CharGriller Flat Iron Premium Four-Burner Griddle

RayClem

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2022
Messages
1,208
Reaction score
1,009
Points
113
Location
Chicago suburbs
Grill
Ironwood 885, Char-Griller Flat Iron Premium griddle, InkBird Sous Vide
I have been looking at flat top griddles for a while to use alongside my Traeger Ironwood 885 and Inkbird Sous Vide circulator. I was seriously considering the new Traeger Flatrock griddle, but few stores have them in stock. Many places have them on backorder. At $899, they are more expensive that many competitive grills.

My local Menard's store carries Char-Griller smokers, grills, and griddles. The griddle that most interested me was model 8536 which lists for $499. Menard's had it on sale for $449 and with the 11% rebate, the net price is $399. After seeing the griddle, I immediately made my purchase.


Since I am a senior citizen with arthritic fingers and limited strength and mobility, it took me about 4 hours to assemble the grill. Ten years ago, my wife and I could have easily accomplished the task in about 2 hours, so do not let my experience deter you from considering it.

Reasons I purchased this model of Flat Iron Premium griddle:

1. This is a large griddle with 775 sq inches of cooking space and four straight burners. The Flatrock is only 594 sq inches with three u-shaped burners. Both griddles should be able to reach temperatures around 600F, but I won't do my burn-off and seasoning until later today.

2. Both griddles have rolled steel cooking surfaces so they can be used with metal utensils, but need to be seasoned. The Pit Boss Ultimate series has a ceramic coated cooking surface which does not require seasoning, but cannot be safely used with metal utensils. Some will prefer one, some might prefer the other.

3. One of my primary criteria was having the grease removal trap in the front as my griddle is located on an elevated deck and I did not want to have to reach behind the griddle to dispose of grease like the Blackstone griddle. Both the Flat Iron and the Flat Rock have easily accessible grease traps on the front.

4, I live in the suburbs of the "Windy City" of Chicago. Although the name actually refers to the crazy political system of the city, we get our share of windy days. Thus, I wanted a griddle with wind shields. The Flat Iron Premium and Flatrock are the only griddles I have found that are designed with shields. For other griddles you have to use either aftermarket or DIY solutions.

5. The Flat Iron Premium has a built-in hinged cover similar to the Flatrock. I have seen some griddles with removeable lids. I have seen some griddles with lids attached by a pivot, but I like the smooth operation of the hinged lid.

6. The Flat Iron Premium has a partial enclosed cabinet with doors. I prefer this to the bottom shelf of the Flatrock.

7. Both griddles have large side shelves that fold down. The Flat Iron includes tool hooks, a paper towel holder, and a condiment tray. Flatrock has the Pop and Lock system for accessories, but you have to pay extra for tool hooks, condiment trays, and towel rack on top of an already expensive griddle.

8. Another thing I like is that the cooking surface of the Flat Iron Premium is higher than most griddles. It is even slightly higher than normal counter height. You do not have to bend over to cook on this thing.

9, The gas control knobs on the Flat Iron griddle provide for a full 180 degrees of rotation between HI and LO. Many griddles have only 90 degrees of rotation for control.

10. The igniter on the Flat Iron is powered by a single AA battery. Each burner has its own igniter spark. I checked them before placing the steel top on the griddle. They were all properly adjusted, something that I have heard can be an issue on some griddles. The Flat Iron also provides 1 inch holes in each side of the burner assembly such that the outermost burners can be ignited using a butane torch should the igniter fail at an inopportune moment. Once the outer burners are ignited, the inner burners should ignite as well. There are some holes in the front of the Flat Iron that allow you to see if the burners are ignited properly.
The Flatrock is powered by 110V normally, but I believe there is a battery backup as well. It is about 25 feet from my electrical outlet to the location of my griddle and an extension cords might become a trip hazard. Thus, for me the battery igniter is ideal. Of course, the Flat Iron does not contain some of the bells and whistles of the Flatrock such as the electonic scale for propane level and the flame sensors, but I can see the flames on the Flat Iron so there is no need for the fancy flame sensors. In-line propane pressure gauges are inexpensive and provide similar utility.

