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Built In Blackstone Griddle: How To for an Outdoor Kitchen

By Daniel Cdebaca

April 8, 2022

BUILT IN BLACKSTONE GRIDDLE – CAN IT BE DONE- RTA Blog Post Featured Image

So you’re in the market for a flat top griddle.

That’s great!

For years and years… Regular gas grills have stolen the thunder of their griddle counterparts.

But recently?

The tides have been changing.

Gas griddles have taken the outdoor cooking community by storm in recent years.

And for good reason! Homeowners love the versatility of an outdoor griddle.

You actually get more functionality than a traditional grill.

BUILT IN BLACKSTONE GRIDDLE – CAN IT BE DONE- RTA Blog Post Featured Image

While it’s true you won’t get those beautiful grill marks…

There’s so much more you can accomplish!

A flat top griddle can sear all your typical backyard cooking favorites… But it can also cook bacon, hash browns, pancakes, smash burgers, side dishes, hibachi style, and more food.

Today, many homeowners are prioritizing a griddle for their BBQ island over a traditional gas grill. 

If you’re reading this… You’re probably in the same boat!

You’re curious about a built in Blackstone griddle and if that could work in a BBQ island.

Well… We won’t keep you any longer.

Let’s get into it.

About Blackstone Griddles

blackstone logo

We’ll start off with giving you some background on Blackstone griddles.

2008 marks the year Blacksone’s flagship 36″ flat top griddle was released.

This model features four independently controlled burners with up to 60,000 BTUs of heat output.

Aside from size… Much of Blackstone’s product line are quite similar.

Here, we’ll review the 4 main categories: Materials, Appliance Class, Cost, & Options.

Materials

There are a couple points to discuss when it comes to materials.

Starting from the outside… The exterior components are made from powder coated steel.

The powder coating prevents rust. However… Know that if this surface chips, you’ll be in danger of rusting!

This can happen a lot easier than you may think.

So, what’s under the hood?

Blackstone utilizes stainless steel burners for their heating elements. We do not exactly know the grade of stainless used.

If you’re interested in purchasing one… It’s worth asking what grade is used in these stainless steel burners.

304 stainless steel is our standard. You don’t have to worry about rust… And it will last a long time.

Let’s look at the griddle top.

Blackstone’s griddle top is made from carbon steel. As far as surface materials go… We vastly prefer to see the griddle surface made from 304 stainless steel.

Why?

Although durable… Carbon steel is susceptible to rust. This is due to the small percentage of iron contained in carbon steel.

Of course… This point is going to bring up concerns of longevity.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t recover the surface if it rusts.

However… You have to be hyper vigilant to prevent rust and keep up with maintenance.

Here’s a video of what three different recovery methods look like:

Thankfully… There are flat top griddles that don’t have the issue of rust at all!

We don’t know about you… But that sounds vastly preferable.

Especially after seeing the amount of work that goes into recovering a rusty griddle surface. We’re exhausted just watching it!

We’ll discuss our preferred, non-rusting alternative later.

For now, let’s continue with Blackstone.

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Appliance/Griddle Classes

When it comes to appliance classes… There are three categories. Griddles follow the same pattern. These categories are:

Economy
graphic showing price of economy griddles
Premium
graphic showing price of premium griddles
Luxury
graphic showing price of luxury griddles

While fairly self-explanatory… Here’s a quick rundown.

Economy appliances are your entry-level option. They’re inexpensive and readily available at large retailers.

At the same time… Economy options tend to lack in the longevity department. The use of lower-cost materials put these outdoor appliances out of commission quicker than you’d expect.

The next step up would be the premium class. These appliances are made with better quality materials, have a more robust warranty, and provide better performance.

Appliances in the premium class are an excellent choice for most homeowner’s needs.

Finally… There’s the luxury class. Compared to the premium class, there’s not much difference. Material quality and warranties are often the same as premium offerings.

The two distinctions are price and features. Luxury grills are far more expensive… But also have many more bells and whistles.

Why are we telling you all this?

It’s simply to set the stage of where Blackstone griddles fit in.

Considering all of the above… Blackstone griddles fit firmly in the economy class.

You’ll want to keep this in mind if you want a Blackstone griddle built into an outdoor kitchen.

There are unique challenges you’ll face by incorporating an economy appliance into a grill island.

We’ll get into why later.

If you’re curious to learn more about grill classes… Read our Built in Grill article.

Moving on!

Cost

blackstone 36 inch standalone griddle with a hood

As you would expect from an economy appliance… The cost of a Blackstone griddle is quite palatable.

