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The Blackstone Electric Griddle: Pros and Cons

The Blackstone Electric Griddle: Pros and Cons
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Since their introduction, Blackstone has taken the griddle and outdoor cooking market by storm, and for a good reason too. With the introduction of their E-Series electric griddles in the Spring of 2021, Blackstone now offers the full range of cooking options for the griddle enthusiast- but how good are their electric griddles?

The Blackstone electric griddles come in 17” and 22”, have precision temperature control, easy cleaning cooking surfaces, and more features than you can shake a stick at; However, even though they are bulkier than some other grills and use electricity; these electric grills are hard not to like.

Let’s get a more detailed perspective of these impressive electric griddles and find out more about what they are built from , made of, how they perform, and why these will be very popular with people who can’t have a regular gas grill and the rest of their pros and cons.

The Blackstone E-Series Electric Griddle – Looks

As one of the only dedicated grill makers to enter the electric grill market, Blackstone has stamped their authority as a global leader in this field by taking its highly successful outdoor grilling brand indoors.

People who can’t use outdoor grills for various reasons will love this electric grill. Firstly, taking it out of the box, you can help but be impressed by the unit visually. It unpacks neatly into the components, and at first glance, you can tell this unit means business!

Its sleek design, with strategically placed controls and a big screen with a clear, bright display, shows the set temperature, grill temperature, and the zone temperatures and displays a ‘hot surface’ warning in big orange letters.

Temperature control is done via the sizeable central knob that looks like volume control, and the 22” version has two control knobs, while the 17” only has one. But, when it comes to regulating the temperature, it doesn’t get much easier than turning a brightly lit dial.

The orange trim also adds contrast, and the overall appearance is awe-inspiring. It looks and feels well made, solid, and durable, inspiring confidence right off the bat.

You get no sense that this device is flimsy or delicate and will perform at a very high level indeed. Now let’s talk assembly.

Assembling the Blackstone Electric Grill

As with their gas grills, Blackstone has made assembly of their electric grill a breeze, and this is another reason why indoor cooking enthusiasts are flocking to this product like flies to a candy apple.

There are only five components to this grill, and they are :

  • The power cord
  • Grease cup
  • Griddle top
  • Griddle body
  • Griddle hood assembly

Take out the griddle body, place the cooking top on the body, connect the power cord, hang the grease cup, and put the hood in place. That’s it. The glass hood comes off and goes back on quickly, making for a super quick setup.

This is one of the definitive pros of these units; their setup time is minuscule compared to setting up a gas or coal grill, and the effort involved is virtually zero, so where time is a major consideration for you when grilling, you will love the E-Series grills.

These Blackstone electric griddles pack an almighty punch. What more can you ask for? Ah, but you can ask for more, and there is more, so let’s look at the two different models in the E -Series.

17” vs. 22”

The two models offered in the E-Series grills provide the option of different size cooking surfaces and have some other minor differences, but they also have a lot in common.

Both grills have a cooking top made from a non-stick titanium coated ceramic grill which is vastly different from the rolled steel top of their gas and coal grills. Both grills are ideally suited for indoor and outdoor cooking.

One of the great benefits of the non-stick coated cooking top is it does not require seasoning before using it, and while it would be advisable to use oil when cooking, it is not required.

They are light and easy to carry and set up, with the 22” version comes complete with a stand trolley or prep cart that the grill fits into. The 17” does not come with the trolley, although this may become available as a separate accessory from Blackstone in the future.

The 22” presents a larger cooking area with 312 square inches of cooking space, and to put that into a cooking perspective, that is the equivalent of 16 eggs, 16 strips of bacon, 12 burgers, or 12 pancakes!

Because of the larger cooking surface, the 22” model has two distinct cooking zones. The sizeable temperature dial controls each on the front of the unit. With the smaller cooking area, the 17” model only has a single cooking zone.

The 17” model offers 234 square inches of cooking area, which would be enough for 12 eggs, 12 strips of bacon, nine burgers, and nine pancakes! Their cooking space is suitably impressive and certainly sufficient for a good breakfast!

Each model has a rear-mounted grease trap, and the sides of the cookers are raised to prevent the food from ending up on the tabletop and staying on the cooking top.

These little touches make these grills a pleasure to use, and it’s clear that the designers at Blackstone left no grilling stone unturned when creating their electric griddle series.

Both have a removable glass hood that can be stored neatly if not used during cooking and will protect the grill top when the griddle isn’t working.

The Prep Cart for the 22” Blackstone Electric Griddle

One of the electric griddles cons is that only the 22” model comes with the prep cart. This is a sturdy cart with four lockable wheels, a side tray, a bottom shelf, and a sauce or accessory caddy on the front.

