A Blackstone griddle is a versatile and exciting addition to a backyard or an outdoor kitchen. You can make everything from pancakes or bacon and eggs for breakfast to chicken, hamburgers, fried rice, potatoes, fish, and so much more, even some desserts.
Obviously, the first step in using a Blackstone griddle is to get it nice and hot to cook the food. But what if problems arise right then and there, and it does not heat properly?
There are several reasons why a Blackstone griddle may not get hot enough or not get hot at all. Take a look at these explanations below to try to diagnose and fix the problem.
If a New Griddle Will Not Turn on for the First Use
If the Blackstone griddle that you are trying to use is brand-new and will not heat, the most likely cause is improper assembly or not following instructions for using it.
Some retail locations will sell Blackstone griddles fully assembled. This is a great option to ensure proper setup.
Alternatively, you may want to hire a professional to assemble the griddle. It is an added expense but it may give the owner peace of mind and save headaches or worse, since an improperly assembled griddle can cause injuries and accidents, including fires.
If you are certain that the griddle is properly assembled, it may be one of the following issues.
The Propane Tank Is Off
This one may seem obvious, but make sure that the propane tank is open. All propane tanks come with a valve that will be in the off position when purchased.
Turn the handle toward the on position (it should be marked) before attempting to light the griddle. Turn it slowly (you will see why below).
The Propane Tank Is Empty
The simplest reason why a Blackstone griddle will not heat up is that the propane tank is empty. This is also probably the most common reason, so check the propane tank first before trying anything else.
Propane is a type of fuel that is commonly used in outdoor cooking. Tanks of propane, which are available at most grocery stores and hardware stores, attach to the cooking unit (usually a grill or a griddle) and provide fuel to burn to create heat.
Propane is a gas, although it is converted to a liquid for use with griddles and grills. Propane is highly flammable, so a grill or griddle uses a controlled burn of the propane to create heat to cook food.
A tank of propane used to heat a griddle also contains other components, such as butane, and is actually a rather complex chemical compound. Caution should always be used with propane since it is highly flammable.
If a Blackstone griddle will not heat up, use one of these methods to test the propane levels to see if the tank is empty and needs to be replaced or refilled:
- Weight: Weigh the propane tank using a regular bathroom scale. A typical empty propane tank weighs about 17 pounds, and the propane inside weighs about 20 pounds when full (so a new tank weighs 37 pounds). If your tank weighs only about 17 pounds, it is empty. The closer the weight gets to seventeen pounds, the closer to empty it is.
- Water: Pour hot water (hot tap water is fine) over the tank, and then run your hand down the side where the water was poured. If the tank has propane left, the propane will absorb the heat from the water; therefore, wherever the tank transitions from feeling cool to feeling hot is where the line of propane is at that time. If no heat is detected from the water, the tank is empty.
- Gauge: An inexpensive gauge attachment will tell you how much propane you have left at any point. Keeping an eye on the gauge will ensure that the tank never reaches empty warning and leaves without a replacement on hand.
An empty propane tank can sneak up on a home chef and ruin a well-planned meal with unexpected delays. There are a few things that help prevent running out of propane.
The simplest method is to keep an extra propane tank handy. Typically, stores charge a rental fee for the tank, so when it is empty, bring it back to the store and exchange it for a full one. Rotate them continually, always replacing the empty tank, and you will never be without propane when you need it.
If either the weight, water test, or gauge reveal that there is propane in the tank, you will need to explore other explanations for a cold or cool griddle.
There Is Something Wrong with the Ignition
The ignition is the piece of equipment on the griddle that lights the flames; it is the spark that starts the fire that heats the griddle.
The ignition is often battery-operated, so try replacing the battery and keep spares handy. To find out where the battery is installed, simply refer to the owner’s manual.
If the battery is working, the ignition may not be properly installed. Refer to the owner’s manual and assembly instructions to double check.
Another way to check the ignition is to try lighting the burners manually with a lighter. Instructions for doing so are below.
Make Sure That All of the Burners Are Lighting
A Blackstone griddle has several burners underneath the cooktop that burn propane to keep a fire burning, which is what heats the griddle.
If the cooktop is getting hot but not hot enough, some of the burners may not be lit. This will also cause uneven heating of the cooktop (the areas above the unlit burners will not be as hot as the rest of the griddle).
