Outdoor griddle cooking is fun. It’s a family reunion, a meetup with friends, and a time of delicious meals!
And while it’s smooth sailing most times, griddle cooking can turn sour – if you don’t pay attention. Imagine a kid runs up to you, looks at those delicious burgers, and by impulse grabs one? OW! That’s a burn – and now the whole cookout’s taken a sad turn.
So, learn to avoid things like flare-ups, burned trees, and food poisoning. We got all you need in this guide for you to stay safe.
Propane is a stable heat source for outdoor cooking. Its output is precise – totally controlled by the dials – and it can even reach temperatures of 60 thousand BTUs on the 36” Griddle!
But like any other fire, you need to be careful. Take these measures each time before cooking:
- Always check for leaks before usage. Simply mix soap and water in a cup (half each) and then brush it on all connections of the propane tank – including the hose.
- Turn on the propane tank. If bubbles appear that means you’ve got a leak.
- In case of a leak, shut off the propane tank and contact your supplier.
- If the bubbles continue appearing, contact your fire department immediately. Don’t try to move the propane tank or the griddle. Throw a damp cloth on top of the connections for safety.
If you are certain the propane tank has no leaks, that means you can start cooking. Another problem is, sometimes when you open the tank, turn the heat control, and push the igniter – you don’t get a flame.
Never push the igniter with an open heat control for more than five seconds! If the propane isn’t burning, wait for five minutes before trying again. Propane builds up inside the griddle when you open the tank, and you need to let it dissipate. In a worst case scenario, it may cause dangerous flare-ups.
So, be patient. Then, try to light it again. If it doesn’t work by the third time, you need to contact your propane supplier.
Remove any hazards and avoid a fire catastrophe with these measures. A few precautions can make a huge difference – and it’s not a lot of effort.
Cook Away from Flammable Materials
Never use your Blackstone Griddle less than 36 inches from something flammable. That means walls, fencing, trees, and ceilings.
Don’t keep any flammable materials near the griddle, such as toys, backyard decorations, and plants. The safest is to cook in the middle of the backyard – that means you have time to counter an eventual fire before it spreads.
Empty the Grease Collector
You should always empty out your grease collector after each cookout. For safety, check if it’s empty before usage. Built up grease is one of the major causes of gas griddle fires.
Also, while cooking, never squirt a lot of grease on the flat top at once. Be careful, and squirt in small amounts just enough to keep the food griddling.
Know How to Put out a Fire
It is rare for a Blackstone Griddle to catch fire. But, you need to be prepared just in case:
- Have a fire extinguisher. K Class are recommended for gas griddles
- Use a bucket of sand to put out the fire
- Never use water. Blackstone griddles sear food with their own juices That means a fire might be burning grease – water just makes things worse
Storage and Maintenance
Where and how you store your griddle is essential for safety. You need to pick a place in your house that protects it from rust, damage, and heat.
Cool and Dry Place
Store your griddle somewhere that isn’t damp. That means a well-ventilated room far away from the kitchen or bathrooms.
Also, the room should have a mild temperature. It shouldn’t get too hot or too cold. Stable temperatures protect the propane tank from leaks. A recommendation is to pick a room that doesn’t receive direct sunlight but also doesn’t stay entirely in the dark.
More details in our how to take care of your griddle guide.
Maintain the flat top of the griddle with a layer of oil. This is known as seasoning, which makes the surface non-stick and protects it from rust.
A seasoned flat top is more durable and enhances the flavor of food since the juices lock-in better. Learn how to do it in our complete griddle seasoning guide.
If you haven’t used your griddle for more than a couple of months, you need to check under the flat top. Insects, spiders, and other animals might be nesting in the burner frame. This can cause an accident since it interrupts the propane flow.
So, take off the flat top and check carefully for any dirt left by animals that can block the burners. You should check up on your griddle at least once a month – especially during the winter to avoid rust. Learn more in our how to remove rust guide.
PRO TIP: add a protective coat of oil after each check up – no need to fire it up, just rub with some paper towels.
Cover Your Griddle and Remove Clutter
A heavy-duty canvas cover protects your griddle from the elements. It fends off rust, scratches, dust, and any other damage.
Also don’t keep any objects on top of the flat top. This can damage the surface.