The 17” would be more of a tabletop cooker due to the smaller dimensions of the unit, while the 22” would be better suited to larger volumes of cooking for more people. But either of these grills will perform admirably regardless of how many hungry people you need to feed!

Power Consumption

An electric grill is not ideal for many tailgaters, and campers as power can often be in short supply when out in the wilderness, but these models are not designed for areas with no control.

While connecting either of these models to a portable PV system would not be practical, as the power drain on the battery would be excessive, you could connect one to a residential PV system with little to no detriment to the capacity, as the cooking time would be an hour or less at best.

The difference in power between the 17” model and the 22” model is 50%! The 22” model delivers 1200W of power, while the 17” only provides 600W. The 22” has two cooking zones, while the 17” only has a single cooking zone.

Many may balk and flout the cost of electricity as an issue. Still, these units are remarkably efficient as they heat up to cooking temperature very quickly, saving you money on your power consumption.

If you think about a 1200W element cooking for 2-6 people and probably being able to cook all that food in less than an hour, that would maybe only use 1kWh or slightly more in the process, while the 17” model probably wouldn’t even get to that.

As of May 2022, the average cost per kWh for residential electricity is 13,83c, so even if you cooked for two hours, the fuel cost of using the 22” Blackstone Electric Griddle would be around 30c!

The 17” model would cost even less than that!

Can you cook a meal for 2-6 people on gas or coal for that price?

If you’re starting to think that perhaps a Blackstone electric griddle is not such a bad option after all, then wait, we’re not done yet!

Heating Zones

One of the challenges that all griddles face is the distribution of heat throughout the cooking surface when it comes to the cooking top.

Having hotter and cooler heat zones on the grill top is a factor with every grill, and only cast iron or perhaps stainless steel tops have a truly even heat distribution throughout the grill top.

Because steel and cast iron conduct and retain heat far better than lighter steel like aluminum and other non-steel materials. They tend to have more consistent and even heat distribution throughout the cooking area.

With most grills, whether coal, gas, or electric, the center of the grill is hotter than the perimeter, and this works for grillers so they can move cooked food away from the heat source, keep it warm, or cook slower while other food is being cooked.

As one of the cons of the electric grills, there will be cooler spots away from the center of the cooking area, but while they are cooler, they are far from cold, and like their gas and coal cousins, grillers can use these cooler areas to keep food warm and to cook slower.

The temperature differences between the center and peripheral areas are not significant, so you would probably not even notice that there is one when cooking.

Blackstone Electric Griddles Reach Temperature Quicker

As mentioned before, the cooking tops heat up fast, and you can get cooking quickly within a few minutes!

If you compare that to the gas or coal grills, there is a lot more time and effort needed to reach and maintain cooking temperature, and these electric griddles from Blackstone cut that time and effort down to virtually zero.

One of the significant advantages of the electric grills is that there is no pre-cooking planning or effort needed, and there is no pollution or emissions from the electric grills either.

Yes, the purists will argue that those elements make the outdoor grilling experience and where the fundamental skills lie, but those gatherings are usually a whole day or evening event.

With the electric grills, you simply choose what you will cook, set the desired temperature, switch it on and wait for it to reach the cooking temperature. Put your food on, cook it, take it off, switch the grill off and enjoy your meal!

No smoke. No soot. No flame. No burned food. No temperature control with vents and airflow!

No wonder the city folks love it! And another reason they love these is the cleaning!

What Food Can You Cook with a Blackstone Electric Griddle?

It’s more a question of what can’t you cook with these fantastic griddles! You can do the bacon, eggs, and pancakes for breakfast, burgers, cheese, dogs, and stir fry, and at the highest temperatures, you could also do the meats like steak, lamb, and pork.

One of the concerns with electric grills is that they sometimes don’t have enough heat to cook those meats properly, but because Blackstone makes these, you would think they have this covered- and they do.

The recommended grill temperatures for steak are between 450F and 500F, and the maximum heat level achievable on these E-Series grills is 500F! So crank it up and sear your meat the way you want.

But.

The surface material is not the best for searing meat. While you can cook the heavier, thicker cuts reasonably well, the cooking surface is a titanium-coated ceramic; you may not get that good sizzle you would from a cast iron or rolled steel cooking top.

So, if you had to nitpick about pros and cons, perhaps the electric grill won’t do as good a job of cooking, and searing meats as a gas or coal grill would do, but doing steak on these grills certainly would not be a waste of time.

