Creating a safe Blackstone Griddle outdoor kitchen area

We are not a leading authority on fire safety but we do read a lot of the grills and griddle manuals! We can see where Blackstone’s website could easily be confusing, and potentially dangerous to anyone new.

In fairness, they may have the actual warnings in the paper specs, but I bought mine a couple of years ago and did what most people probably did and never even looked at any of the paperwork. Others may have bought their Blackstone used and did not receive any of the paper documents with it.

 

Here is what the Blackstone website says: 

“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.”

I can tell you, that there are no grills that I know of whose manufacturer specifications allow it to be installed under any type of overhead combustible construction without a proper hood and exhaust vent, let alone 36″ under a combustible ceiling with no hood or vent like the Blackstone website verbiage indicates you could do. The high-end ones also all specify that they should not be used in enclosed porches, garages, breezeways or any other enclosed spaces, while Blackstone does not mention this.

Literally every grill manufacturer I know of specifies that they should NEVER be mounted under any combustible overhead construction without a hood and powered ventilation, regardless of the ceiling height or their distance from the grill. They (the other manufacturers) specify minimum distances to both combustible and non-combustible materials in all the other directions and also within built-in enclosures (summer kitchens) which is very useful information.

I’m kind of at a loss about Blackstone’s specs because they are sort of bi-polar. I say that because Blackstone recommends 36″ of clearance in all directions (including overhead), and gives no minimum distances from non-combustibles, which indicates you can cook just fine under vinyl soffit as long as it is more than 36″ from the cooking surface…. Don’t do that, it won’t end well I promise.

 

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Non-combustible clearances: 

Blackstone’s website doesn’t differentiate between combustible and non-combustible clearances as the high-end grill manufacturers do.

What is a non-combustible material you may ask? In my area, stucco over concrete block is commonplace, red brick may be more common in your area.

With the high-end manufacturers, most of them allow them to be mounted very close to non-combustibles, because they are, well non-combustible. The rear wall clearance is usually only the space required for the lid to be opened, some are as low as 4″. Side clearance to non-combustibles isn’t listed on most of them because again, they are non-combustibles.

 

Here are some examples of what you can and can’t do according to the other manufacturers.

1. You can’t use any grill under any overhead combustible construction without a proper hood and exhaust vent, ever. There is never any minimum distance to them listed because there isn’t one. Even if your ceiling is 100 feet above your grill, the manufacturers say no way.

2. You can use them under overhead combustible construction with a hood and exhaust vent.

3. You can use them under overhead non-combustible construction (stucco, masonry, etc.) ceilings without a hood and vent but minimum distances are usually listed, 5′ from the cooking surface to the overhead non-combustible construction is a common one I see.

Nothing is a universal be-all-end-all so you need to use your own judgment to not do potentially dumb things. If you have wood shake or vinyl siding, it would be wise to use your grill nowhere near them. They are super sensitive and bad things can happen fast. I personally wouldn’t use one within 5′-6′ minimum to either of those.

 

There are other caveats to consider. If you have stucco or cement board (Think James Hardie siding) over wood framing and sheathing, the stucco or cement board is technically non-combustible, but if you follow the non-combustible specs and your stucco or siding gets heated up to 600 degrees, the wood behind it could certainly not handle it very well, which could lead to bad things happening inside your walls including melting wires or a fire.

Another would be an open porch with a wood ceiling over stucco soffits and no hood and vent. If it were just stucco or concrete on the ceiling, you are good. I see a ton of wood ceilings installed over the stucco or concrete ceilings here. Even though the buildings envelope is protected by non-combustibles, the wood ceiling itself is combustible, so would be a no-go without a hood and vent.

If your walls and ceiling are non-combustible, you can run one with no hood or vent as mentioned. If you were to mount combustible cabinets on the wall behind it, they need to be mounted in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications (nothing directly over top of the grill and maintaining the minimum width to combustibles requirement).

 

Windows are another important factor to consider. Glass isn’t combustible, and aluminum frames (not vinyl) are not combustible, but the glazing used to seal the glass to the window can be damaged by heat if you are too close. Glass can shatter because of rapid temperature changes as well so even if it doesn’t catch on fire, you can cause damage. Just like vinyl/ wood siding, you really shouldn’t use a grill anywhere near them IMO.

We all do what we do, and many (including myself) do things that may not fall exactly into these guidelines but mentioning all this certainly can’t hurt the people new to the grilling scene who are considering doing something most people would know better than to do.

 

Is it Safe to Use a Blackstone Griddle Indoors?

No, Blackstone explicitly discourages indoor use of their griddles. These flat-top grills operate on propane, and improper combustion of this gas can generate deadly carbon monoxide.
Griddles cook on an open surface, which presents risks of explosions in cases of gas leakage or when they are used in proximity to flammable materials. Therefore, it is strongly advised never to use a Blackstone Griddle indoors.

 

Is it Safe to Use a Blackstone Griddle in the Garage?

While it’s possible to use a Blackstone Griddle in your garage, it’s not recommended. To operate a flat-top grill safely, you should have sufficient space and proper ventilation. Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that there are no flammable materials, gas, or chemicals present in the garage.

