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The appeal of cooking on a Blackstone griddle is undeniable. We had a custom outdoor kitchen built, and we have a high end Blaze Flat Top stainless steel griddle – that was very expensive. I have been disappointed with it for many reasons I won’t go into here. A family member, who is a fantastic cook has a Blackstone, just raves about it (yes Billy H, I’m talking about you…). However, one common concern among Blackstone owners is how to prevent the griddle from rusting. In this article, we will explore effective methods to keep your Blackstone griddle rust-free, ensuring its longevity and optimal performance.
Understanding Blackstone Construction
Before delving into rust prevention, it’s important to understand the construction of a Blackstone griddle. Blackstone grills are commonly made from 430-grade stainless steel. 430-grade stainless is a ferritic stainless steel known for its corrosion resistance, heat resistance, and durability. It is a popular choice for griddles and other cooking appliances due to its ability to withstand high temperatures and resist rust and staining. However, even though its made from this high quality material, the potential to rust exists if not properly cared for.
Stainless Steel isn’t Black, So why is a Blackstone “Black” when you Purchase it?
Blackstone grills typically come with a pre-seasoned black surface. This means that they are already treated with a layer of seasoned oil, giving them their signature black appearance. The pre-seasoning provides a head start in the griddle’s maintenance and ensures a non-stick surface right out of the box. However, it is still essential to continue seasoning and maintaining the griddle regularly for optimal performance and rust prevention.
Causes of Rusting
While Blackstone grills are made from rust-resistant stainless steel, they can still rust under certain conditions. Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, especially 430, but it is not entirely immune to rust. Several factors can contribute to rust formation on a Blackstone grill:
Exposure to moisture: If the griddle is exposed to moisture for prolonged periods, such as rain or high humidity, it can lead to rusting. Moisture can penetrate through microscopic imperfections or scratches on the surface of the stainless steel, causing rust to form.
Lack of proper maintenance: Improper cleaning and maintenance practices can also contribute to rust formation. If the griddle is not cleaned and dried thoroughly after each use, residual moisture can lead to rust. Additionally, neglecting to apply a protective layer of oil after cleaning can leave the surface vulnerable to moisture and oxidation.
Damage or scratches: Scratches or damage to the protective layer of the stainless steel can compromise its rust-resistant properties. Sharp utensils, abrasive cleaners, or rough handling can cause scratches, allowing moisture to penetrate the surface and initiate rusting.
Environmental factors: Extreme weather conditions, such as exposure to saltwater or harsh chemicals, can accelerate rust formation on stainless steel surfaces. These corrosive elements can react with the stainless steel and compromise its resistance to rust.
Preparing the Blackstone
Preparing a Blackstone griddle properly is essential to prevent rust and ensure its longevity. Follow these detailed steps to prepare your Blackstone griddle and protect it from rusting:
Unboxing and Inspection: Carefully unbox your Blackstone griddle and inspect it for any shipping damage or manufacturing defects. Contact the manufacturer if you notice any issues.
Cleaning the Griddle: Before the initial use, it’s important to clean the griddle surface thoroughly. Start by removing any protective coating or film that may have been applied during manufacturing. Use warm water, mild dish soap, and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to gently scrub the griddle surface. Rinse it thoroughly to remove any soap residue.
Drying the Griddle: After cleaning, ensure the griddle is completely dry before proceeding. Use a clean, dry cloth or paper towels to wipe off any remaining moisture from the surface. Moisture left on the griddle can lead to rust formation.
Seasoning the Griddle: Seasoning is a vital step in preventing rust and creating a non-stick cooking surface. Apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the entire griddle surface, including the sides and corners. Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil or flaxseed oil. Spread the oil evenly using a paper towel or cloth. Heat the griddle on medium-high heat until the oil starts to smoke. Let it cool down and repeat the process 2-3 times to build up a protective seasoning layer. Here are some good choices:
Canola Oil: Canola oil is a popular choice for seasoning due to its high smoke point of around 400°F (204°C). It has a neutral flavor and is readily available in most kitchens.
Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed oil is another excellent option with a high smoke point of around 420°F (216°C). It has a mild flavor and is known for its light texture.
Avocado Oil: Avocado oil has a very high smoke point of approximately 520°F (271°C), making it suitable for high-heat cooking and seasoning. It has a subtle, buttery flavor.
Peanut Oil: Peanut oil has a high smoke point of about 450°F (232°C) and works well for seasoning a Blackstone griddle. It has a mild, nutty flavor that can add a hint of richness to the griddle surface.
Flaxseed Oil: Flaxseed oil is known for its high smoke point of around 420°F (216°C). It is a popular choice for seasoning cast iron and can be used for Blackstone griddles as well. It has a slightly nutty flavor.
These oils with their respective high smoke points create a protective seasoning layer on the griddle surface, helping to prevent rust and provide a non-stick cooking surface. Choose an oil based on your personal preference and availability, ensuring it has a high smoke point to withstand the seasoning process effectively.
Routine Cleaning: (Pro Tip from Billy H)
After each use, it’s important to properly clean the griddle. Our resident family cooking phenom who I mentioned earlier (Billy H), says that when he’s done cooking, he turns the heat to high and pours water on the griddle to allow steam to do much of the cleaning, it makes scraping much easier. Then the griddle is cooled dried and the seasoning oil of choice is applied.
Protecting the Blackstone
To protect your Blackstone griddle from rust, consider investing in a cover specifically designed for your model (Here’s one for a 36″ Griddle). A cover provides an additional layer of defense against the elements, shielding the griddle from rain, snow, and excessive humidity. When not in use, always cover the griddle to prevent moisture accumulation.
Proper storage is critical for preventing rust on your Blackstone griddle, especially during extended periods of non-use or during the off-season. Store the griddle in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Ensure the griddle is clean and dry before storing, as any remaining moisture can lead to rust formation. If you can store it indoors for long periods of non-use, all the better!
In addition to regular cleaning and proper storage, certain maintenance practices can further enhance rust prevention for your Blackstone griddle. Periodically inspect the griddle for any signs of rust or damage and address them promptly. Applying a thin layer of cooking oil before storing the griddle can provide extra protection. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or metal utensils that can scratch the griddle surface, as this can compromise its resistance to rust.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Can I use soap to clean my Blackstone griddle? A: Yes, mild dish soap can be used to clean your Blackstone griddle, but make sure to rinse it thoroughly afterward to remove any soap residue.
- Q: How often should I season my Blackstone griddle? A: It is recommended to season your Blackstone griddle after every cleaning or when you notice the seasoning wearing off.
- Q: Can I use my Blackstone griddle in the winter? A: Yes, you can use your Blackstone griddle in winter, but be sure to follow all cleaning and storage procedures, especially making sure it’s completely dry before storage to avoid any problems brought on by freezing.
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