On BBQ Guys, the classic 36″ griddle with a hood will only set you back $599.00.

With such a low barrier to entry…

It’s easy to see why Blackstone griddles are so popular.

But remember… Inexpensive isn’t always better.

Model Options

blackstone 28 inch griddle model with food cooking on it
BLACKSTONE ORIGINAL 36" GRIDDLE COOKING STATION
28 inch blackstone cart model griddle with accessories
BLACKSTONE 28" XL CULINARY PRO WITH RANGETOP
blackstone 17 inch tabletop griddle with propane tank
BLACKSTONE ORIGINAL 17" WITH HOOD

There are a few ways you can enjoy a Blackstone griddle.

Most commonly… You’ll find them as a griddle cooking station. This is a standalone appliance you can put anywhere in your backyard to create a cooking space.

Blackstone also offers cart models with additional features.

You could opt for a griddle with a side range top… Or one with air fryer baskets underneath the griddle. There’s also a hybrid option with a charcoal grill to one side.

Looking for portability?

Blackstone also offers tabletop griddles. This option is great for tailgating and camping.

Alright, we’ve covered the options.

You’ve probably seen the terms “built in” and “non built in” thrown around in your research.

What’s the difference?

Built In vs Non Built In Griddles for Outdoor Cooking

When it comes to planning an outdoor kitchen project…

It is essential you understand the difference between built in and non built in appliances.

Let’s review the differences between the two.

Built In Griddles

product image of coyote flat top grill built into an rta outdoor living kitchen

A built in griddle is designed to be placed into an outdoor kitchen.

They will have proper ventilation baked into the design.

A built in griddle will also be easy to hook into your natural gas lines or propane tank.

Point is… These griddles are designed to be built into an outdoor kitchen. Hence the name!

Non Built In Griddles

a griddle appliance outside cooking bacon and potatoes for breakfast

As you could guess… These griddles are the exact opposite of their built in counterpart!

Non built in griddles are designed as standalone appliances.

They’re not meant to be built into an outdoor kitchen.

Wondering where Blackstone fits in all this?

Blackstone’s line consists of non built in griddles.

Which leads us to yet another question…

Can You Build a Blackstone Griddle Outdoor Kitchen?

At RTA, we get a ton of questions just like this one.

With Blackstone becoming the “Weber” of outdoor griddles… It only makes sense that homeowners are clamoring to know the answer!

There’s a technical and a real answer to this question.

We’ll go over both.

Technically… You can build an outdoor kitchen with built in Blackstone griddle.

Why do we answer this with trepidation?

Well, quite simply… We don’t recommend it!

Again, we’ll get to why later.

For now… Let’s discuss how it could be done. Technically.

Building a Blackstone Griddle in an Outdoor Kitchen

For the avid DIYer… There are two primary ways you may go about building an outdoor kitchen Blackstone.

You can completely build from scratch… Or go for an RTF kit.

Let’s begin with built from scratch.

Scratch Built Outdoor Kitchen with Blackstone Griddle

contractor in florida building an outdoor kitchen

If you’re comfortable with DIY projects… You’ll probably be tempted to build your BBQ island from scratch DIY style.

More often than not, this will be accomplished using an outdoor kitchen frame system.

You’ll begin with either wood or metal for your framing material. Most homeowners are more comfortable working with wood… So you’ll see this most often.

Either way, you’ll have to create your own frame. This frame will also have to accommodate your Blackstone griddle.

Not all DIYers do this… But the next correct step is to apply cement board to your wood frame.

At this stage, you will also want to put an insulated jacket where you are going to install the griddle.

This step is required if you are working with wood. Being a combustible material… You don’t want all your hard work to go up in flames!

We have seen many examples of homeowners not taking this safety measure. It’s not a risk worth taking.

If you’re working with a metal frame, an insulated jacket is not required.

Once the cement board is in place… It’s time to put in your appliances.

In the case of a Blackstone griddle… You’ll have to remove the legs in preparation for installation.

The final step is to apply your finish. This can be done with stucco, stone, brick, or tile.

Again, some homeowners completely skip the cement board and finish with wood as well.

And you’re done! You can see more detail on how to build an outdoor kitchen from scratch here.

Let’s talk about the other Blackstone in an outdoor kitchen build method.

RTF Blackstone Griddle Built in Kitchen

If you’re not familiar, RTF stands for ready to finish.

These are also frame systems built in the same way. The only difference is, some of the work has been done for you.

With an RTF system, you purchase pre-framed cabinets. This puts a bit less pressure on you when it comes to design.