11. So far, I am quite pleased with the design, features, and build quality of the Flat Iron Premium griddle This afternoon, I will do the burn-in and seasoning of the griddle. If all goes well, I plan to cook Japanese hibachi chicken, fried rice and vegetables on the griddle for tonight's dinner.

I will provide further feedback in this thread as I gain experience using the Flat Iron. I have no intention of slacking off my use of my my Ironwood for low and slow, but I am hoping the griddle will replace my gas grill so I can remove it from the deck.
 
I just finished my burn-in and seasoning of the Flat Iron griddle. There was a breeze blowing, which was great for extracting the fumes from the seasoning.The breeze did not affect the flames. I used a temperature of 550F for the seasoning which corresponded to Medium-High on the knobs. I have no doubt the griddle can hit 600F if needed, but I doubt I will ever get it that high. Even at 550F it melted the microfiber cloth I was trying to use to spread conditioner on the griddle. So I caution you to wear cotton, wool or leather when working around the griddle if you have the heat turned up. Even silicone is usually rated for a maximum of 500F.

The temperature uniformity was pretty good as measured by an IR thermometer. As expected, the extreme right and left edges were cooler as was a six inch strip near the front of the grill. If the front edge is super hot, there is a greater chance of getting burned, so I am fine with the way it is.

I applied a total of six layers of seasoning. Four were Flat Iron Griddle Conditioner which blends oils and waxes. It is similar to the Blackstone conditioner. Then I did two thin coats of peanut oil since that is what I normally use for frying/griddling. The surface is now a deep black and has the appearance of a cast iron pan after years of use. It should be good to go.

I understand that with some griddles the issue is not getting it hot enough to sear, but getting it to run at a lower temperature for cooking eggs and other delicate tasks. I turned all the knobs to low and let the griddle cool until the temperature stabilized. Under those conditions, the temperature was 375-400F across the main part of the griddle. That is ideal for cooking pancakes, bacon, and many other items. But it might be a little hotter than desired for eggs. The edges of the griddle were around 300F. If I turn one burner completely off, the heat transfer from the hotter areas of the griddle will produce a suitable temperature for eggs. I understand that is a common work-around for many griddles.

Temperatures hit 60F here in Chicagoland this afternoon, so it is an ideal evening to inaguarate the griddle cooking tonight's dinner.
 
Congratulations on your new griddle. I know you’re going to find many uses for it. I actually seen one (not sure of the model) at Home Depot a couple weeks ago. I like the front grease chute and the pull out grease tray. It appears to be very similar to the Blackstone as far as the frame and burners are. I use mine weekly and love it.
 
Nice score. If you have already get a AA lithium battery for the igniter. They don’t leak.
 
For dinner last night, I cooked hibachi chicken, fried rice and grilled vegetables on the Flat Iron. It was rather breezy at dinner time so the wind shields came in handy. It was a tasty meal.

Since the grill was well seasoned, clean-up was not difficult, even though I used some sticky Bachan Japanese BBQ sauce for seasoning the rice. I set the temperature to medium-low for the cook.

One thing I learned is that I have some serious muscle memory skills to master. I can handle a spatula and skillet on the stove with ease. However, I am not used to handling two large griddle spatulas on a large, hot surface. I have seen Japanese teppanyaki chefs who use one spatula and a grilling fork rather than two spatulas, so I might try that method as well. I understand that it takes about six months for an teppanyaki chef to learn basic skills, so I cannot expect overnight results.

For Easter Sunday, I am having Smithfield hickory-smoked ham that I smoked a second time on the Traeger using Competition blend pellets. I will grill some asparagus spears on the Flat Iron.

We often have breakfast foods on Sunday evening, so I will try sausage and eggs on the griddle. Since they require different cook temperatures, that will give me a chance to work with temperature zones.
 
One thing I learned is that I have some serious muscle memory skills to master. I can handle a spatula and skillet on the stove with ease. However, I am not used to handling two large griddle spatulas on a large, hot surface. I have seen Japanese teppanyaki chefs who use one spatula and a grilling fork rather than two spatulas, so I might try that method as well. I understand that it takes about six months for an teppanyaki chef to learn basic skills, so I cannot expect overnight results.
Yes, that takes a little practice, but not 6 months! Not sure what spatulas you are using, but the Flat Top King recommends using light ones for this reason:
 
It definitely takes a little thinking ahead and practice but I think everyone finds their own ways too. I do the fried rice and hibachi chicken, steak and veggies often. I find the teriyaki sauce coats the griddle with a sticky mess so I pour some water on the griddle and scrape over it then use a rag that i push over the surface with a long handled spatula (careful, the steam will burn you) and scrub it off. The heat will dry the water quickly but it really cleans it up good.
 
