I renovated a rusty old Blackstone Griddle to improve my meat cooking game
I'm very excited...
One of the biggest ironies of my life has to do with a college job I worked. In 1999 I moved from New Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia, PA, to Auburn, AL to attend Auburn University. It was while living in Auburn that I ended up slinging Cheesesteaks as a part-time job. I moved from the Cheesesteak capital of the world to the deep, dirty south and learned how to cook my favorite food.
While it wasn't the most awesome job ever, I loved slinging Cheesesteaks. Working the flat top during a rush lunch or dinner was fun, albeit hot – and I never got tired of the food.
Having cooked on a real flat top grill with good results in college, I decided I wanted to replicate the results in recent years. I ended up buying two flat top griddle inserts that I could use in my multiple grills. They worked great for "Smashburgers" and Cheesesteaks, but they have relatively small cooking surfaces and are pretty hard to clean. Griddle inserts for grills are a great way to get into cooking on a flat top, but they leave a little to be desired.
Wagyu beef on the Kamado grill
Slinging some Cheesesteaks
A couple of weeks ago, a friend at work surprised me by offering me his old Blackstone Griddle. I was surprised and excited by what I was being offered: 720 sq. in. (4645 sq. cm.) of flat top cooking surface fed by LPG gas to 60,000 BTUs of heat. It was a little rusty, but it was salvageable. This past week I brought it home and finally had a chance to clean it up today.
It's a little dirty, and a little rusty
It's a little grimy all over
To clean it up, I first hit it with the pressure washer. A couple years of dirt, pollen and grease came off pretty quickly under the blast of water, but the top remained rusty. I busted out a corded power drill and chucked up a wire brush to attack the griddle; that knocked off most of the crusty stuff.
Mostly de-crusted at this point
Once I had a relatively crust-free surface, I set on the griddle surface with an angle grinder with a flap-wheel. That helped take off the deeper rust and it smoothed out most of the severe pitting on the cook surface. I then sprayed the whole Blackstone Griddle with a heavy degreaser, hit it with a scrub brush all over, and then pressure washed the whole thing again. Once done with the pressure washing, I connected a LPG bottle to the grill and turned it on to heat up. Once all of the water evaporated off the griddle, I seasoned the top with vegetable oil in order to protect the surface.
All cleaned up
The top is seasoned and ready for cooking
Looking nice and fresh
So what's next for my newest acquisition? Stay tuned for Smashburgers. I'm also looking forward to cooking up Philly Cheesesteaks and steak fajitas, and learning what else can be cooked up on a hot griddle – I'm excited.
But for now, I need to find a spot to keep this thing. I'm up to seven grills now...