google.com, pub-3283090343984743, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Camp Chef GRIDIRON 36 Review: Serious Competition For Blackstone
× Backyard GrillingWeekend WarriorsAdvice from DadBeard GroomingTV Shows for Guys4x4 Off-Road CarsMens FashionSports NewsAncient Archeology World NewsPrivacy PolicyTerms And Conditions
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Camp Chef GRIDIRON 36 Review: Serious Competition For Blackstone

Camp Chef has been in the griddle game for some time, but their older models were pretty basic. With the new GridIron 36, Camp Chef is hoping they’ve come up with a griddle to rival Blackstone.

I got to try out this griddle before it hits stores on May 20th. In this review, I’m going to run through the specs and break down everything I like and a few things I dislike about this griddle. At the end, I’ll compare the GridIron with a few other popular griddles I’ve tested.

Camp Chef sent me this griddle for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

First impressions of the GridIron 36

I’ve been a fan of Camp Chef ever since I started using their cooking systems as a kid. The original Woodwind 24 was the first pellet grill I did any serious cooking on, and I now own several of their products, including the Woodwind Pro and the XXL Pro.

But I’ve never been a big fan of their griddles.

The older models got hot. Like way too dang hot, and were extremely tough to cool down. The design was also a bit dated compared to the sleek offering that brands like Blackstone and Loco offer.

I got the chance to test out this griddle (more on this in a bit) and it looks like Camp Chef may be on to a winner.

My first impression of the GridIron was, “Wow, this thing is pretty.” The solid black design is perfectly complementedwith a touch of red on the burner knobs. It’s simple yet sleek, and I love the overall design, especially compared to the older Camp Chef griddle models.

What you need to know

Dimensions36 x 21 in
Cooking Surface Area643 sq. in.
IgnitionElectric, Flamethrower
Number of Burners4
Total BTUs 48,000
LidDual-walled, reinforced lid

I also love the soft-close and soft-open on their lid, so you don’t have to listen to the metal-on-metal clank that you get with some other griddles.

Camp Chef do not recommend cooking with the lid closed, though they did mention that short periods of time (less than 10 minutes) at a lower temperature with the lid closed would not likely be an issue. So, if you want to melt some cheese on your burgers quickly, it should not cause a problem.


Blackstone
You can add a handy basket accessory to the side table for storing oil bottles.

The side table on the left folds down, but the side table on the right side does not due to the location of the propane canister & hose. I wish both sides would fold down for storage purposes, but if you are planning to leave the griddle on your patio 24/7 then this is not really much of a problem.

The grease trap design is really unique. It’s huge, and you can easily crack eggs and shove the shells into the grease bucket.


GridIron 36
Small notches built into either side of the grease trap allow you to hold spatulas there.

I’ve never liked how small some other griddle grease traps are, but with this one, I could cook half a dozen meals and scrape whatever I want down into the trap without worrying about it.

It’s thoughtful to give you a place to rest your spatula that isn’t the side table.

What I like:

  • Oversized Front Grease Trap & Catch – I find having the grease trap at the front makes it easier to manage, and the large and conveniently placed grease bucket makes it easy to keep your cooking surface clean.
  • Pre-seasoned Griddle Top – This griddle comes pre-seasoned which saves time and also ensures that you have a high quality, even seasoning on your griddle from day one.
  • Griddle Surface Leveling (even while hot) – There is nothing worse than getting about 15 minutes into a cook and realizing that your griddle top isn’t level. On most models, there is nothing you can do about it. The ability to take the included Allen wrench and adjust the leveling of the griddle top, even during the middle of a cook, is such a nice feature.
  • Flamethrower Ignition – The electric flamethrower ignition lights quickly and once I turn it on, I don’t need to bend down to check and make sure the griddle burner is lit – it’s consistent and quick.
  • Griddle Spatula Holder – Small notches built into either side of the griddle top allow a spatula to rest perfectly, even with the lid closed.