You can simply purchase the cabinets you want for your ideal layout. To accommodate the Blackstone griddle… You’ll just need a cabinet that can fit the size of your appliance.

Once you’ve acquired your cabinets… The next step is to bolt them together.

From there, drop in your appliances.

The final step is to finish the exterior. This process is exactly the same as the method listed above. Stucco, stone, tile, and brick are your options.

And that’s it! Your Blackstone built in outdoor kitchen is ready to use.

Now you’ll recall that we have reservations about building a Blackstone griddle into a BBQ island.

It’s time to tell you why.

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Why We Don't Recommend a Blackstone Griddle for Your Outdoor Kitchen

It’s the answer you’ve been waiting for.

We’ve been hinting that we’re not a fan of the idea… We’ve even told you how to build one… But we haven’t told you why we don’t recommend building a Blackstone grill into an outdoor kitchen.

There’s no need to be on the edge of your seat any longer!

Let’s start with why we don’t recommend an RTF Blackstone grill island.

Problems with a Built In Blackstone Griddle for an RTF Outdoor Kitchen

An RTF Blackstone BBQ island is okay.

But just okay.

Why?

The first issue comes from the metal frames.

While less problematic than wood… If you live in a cold climate, you are going to have significant problems with a metal frame.

Over time, moisture can seep into the frame. This leads to rust and corrosion. It won’t be much longer until the structure of your outdoor kitchen is compromised. Yikes.

A second issue comes from the Blackstone griddle itself.

What is the issue, pray tell?

It has to do with the nature of the appliance.

You’ll remember that from the start… We made a clear distinction between “built in” and “non built in” griddles.

Blackstone griddles are non built in.

Therefore… They’re simply not designed to be installed into a BBQ island. They’re meant for standalone use.

This leads to a couple complications.

Safety first! Appliances that are designed to be built into a grill island account for proper ventilation. They are designed with ventilation in mind.

Not so with a Blackstone griddle.

If you don’t account for this by implementing custom ventilation into your design… You will have a serious safety concern on your hands.

Don’t play with fire!

Secondly… There’s a disharmony when it comes to longevity.

When you’re investing in an grill island… You want it to last as long as possible.

Earlier, we established that Blackstone griddles sit in the economy class of appliances.

There’s nothing wrong with this! However, they are not designed for the long haul.

So why would you install a short-lived appliance into your grill island?

You’re just setting yourself up for aggravation later.

And who wants that?

You’ll find a scratch-built Blackstone grill island encounters many of the same issues.

The Problems with a Scratch-Built Blackstone BBQ Island

wood frame rotting out on an outdoor kitchen after a few years

The main issue here is the outdoor materials used.

Whether you use metal or wood… Each have their own distinct complications.

We’ve already outlined the issues with metal frames.

Wood is even worse.

While it’s the easiest material to work with… It’s the worst to use outdoors.

Why?

We all know what happens to a dead tree. It rots and gets eaten by bugs!

The wood used in your outdoor kitchen is no different.

Even before that happens… You’ll likely experience warping that isn’t visually appealing.

Don’t just take it from us, though!

Here’s an example of someone who built a Blackstone grill island with wood.

He himself admits wood is problematic! In the video, the creator states:

“We used wood on the exterior which now that I’ve used wood, I don’t know that I would recommend using wood.”

You can watch the video below to see the problems wood construction caused for this DIYer.

Another problem can come from your experience.

If you’re not familiar with wood or metal construction… This can lead to significant structural problems in the long run.

Point is… Don’t attempt this method if you’re not experienced!

Wondering about the Blackstone griddle?

This method encounters the same troubles as RTF.

Safety and longevity.

We won’t reiterate it here…

At this point, you’re probably wondering if there’s a better way.

We’re glad you asked.

A Better Alternative for a Griddle Surface in Your Outdoor Kitchen

We’re going to tackle this better alternative from two fronts:

  1. The appliance perspective

  2. The BBQ island perspective

Both need to be considered in order to paint the full picture.

Let’s begin!

A Better Built in Griddle Cooking Station

We’ll preface this section by saying there are many built in griddles out there.

If you want to learn about the most popular… Check out our Built in Flat Top Grill Review.

But we have a brand that we recommend above all.

What brand?

Coyote Grills Logo

Coyote Outdoor Living.

We recommend Coyote’s flat top griddle for a myriad of reasons… And it goes far beyond our partnership with them!

Unlike Blackstone products… This griddle is designed for use in a BBQ island.