Cleaning

Ask outdoor grillers about the one thing they don’t enjoy about using gas or coal grillers, and that is cleaning the grill afterward or after a few cooking sessions. I doubt whether you’ll find anyone who relishes cleaning out their grill.

But, with the E -Series grills, even the die-hard grillers can admire how little effort is needed to clean and maintain the Blackstone Electric griddles.

Firstly. The non-stick top does an excellent job of preventing bits of food from sticking to the top, and even if there is a little, it’s much not more than an easy wipe down of the grill top to clean off any residue.

The grease trap, another bane of cleaning existence for grillers, is a breeze with the E-Series as they are dishwasher safe and would only require a cleanout to remove excess grease before being popped into the dishwasher.

There are no grill grates, burners, or heat shields to clean and degrease, which is a massive plus for the griller.

How to Clean and Deep Clean the Blackstone Electric Griddle

Cleaning the electric grill is a simple three-step process. Make sure the grease trap is in place. Then using a moist soapy cloth or paper towel, wipe the grill top down. Then wash off to remove any soap and dry it off with a cloth or paper towel.

Done.

For deep cleaning, the process may take a little longer. As with regular cleaning, make sure the grease trap is in place. Turn the heat to low, and using one tablespoon of dishwashing soap mixed with a cup of water, wipe down the cooking top.

Then, you need to turn the heat off and allow the cooking top to cool completely. Once cold, wipe the surface down with a moist soapy cloth or paper towel. Then wash off and dry. That’s it.

Done.

Utensils Can Damage the Cooking Surface

One of the considerations in play with the Blackstone Electric griddles has to do with the care of the unit and the use of types of cooking utensils used when cooking.

Because the cooking surface is a non-stick ceramic, you can NEVER use steel or metal implements when cooking. This can scratch or damage the ceramic coating exposing the steel surface to your food.

Only use plastic, wooden, or other non-metallic cooking utensils. The same is valid for cleaning as a metal scourer, or steel wool is never advisable with ceramic coated cooking surfaces.

Although their under-base is titanium, it is always better not to have metal exposed to food at a temperature as small amounts of the metal may leach into food.

In the same vein, you can cut on the cooking surface as you can again damage the ceramic coating with the knife blade. To check if food is done, you need to remove it and cut it away from the cooking surface.

As with other grill tops, you should not leave water lying on the grill top for longer than two hours, and you cannot wash the grill hood in the dishwasher.

Electrical Safety When Using the Blackstone Electric Griddle

Another consideration is that you cannot expose the electric elements or components to water, so these electric griddles would need to be used indoors or under cover if being used outdoors.

When cooking, you also need to be sure that your electrical socket is not exposed to water so if you are cooking outdoors and using an extension cord, make sure the connections are dry and insulated from moisture.

Price and Portability

As far as the cost goes, you need to balance this with the time and effort you WON’T be spending preparing, managing, and cleaning these grills over their lifetime. The 17” sells for $147, and the 22” has a $237 price tag (at the time of writing).

Their ease of use and versatility in the food options you can make with these electric griddles is well balanced against the investment you would be making. One of the great benefits is that you can easily find the accessories like cooking utensils when you shop for your griddle.

Because they are a little bigger, they may be a little bulkier to carry and store. Still, the superior quality of these electric griddles makes them a desirable option if you consider an upgrade or kick off your grilling career.

Should You Get One?

Blackstone has produced another winner with its E-Series electric griddles. The fact that they have created products specifically for this market and made them so well is a testament to this company’s core values that continues to impress and dominate the market.

This E-Series range of electric grills has far more pros than cons. As more people discover that they can enjoy the benefits of healthier grill cooking without the fuss and effort required by conventional grills, the more the demand and popularity for these electric griddles will grow.

Their ease of use and reasonably low power consumption, versatility, portability, ease of use, precision temperature control, and the simplicity of maintenance and easy cleaning tip the scales in their favor.

While some care is needed when picking the cooking utensils to avoid damage to the cooking top and electrical safety, adapting to those small requirements will not adversely affect the experience and do not make any significant reduction in the benefits they bring to the table.

Overall, the pros far outweigh the cons by some margin, and competitors in this field should be concerned and looking to improve their products to a more competitive level.

Final Thoughts

An investment in either model would be money well spent and after using it for the first time and enjoying the lack of effort needed all round to produce great food and keep it clean as well as the time and cost to achieve that, will bring that broad cooking smile to your face every time you use it.

When you weigh up the pros and cons and whether you have an old electric grill and want to upgrade or even if you currently own a gas grill, you cannot help but be mightily impressed by the quality and durability of Blackstone’s E-Series grills.

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