What I don’t like:

  • No Storage – below the griddle top, you will find a small door that leads to the grease bucket, but there is no shelving or additional storage under the griddle. I believe this was done to keep the cost affordable, but I like having storage under my grills.
  • Not Sidekick Compatible – if you are a Camp Chef owner, you know that most of their pellet grills come with the option to add what they call a Sidekick. The Camp Chef Sidekick is a single burner that is compatible with all of their 14” accessories, like their pizza oven, griddle top, and grill. I wish they had made this griddle compatible with the Sidekick to add more flexibility.
  • No Accessories Included – again, this is a cost savings issue, but I wish the griddle had some basic accessories like spatulas and a cover. Most major brands do not include these in their offering, but getting the griddle without purchasing additional items to start cooking would be nice.

A little backstory…

Camp Chef invited me out to Logan, Utah, back in July of 2023 to get a top-secret look at the prototype model of a new griddle design they had been working on. I hopped on a plane, signed the NDA, and got to play around with one of the very first models of this griddle.

I was able to give feedback on the design, the functionality, how the griddle cooked, and more, and it felt like Camp Chef took our feedback and put it into place as they were finalizing the design.

Fast forward to May 2024, and I got to head back out to Utah once again to be at the official launch party and really get to see the final production models in action.


GridIron 36

At the launch we got a great overview of the specs of the griddle from the designers and engineers, but we also got to cook on the griddles. They had 8 of them lined up along with all of the food you could imagine for us to cook, test, and play around with these new griddles.

From bacon, eggs, and pancakes to smash burgers, cheesesteaks, and even whole salmon filets, we were able to cook all the classic griddle-style foods and more to really put these griddles to the test.

I should also point out that I’m not being paid by Camp Chef to write this review, and there was no expectation that I write a positive review.

Cooking on the Camp Chef Gridiron 36

One great thing about attending the launch party for this griddle was that I got to test out just about every type of food you could ever want to cook, all on the same day!

We started the day with the griddle breakfast classics like scrambled eggs, bacon, turkey bacon, sausage links and patties, and, of course, pancakes!


Blackstone

I was impressed by how evenly the griddle cooked everything. I’ve had issues in the past with other griddles having hot spots that don’t cook as evenly across the entire surface of the griddle, but I found that I could cook pancakes across the entire surface, and they cooked evenly.

The griddle comes pre-seasoned and is extremely nonstick straight out of the gate. While you still need to do a quick burn-off to remove any chemicals left behind by the manufacturing process, you don’t have to go through the entire process of seasoning the griddle.

While many consider the first seasoning of a griddle a bit of a “rite of passage” of a griddle owner, personally, I would much prefer it be done at the factory by industrial ovens instead of manually by me in my backyard (call me lazy, I honestly don’t care).

After we finished breakfast and spent some time hanging out, it was lunch time, and we put the griddles to the test once again.


Camp Chef
Using a griddle is great for delicate foods like salmon

The amount of food that we cooked was unreal. We made everything from smash burgers to Philly cheesesteaks, grilled vegetables, and even two whole salmon filets! It’s safe to say none of us left this event hungry.


Camp Chef
Smash burgers on the Camp Chef

Again, I was impressed with the even temperature the griddles maintained. When I set the griddle to medium-low, it was cooler. When I set it to high, it was hotter.

One thing that a lot of griddle manufacturers get wrong is the fact that there is no way to run the griddle to a lower temperature. They keep getting hotter and hotter and it becomes a chore to cook certain things on the griddle top.

With the Camp Chef I didn’t have that issue as much.

For example, I was making a couple of Philly Cheesesteaks (okay, they had bell peppers in them, so the entire city of Philly would come for me, but we can call them Texas Cheesesteaks if you want). I placed down some oil with raw onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos, along with a bit of seasoning, and let them start cooking.