You won’t have to worry about ventilation or longevity.

Which brings us to our next point.

The 30″ Coyote flat top grill is built to last.

COYOTE 30″ Flat Top Grill

This griddle features complete 304 stainless steel construction. For a premium grade appliance, the quality does not get better than this.

304 stainless steel is virtually impervious to rust.

Therefore… You won’t have to worry about rehabilitating a rusted griddle cooking surface!

That’s a relief.

The performance is nothing to scoff at, either.

With two u-shaped stainless steel burners… The Coyote flat top grill shells out 36,000 BTUs of heat between both.

And with 400 square inches of cooking surface… You’ll have plenty of space for breakfast al fresco! (Or whatever else you want cooked on the griddle).

We’ll also remind you that Coyote’s flat top grill is made to last a lifetime.

Coyote offers a lifetime warranty on the griddle plate, stainless steel frame/housing, and stainless steel burners. Electric and plastic components are covered for two years… And there’s a one year warranty on the valves and ignition system.

Compared to Blackstone’s one year overall warranty… You can fully understand why Coyote is a cut above the rest!

And paired with the right outdoor kitchen… You’re in for a lifetime of outdoor cooking bliss.

A Better Outdoor Kitchen

As you’ve seen… There can be significant problems with a frame system.

Lucky for you, there’s alternatives out there!

Wondering about the best alternative?

modern concrete outdoor kitchen by rta for mike pyle

It’s the ready-to-assemble grill island.

Yes… We’re biased.

But it’s true!

We’re all too aware of the problems homeowners face with their BBQ island projects.

It’s through our unique solution that your problems are solved!

Before we ramble on too long… Let’s illustrate what RTA looks like for you.

Unlike the frame system you’ve become acquainted with… We utilize a panelized system. This means our grill islands are completely frameless.

Simply put, this is a lot less work on your part!

Our high performance concrete panels have the finish fully incorporated into the panel. You don’t have to apply the finish yourself! It’s already done for you.

These monolithic (one piece) panels also improve longevity. There’s no concern of moisture delaminating the panels over time… It’s actually not possible!

When paired with Coyote’s flat top grill… It’s a recipe for success.

tamara day cooking breakfast on her coyote griddle built in her rta outdoor kitchen

And of course, the variety doesn’t end there!

Through the RTA and Coyote partnership… You get access to a whole world of possibilities.

The entire line of Coyote outdoor grill and appliances is at your disposal. And with our capacity for custom grill island designs… There’s almost nothing we can’t accomplish!

Curious to learn more about RTA?

You have quite a few options at your disposal.

Why not check out the rest of our blog? If you’re comparing multiple options… We have a wealth of information to assist you in your decision.

Perhaps you’d rather speak to someone.

A great next step would be to schedule a call with one of our Design Experts. They’ll give you the individual attention you’re looking for… And answer all your burning questions!

No matter who you decide to work with for your grill island… We’re happy to help in whatever capacity we can.

What matters to us is that you can host the moments that matter.

Need assistance with your idea?

Our Outdoor Kitchen Design Experts will guide you through the best solutions to putting a built-in griddle into your outdoor kitchen design.

FAQ

There is no Blackstone built in griddle currently offered.

Yes, the legs can be removed from a Blackstone griddle. This adaptation allows you to use it on a countertop.

It depends on your expectations.

Blackstone griddles sit firmly in the economy class of appliances. They are inexpensive to purchase… But are generally not designed with longevity in mind.

If you’re looking for a griddle that’s inexpensive and will only last a few seasons… Blackstone may be the right fit for you.

But if you’re looking for top notch quality and a lifetime of use?

You’ll want to consider griddles from the premium or luxury class.

While we don’t recommend doing this… You can make a Blackstone outdoor kitchen.

This involves modifying your Blackstone griddle to fit in a grill island. Essentially, this means removing the legs.

From there… You’ll have to create a frame for your Blackstone griddle to sit in. This can be done with either wood or metal.

Then, you’ll apply cement board to your complete frame. Ensure cutouts for appliances are made before application.

The final step is to set in your appliances… And finish the exterior. This can be done with stucco, tile, brick, or stone.

A Blackstone can technically be built into a grill island. However, we do not recommend it.

This is due to a few reasons. For one, a Blackstone griddle is not designed to be built into a BBQ island. The lack of proper ventilation can lead to significant safety concerns.

A second issue is longevity. Blackstone griddles aren’t built to last a lifetime. When you’re investing so much time and money into a grill island… Your appliances should also be designed for the long haul!

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