When it comes to gas fired griddles the standard choice has been between Blackstone and Camp Chef. If you do your shopping at Lowes then you might have noticed a new player in the griddle market, Blue Rhino. This review is going to give a quick rundown for the full size and portable versions.
For those of you short on time the short version is do NOT buy a Blue Rhino griddle. Life is too short to help asshole companies make money.
Let’s start by taking a look at the full sized four burner model. This griddle has 730 square inches of grilling space and is pretty much at the same price as the Blackstone 36 inch.
Hey…do you see that red ring around the last knob on the right? Remember that…I want to tell you about that knob later.
This looks and feels like a solid griddle. One feature that I love is that the griddle comes with a built in folding metal cover that opens up to provide two massive side tables.
I checked the space between the two sides of the cover when it was closed and it looked TIGHT. You might get some water coming through when it rains but I sure as heck couldn’t see how. The latches on the front and back of the lid makes sure the fit is snug.
The burners are interesting and can provide 62,000 BTU/hr of heat.
You have three standard burners on the right of the grill each rated for 14,000 BTU/hr and a 20,000 BTU/he semi-circular burner on left side of the grill. The sheet of metal under the burners on the right of the grill is a heat shield to protect the propane tank and tubing. The semi-circular burner was included to accommodate the placement of the grease drain cup.
The grease drainage system is highly functional but has one minor issue. The grease collection cup is medium sized and will fill up quick if you are cooking for a LOT of people. You will need to keep an eye on your grease levels to make sure you don’t get an overflow.
The griddle has two large plastic wheels and two locking caster wheels.
By having wheels on all four legs the Blue Rhino griddle is easy to move but will be next to impossible to level out if you are cooking on an uneven surface.
Blue Rhino also makes a single burner portable gas griddle that looks to be equivalent to the Blackstone 17.
While the Blackstone 17 has a single burner that branches into an H configuration and heats the center of the griddle the Blue Rhino has an oval burner that circles the outer section of the griddle.
I can’t tell you which better burner configuration is better and I would be surprised if you would notice much performance difference between them. The circular burner is very similar to what you get on the Weber Q2200 and that works pretty well.
All in all the Blue Rhino griddles look pretty nice and I can understand why folks are going to buy them.
But before you go out and buy one of these griddles I want you to know that Blue Rhino thinks that YOU are a Chump.
In 2008 Blue Rhino conspired with AmeriGas Propane Exchange to give you less propane for the same price. Instead of filling your 20 pound tank to the industry standard of 17 pounds they decided to only fill to 15 pounds while keeping the price the same.
Let’s be perfectly clear…if you bought a tank of propane between 2008 and 2014 then chances are that you got a screwing compliments of Blue Rhino.
Please do NOT give this shithole of a company any more money.
Ans speaking of crap….do you remember that red burner knob from above? Blue Rhino calls that a Sear Burner. Makes it sound king of special, right?
There is absolutely NOTHING different about the actual burner. This is the burner that sits over the metal heat shield protecting the propane tank. The heat shield reflects heat back up and makes the right side of the griddle run hotter than the left side. In engineering terms this is called a design flaw. Blue Rhino decided to put lipstick on a pig and called it a Sear Burner feature.
Please, do everyone a favor and take a pass on these griddles. Go with Blackstone or Camp Chef instead.