For me, when it came time to buy a griddle the size was the biggest question mark. The rest was easy.
If you’re anything like me, you’re scouring the internet for any nugget of wisdom that will help you decide to choose the less expensive, smaller, more portable 28″. Otherwise, you’ve probably already purchased the 36″ version.
Most of the internet seems to think you’re crazy if you pick anything but the biggest and best. Before my purchase, I read many “Should I get” threads on forums, and saw all the hyper confident “36 or bust” comments. Apparently it’s inevitable that for any purchase, you’ll wind up with the biggest model offered by any brand in the end.
I want to share why I picked 28″, my understanding of the differences, and my thoughts on cooking with the 28″ model after two years of use.
Let’s start with some facts.
28″ specs from Blackstone.com
- 34,000 BTUs of Heat from Two H-Style Burners
- 448 Sq. Inch Cooking Surface
- Rolled Carbon 10-Gauge Steel Griddle Top
- 2 Adjustable Heat Controls with Built-in Igniter
Price in the wild: $175-$275 (depending on season and specs)
36″ specs from Blackstone.com
- 60,000 BTUs of Heat from Four Burners
- 720 Sq. Inch Cooking Surface
- Rolled Carbon 7-gauge Steel Griddle Top
- 4 Adjustable Heat Controls with Built-in Igniter
Price in the wild: $275-$500 (depending on season and specs)
- The equivalent 36″ model is usually about $100-$200 more than the 28″ model.
- The steel on the 36″ model is thicker gauge. In theory that will retain heat better, for a crustier sear, as well as holding enough heat to blacken a whole pile of food.
- The thicker steel, and more burners required will cause you to go through more propane. Based on the BTU capacity, you’ll use about twice as much.
- The height of the cooking surface on the 36″ is taller, making for a more comfortable cooking experience. I can’t find the exact specs (I will research and update this), but the reason the 28″ is shorter is that the legs have to fold up, so it is constrained to that height of legs.
- Strangely Blackstone says the 28″ model fits more steaks than the 36″ model. I don’t think they meant that.
Now for the subjective reality: I’ve found the 28″ Blackstone to be entirely adequate, and life changing.
I tend to be a minimalist, and I try to be a realist. I try to use the solution that uses the least amount of resources to satisfy the actual requirements (not just things I feel like would be nice). In this case my requirements are this:
- Big enough size to cook a full meal for my family of 7 (five kids). This means 10+ burgers, or brats and veggies, or any other various combination of things.
- Small enough to be out of the way when not in use.
- Tall enough to be comfortable to cook on.
- hot enough to get a great sear.
And the reality is: I’m on the fence. I think the 28″ is worth far more than its $175 price tag. If I were to make the purchase today, I would buy the version called “Griddle Station with hood”. And I’d again be conflicted between getting the $500 36″ version, and the $275 28″ version. If I had to guess, I would predict I’d again end up with the 28″ version. If I had someone buying it for me, I’d take the 36″ version. If I were spending my own money, I’d buy the 28″ version. It’s an easy choice. At $275 It’s far superior to every grill in its price range.