Clothing and Tools
The clothes you wear and tools you use are essential for safety. Read below how to stay safe:
Wear Casual Clothes and an Apron
Wear clothes that don’t affect your mobility. Use t-shirts, flexible pants, and easy-going shoes like sneakers. Avoid clothes that make you rigid, such as puffer jackets and slim-fit dress shirts.
The idea is that if you need to move in the case of an emergency, you can with agility. And never wear clothes that dangle over the flat top, such as shirt tails and wide sleeves. If clothes fall on a hot griddle, it can cause a major accident.
And wear an apron to protect your clothing and body from grease burns.
Have the Essential Griddle Tools
Wear heat-resistant gloves while cooking and use the correct tools. Our griddle toolkit contains fully-approved spatulas, dicers, and dispensers for use on griddles.
Also, have a cooler to keep meat fresh until the griddle is heated and ready.
People at Risk
Children and animals are at most risk from outdoor cooking. People under the influence of alcohol can also cause problems. Learn the safety measures below.
Little kids burn themselves by accident when running around the griddle or get hurt with spiky edges from tools.
A good way to counter this is to stipulate a “no-entry zone” of at least 3 feet. Mark with flags in your backyard a square around the griddle that kids can’t cross. For children that love to break the rules, encourage them to obey by offering a prize at the end of the cookout – how about a griddle dessert?
Kids usually burn themselves when they are curious and touch the griddle. Teach them how a griddle works before usage and they’ll settle down.
And for safety, teach kids to “stop, drop, and roll” in case fire catches their clothing. This is a lifetime lesson everybody should know, so why not teach it now?
Dogs and cats love food. If they see meat being cooked on a griddle, they won’t resist the urge to grab a bite. And this can result in burns, food poisoning or even choking.
The best way to protect your pets is to keep dogs on a leash and cats locked in the house. Tell your guests not to feed any food to the animals; and always keep an eye on the pets just in case.
When you are cooking on the griddle, you need to pay attention to the food and your surroundings. That means you shouldn’t drink alcohol – keep the drinking for when the cooking is done.
Or you can change positions with a buddy and let him cook while you drink for the remainder of the cookout.
Also, keep an eye on anybody under heavy influence of alcohol. They shouldn’t handle the griddle, food, or tools that can bring them or others at risk.
When cooking on a griddle, it’s essential to avoid food poisoning. Follow our tips below to make sure you cook correctly.
All frozen ingredients should be completely thawed before cooking. It’s best to thaw them overnight inside the fridge.
Prepare your cooler with many bags of clean ice and preheat your griddle before taking meats out of the fridge. The idea is to cook the meat as quickly as possible – storing meat in the cooler just helps fend off bacteria for more safety.
Wash Your Hands
Always wash your hands before handling meat. And never touch cooked meat after contact with raw – wash your hands before switching over.
It’s best to clean with soap and water, but if that isn’t available, use hand sanitizer.
Don’t Mix Raw and Cooked Food – Tools and Marinades
If you let your raw meat rest overnight in a marinade, don’t use the marinade again on cooked food for flavor.
Also, never use tools, cutlery, and plates for raw food with cooked meals. This can cause food poisoning because of bacteria. If you need to use these materials with cooked meals, wash them in warm, soapy water before.
Make Sure Meats Are Fully Cooked
Especially with ground meat, such as burgers and sausages, make sure they are fully cooked before serving. The process of grinding burger meat means bacteria gets mixed in the whole ingredient and you need to cook it completely to avoid food poisoning.
So, ground meat ingredients should always be steaming hot, with no pink meat, and no dripping juices. The only dishes that you can cook rare, medium-rare, or medium are steaks – the bacteria only stays on the surface and doesn’t reach the core. Learn more in our doneness guide.
How to Store Leftovers
As soon as you finish your cookout, put your leftovers on a tray and cover it with tinfoil. Let it cool down in the kitchen before putting it in the fridge.
Leftovers should be put in the fridge in 2 hours max after cooking and eaten within 3 days. Always reheat leftovers before eating, and if you’re worried, throw them out.
Do you have any questions? Leave a comment below and our team will answer you shortly.
Safety is our priority when you’re cooking. Keep this guide in mind before a cookout, and check our other guides for more info.