There are a few causes of this occurrence. The pilot or ignition (discussed above) sometimes does not reach all of the furthest burners, or sometimes wind can prevent one or two from lighting or blow them out shortly after being lit.
Simply take a look at the burners underneath the cooktop to make sure that they are all on. You will see obvious flames if they are lit.
If not, use a utility lighter to light it/them. If the griddle is prone to this problem, it may be necessary to keep a lighter nearby and light manually each time.
As a side note, if the ignition battery dies and you do not have a replacement, you can use this same method with the lighter to light the griddle. You can also test to see whether your ignition is the problem by manually lighting after turning on the propane.
A Safety Mechanism Has Been Tripped
A Blackstone griddle has many safety features, which is great since these help prevent injuries or serious accidents. However, they can also be the cause of a griddle that is not heating or not hot enough.
The regulator is one of those features. The regulator limits, or regulates, the amount of fuel delivered to the griddle; too little fuel means less heat, which means that the griddle will not get hot or will not get hot enough.
In order to prevent tripping the regulator, turn on the propane tank (by turning the nozzle) slowly — too fast, and the sudden surge of propane triggers the automatic shut-off.
If you suspect that you may have already triggered the regulator, turn off and disconnect everything, wait at least sixty seconds, and try again. This time, open the propane tank very slowly.
In order to bypass the regulator, you can disassemble and re-assemble the parts of the griddle that connect to the propane tank this way: attach the propane tank to the adapter hose, the adaptor hose to the regulator, and the regulator to the griddle itself.
This reassembly method moves some parts around in a minor way that will not impact how the griddle works but will make it much less likely that the regulator will be triggered.
Wondering what the regulator looks like? Refer to the owner’s manual, which provides detailed diagrams for all parts of the griddle. Typically, it is a small knob on the piece of equipment that connects to the propane tank.
Remember, though, that if the regulator is disabled, you may go through propane faster and need to replace the tanks more often, and there is an increased likelihood for an accident, which could result in a fire. Always keep a fire extinguisher handy when using a griddle even if the regulator is in its original position.
It Is Too Cold Outside (or There Are Other Adverse Weather Conditions)
Most high-end grills and griddles will work regardless of the temperature around them, but this does not mean that temperature will not play a role. It will take much longer for a Blackstone griddle to heat up if temperatures are very low.
Winter weather also means that the Blackstone griddle will use much more propane and food will cook slower. Be prepared with an extra tank and extra time, and do not try to cook anything that requires very quick cooking.
Finally, even if it is warm outside, weather can still play a role in why a Blackstone griddle will not heat up. Rain may have wet the pilot, may be extinguishing the flames, or even cooling the cooktop.
Wind can also be a culprit if it is very windy and it is blowing out the flames. That said, rain and wind problems are both less likely with a Blackstone griddle than other outdoor cooking equipment since the heating mechanisms are covered.
If the griddle passes all of the tests above, then the problem might be bigger.
If the Griddle Still Will Not Heat
The problems and solutions listed above are some of the most common reasons why a Blackstone griddle may not get hot.
While there are other reasons as well, most of them break down to the same general answer: there is something wrong with the griddle itself.
If you have exhausted all of the common culprits and are still encountering problems with your griddle, you may want to call customer service and work with Blackstone itself to determine what to do next.
If the griddle is new, it might be defective. Even the best companies make mistakes once in a while and Blackstone will more than likely fix the problem.
If the griddle in question is not new and it has worked without major issues in the past, it may have broken. You may be able to find a local electrician or appliance repair technician who can fix it, or it may need to be replaced.
Prevention Is Key
In order to avoid needing to replace the griddle because it will no longer heat in the right way, proper care is essential. Easy care and routine maintenance can save a lot of money later on.
For one thing, be sure to properly season the griddle. Improper seasoning or not seasoning at all leads to more than bland food; it can also damage the cooktop and render the griddle unusable.
An unseasoned cooktop will almost never be the cause of a heating malfunction but it endangers the cooktop itself, which can be a related factor.
While it is perfectly okay to store a Blackstone griddle outdoors year-round, a protective cover will keep it safe from the elements. If your environment is prone to extremes in weather, such as very cold temperatures, strong winds, or torrential rain, it may be best to move the griddle to a shed or underneath an awning when not in use.
And finally, again, make sure to read all materials that came with the griddle when purchased. As with any major appliance, there are many important instructions to follow to prevent accidents and prolong the life of your griddle.