In the middle of the griddle, I placed some thinly shaved ribeye steak and a bit more oil and seasoning. I noticed that my steak was cooking too quickly, and I didn’t want it to overcook while I was waiting for the veggies to get soft, so I lowered the temp. It was reminiscent of cooking on a cast iron pan in my kitchen. Of course, it takes a second for the temperature to adjust, but the adjustment of the knobs made a significant difference in the temperature of the griddle top very quickly.

A range of useful accesdsories

Camp Chef also rolled out a new line of griddle accessories & starter kits with the launch of the GridIron griddle. They are not included in the cost of the griddle, but they offer a ton of options to give you everything you need to get cooking.

I did mention to their marketing team that they should offer a bundle deal when you purchase the griddle that you can get all the accessories at the same time with a single SKU, but no word yet if they plan to make that available.

Here are some of the items they’ve rolled out:

  • Smash Burger Kit – oversized burger spatula, burger press, steam dome.
  • Essentials Kit – bottle holder, tongs, and multiple spatulas
  • Cleaning Kit – everything you need to clean and maintain your griddle.
  • Breakfast Kit – pancake pouring device, pancake spatula, and egg molds.
  • Magnetic Hook Set – hooks to attach to the side tables to hang utensils from
  • Griddle Silicone Mat – a mat to protect your griddle top when not in use.
  • Bottle Set – 2 squirt bottles (for oil and water) and a magnetic bottle holder.
  • Griddle Scraper – a scraper to clean your griddle.
  • Spatula Kit – 2 spatulas for griddle cooking
  • Paper Towel Holder – a magnetic paper towel holder that attaches to the side table.
  • 14” Tongs – tongs for use while cooking
  • Griddle Cover – a full-sized cover to use when the griddle is not in use.

Blackstone 36 vs. Camp Chef Gridiron 36

I’ve owned a lot of different griddles, and the only one I’ve ever really been impressed with is my Blackstone 36. From a quality and consistency standpoint, I feel that Blackstone is the only griddle on the market that ever performed at the level I wanted it to.

That being said, my stance on that subject has now changed. Camp Chef designed and produced a griddle that is just as good as my Blackstone, plus they added a lot of thoughtful features.

While I still love my Blackstone and honestly don’t have a lot of negative things to say about it, I do want to point out a few things that I think the Camp Chef does better.

Camp Chef put the grease trap in the front of the griddle. I get it. A lot of people absolutely love the fact that the Blackstone has a grease trap in the back of the grill, but it’s something I’ve always hated. For me, it’s not natural to push all of that away from me, and it’s always been awkward. Also, if you’re like me, your griddle backs up against a wall or the side of your house in your backyard, which means you have to open up the wheel locks and physically move the griddle to get back to the grease tray and check how full it is, empty it, etc.

While other manufacturers have done the grease trap in the front, I think that Camp Chef was thoughtful about how they designed theirs. It’s bigger than most I’ve used (yes, I’m looking at you Blackstone, Weber, and Loco). It’s big enough that you could crack an egg right onto your griddle surface to cook, then discard the shell down into the grease trap instead of needing to keep a trash can next to your griddle.

The most popular Blackstone doesn’t come with a lid, so the best direct comparison is the 36″ Omnivore Griddle.

Should you buy a Camp Chef GridIron 36?

If you are in the market for a new griddle, I think the Camp Chef Gridiron 36 is one of the best options today. The Weber Slate and Traeger Flatrock are both nice but so expensive for what they are. The Loco Cookers griddle has had too many reports of inconsistency and malfunctions, and the value brands won’t last as long as they should.

The only griddle I would say competes with the Camp Chef are the higher-end Blackstone models. You would need to get the 36” option with the lid to be able to compare to all of the features offered with the GRIDIRON, and it’s going to cost you more than $499. Depending on how often you cook and what you are looking for in a griddle, I think the Camp Chef is a very good option, especially for the price.

The GRIDIRON 36 will be available everywhere Camp Chef products are sold starting on 5/20/24.


Did you miss our previous article...
https://manstuffnews.com/backyard-grilling/5-creative-plantbased-vegetarian-grilling-recipes-for-bbq