be large enough to be seen and purchased. It’s a metal strip with a lip, so that it can fit over the back edge of the griddle while you cook, and supposedly you just put your spatula blade into that strip when you’re not using it during the cooking session. Here’s the problem: IT’S HOT BACK THERE! It practically singed my wrist hairs reaching to remove the spatula. And now the spatula itself was as hot as it could possibly be. Sorry, the magnets should be sold just by themselves and we can sit our spatula on the side shelf when not using it, which is rare.

smash burgers on blackstone

14. How To Properly Smash A Burger

This is another procedure that is totally different than what I was used to on the Big Green Egg or even my Char-Broil gas grill. Of course, with those you smash the ground beef patty down hard and the meat will ooze through the grate strips. Then when you go to flip them over, that could result in some loss of meat into the fire. With the Blackstone, there’s nowhere for the burgers to go but out. Here’s where my Big Green Egg Press is super effective — it is a wide circle, so the patties never extend beyond its sphere. Rectangular presses can fail in this regard because the meat can push out past the short ends and become uneven. The first time I made smashburgers, the result was a little too much pink inside when we ate them. I had to develop a feel for when to flip and how often, and the second time they were insane good and crispy-think like Shake Shack in New York or your favorite greasy-spoon diner.

15. Hey Dad, Where Am I Supposed To Pour The Beer?

Am I the only one who takes a swig of beer and then pours a little on the chicken or steak while it is searing in open flames on traditional barbecue cookers and grills? Pretty sure I learned that from a certain parent, and always felt that it adds just the right taste in the end. Well, you can throw that tradition out the window right now with the Blackstone. I mean, where is the beer supposed to go if you pour it onto the griddle? Let me know in the comments if you have a strategy for griddle cooking with beer. It’s the American way.

16. Silicone Is Fun But Nothing Beats The Real Thing

Yeah, we’ve heard that before. Anyway, let’s be real, the colorful silicon spherical cut-out molds are a way to make more accessory cash. I was at the Lodge Cast Iron Factory Store in South Pittsburgh, Tenn., this past week, and I came thisclose to buying a batch of them. They just look so dang cool. But do you really need to have a mold to pour a pancake or to make an egg? Did you have teachers help you color inside the lines when you were in first grade? Did you trace pictures or did you draw them freehand like most of us? You are a person with a creative module in your brain, so enjoy the artwork and just pour batter freehand or break that egg and flip it. Remember, that veteran cook at the local diner would laugh at the thought of using little silicon accessories to bring out her or his talent.

pancakes cooking on blackstone

17. How To Make Pancakes Properly

Pour the batter and flip them and remove them. Seriously, we’re going to do another whole blog post on this just because we are a food site and that’s what food sites do, but I’m pretty sure we went over this in Cub Scouts or something. There is nothing to learn. We didn’t do a lot of pancake flipping or make eggs on the Big Green Egg, because, well, it’s ALREADY AN EGG and the batter would just drip down into the fire in a big mess of Cowboy Pancakes.

18. Weathering The Storms So Far

We live in the Tampa Bay area and so far so good on the unit’s sturdiness during some of our crazy afternoon storms. I bought a strong, durable and heavy grill cover that doesn’t let any elements in, and it’s so heavy it stays structured during bad weather. This was one of my first concerns about having a Blackstone portable griddle on our back deck in that setting, because it is fairly lightweight, especially compared to that monster Big Green Egg right next door.

19. Cleanup Is Much Easier And A Lot Different

Big Green Egg cooks know that cleanup is how you start the cooking process. First you have to shake out the ash on the bottom from the previous cookout, and then fill the bottom with quality lump coal so you have a fire and open airways that can result in up to 12 hours or more of smoking. You just give the grate a quick wipe while it’s warm at the end and that’s cleanup. With the Blackstone cleaning process, it is much more straightforward and all at the end. Right after I remove the food and put it onto platters, I use my spatula to work any leftover food and grease back to the grease tray opening. Then I wipe the griddle down with paper towels, which are convenient with the roll arm feature. I take my Easy Beezy roll-on product and just smear it around the still-warm griddle surface. I’m not sure if this is how it was intended, but it’s working for me. Then I take another few paper towels and spready that around evenly over the entire surface, and then I close the hood and cover the griddle after it’s cooled. Wipe down any grease on the exterior including the side shelves. Done.

20. Portability Makes All The Difference

Imagine how jealous my Big Green Envy Egg will be when I pop off the Blackstone hood, fold up the legs, and put it in the back of our vehicle to take it to a campground or vacation road trip. That’s something the gas grill can’t do, either: portability.

I haven’t experienced this advantage yet with the Blackstone, but it’s one of the many reasons we bought it and your comments below are welcomed for all those travel takeout tips. Any advice on how to deal with a Big Green Egg’s hurt feelings is appreciated as well.

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About Mark Newman

Mark has 20-plus years of BBQ experience working on just about every device and cooking medium.

He is a crafted expert on open fire cooking.

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1 Comment

  1. You are a great writer. This had me laughing out loud and taking notes at the excellent tips provided. You also convinced me to go griddle when my charbroil bites the dust. Thank you.