 

Are griddles safer than grills?

Because grills give off more smoke and heat, they belong outside or under a commercial hood ventilating system. Griddles tend to be a little safer since the food is not in direct contact with open flames, there is no chance of a flare-up.

 

Top safety tips to prevent grilling accidents:

Using a 36″ Blackstone griddle, or any griddle for that matter, requires careful attention to safety to prevent accidents and ensure a pleasant cooking experience. Here are some safety precautions to keep in mind:

Read the Manual: Start by thoroughly reading the manufacturer’s manual that comes with your Blackstone griddle. This will provide specific safety guidelines and instructions for your particular model.

Location: Place your griddle on a level, stable, and non-combustible surface. Ensure there is adequate ventilation in the cooking area to prevent the accumulation of gas or fumes.

Keep Children and Pets Away: Establish a safe zone around the griddle to keep children and pets away from the hot surface. A griddle can become extremely hot, posing a burn hazard.

Wear Appropriate Clothing: Avoid loose-fitting clothing that can easily catch fire. Wear closed-toe shoes and use oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves when handling hot griddle surfaces or utensils.

Fire Extinguisher: Have a fire extinguisher nearby, especially if you are cooking with flammable materials like oil. Ensure you know how to use it.

Cooking Utensils: Use appropriate utensils with long handles to prevent burns. Avoid using plastic or wooden utensils that can melt or catch fire.

Hot Surface: Always assume that the griddle surface is hot, even if it’s been turned off. Avoid direct contact with the cooking surface and use caution when moving or cleaning the griddle.

Keep Flammable Materials Away: Keep flammable materials like paper towels, dish towels, and cooking oils away from the griddle. A grease fire can be extremely dangerous.

Gas Safety: If your griddle is powered by propane or natural gas, ensure that the gas connections are secure and leak-free. Always turn off the gas supply when not in use.

Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding the griddle can lead to uneven cooking and potential flare-ups. Maintain a safe cooking distance between items.

Proper Ventilation: Use your griddle in a well-ventilated area, especially if you’re using it indoors. Adequate ventilation will help dissipate smoke, heat, and any gas fumes.

Grease Management: Be diligent about managing grease and oil buildup on the griddle surface. Excess grease can lead to flare-ups and fires. Use a grease tray or drip pan to collect drippings.

Cooling Down: Allow the griddle to cool down completely before attempting to clean it or store it. Hot surfaces can cause burns.

Regular Maintenance: Periodically inspect your griddle for any signs of wear and tear, gas leaks, or damaged components. Address any issues promptly.

Outdoor Use: If using the griddle outdoors, be cautious of windy conditions, as they can affect the temperature control and pose safety risks.

Emergency Plan: Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures, such as how to turn off the griddle and gas supply in case of an emergency.

By following these safety precautions, you can enjoy cooking on your 36″ Blackstone griddle while minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries. Always exercise caution and prioritize safety when working with any cooking appliance.

 

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Safety Precautions for Indoor Use of a Blackstone Griddle

Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is of utmost importance when using a Blackstone griddle indoors. When propane fuel burns, it generates carbon monoxide, a deadly, colorless, and odorless gas. Inadequate ventilation can lead to the accumulation of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. In professional kitchens, you’ll often find large ventilation hoods above cooking areas to address this concern.

Additionally, propane gas leaks are a potential risk when using a flat-top grill. Propane is also colorless and odorless but highly flammable.

To safeguard against these hazards, it is crucial to maintain proper ventilation. If feasible, open all windows and doors in the cooking space and keep them open while using the griddle. You can also utilize exhaust fans or ceiling fans to help disperse any carbon monoxide and mitigate the risk of leaking propane gas.

 

Place Your Griddle on a Safe Surface

You can use a heavy, unpolished stone because it cannot conduct heat or melt. Ensure that it is stable and sturdy enough to support the metal grill throughout the cooking.

A hot Griddle will melt laminate countertops and burn wooden countertops. Excessive heat can also penetrate through metallic surfaces such as stainless steel and heat them to dangerous degrees.

Keep Kids and Pets Away

When using a flat-top grill indoors, excited children and pets can always come to the cooking area. The hot cooking surface, popping oil, and poisonous gases expose them to a dangerous situation.

Before firing up your grill, enclose your pets in a separate place and ensure the children are in a safe play area.

Do Not Use the Griddle Near Heat, Fire, or Electrical Outlets

Avoid using your propane-fuelled griddle near the fireplace, electrical kitchen appliances, and any other place with open flames.

Any tiny spark can cause the gas to explode and cause devastating damage to property and personal injuries.

Wrapping Up

It is possible to use a Blackstone Griddle indoors, but it is not recommended. Griddles produce latent grease vapors, which are highly flammable. They also use propane gas, which produces deadly carbon monoxide and can create a fire within your home.

Many do find it safe to use a Blackstone Griddle in a spacious, well-ventilated outdoor space but the risk is there to start a fire within your home. 

If you need any help with your outdoor kitchen, please feel free to give us a call or email – we are always happy to help!

 

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