Yes, that takes a little practice, but not 6 months! Not sure what spatulas you are using, but the Flat Top King recommends using light ones for this reason:

Yes. When I got the griddle, I picked up the Char-Griller starter kit which includes two spatulas, a griddle scraper, and a couple of squeeze bottles which I use for oil and water. The spatulas are far too large and heavy for comfortable use, although I loved the handles for my XL-sized hands. My wife complains every time I wash them and place them in the dish drainer to dry. The edges are sharp enough to cut you. That is not good.

I do enjoy the Flat Top King videos produced by Neal and Amy. I enjoy the honesty of their videos, even once leaving in a part when his zipper was at half staff. Most YouTubers would have cut that out.

I came across the spatula video yesterday and have already placed an order for one of his his "gold standard" spatulas from New Star Foodservice. Hopefully, I will find it more comfortable to use. If so, I will order a second one. I got the plain steel blade this time. For the second, I might get one with holes, even though Neal says they are not necessary.

I know there are also slotted spatulas for use with fish, but I have not yet decided if I am going to cook fish on the Traeger or on the Flat Iron. I like the flavor of smoked fish, especially when cooked on cedar plants. I just wish wild caught salmon and other fish weren't so expensive.
 
It definitely takes a little thinking ahead and practice but I think everyone finds their own ways too. I do the fried rice and hibachi chicken, steak and veggies often. I find the teriyaki sauce coats the griddle with a sticky mess so I pour some water on the griddle and scrape over it then use a rag that i push over the surface with a long handled spatula (careful, the steam will burn you) and scrub it off. The heat will dry the water quickly but it really cleans it up good.

I have used a carbon steel skillet for the past year. It did not take me long to learn that adding a little water to the skillet over low heat was the best way to remove residue left from cooking. Thus, I am using that same technique to clean up the griddle followed by a light coat of peanut oil.
 
What is important for spatulas, at least for me, is if they can "stand" on their own when sitting on the griddle. I like to rest mine when not in use and if the handle is too top heavy, they won't lay flat on the griddle.

If that makes sense!
 
My New Star Foodservice spatula receommended by the Flat Top King just arrived. I have not used it yet, but I can already tell that I am going to like it far better than the Char-griller spatulas. It is smaller, lighter, has a good handle, has medium flexibility, and the edges won't cut me and should not damage the grill seasoning. I can understand why Neil recommends this product so highly.

Tonioght I plan hamburgers with grilled onions and topped with melted cheese on toasted Brioche buns. I am also going to fry up some potato patties from leftover garlic mashed potatoes.

It looks like this will be a nice warm week in Chicagoland with temperatures in the 70s. Thus, I plan to give both the Traeger and the Char-Griller a workout this week with excess going into the freezer.
 
My New Star Foodservice spatula receommended by the Flat Top King just arrived. I have not used it yet, but I can already tell that I am going to like it far better than the Char-griller spatulas. It is smaller, lighter, has a good handle, has medium flexibility, and the edges won't cut me and should not damage the grill seasoning. I can understand why Neil recommends this product so highly.

Tonioght I plan hamburgers with grilled onions and topped with melted cheese on toasted Brioche buns. I am also going to fry up some potato patties from leftover garlic mashed potatoes.

It looks like this will be a nice warm week in Chicagoland with temperatures in the 70s. Thus, I plan to give both the Traeger and the Char-Griller a workout this week with excess going into the freezer.
Pics please
 
Pics please
I will try to remember. I hate taking pics with the camera on my cell phone and then having to SMS them to my email account to I can download them to my computer for subsequent attachment to forum posts. When doing griddle cooks, things move quickly, so it is easy to forget photos.
 
I take them on my phone then post them here. I don’t use a computer hardly at all anymore. Sad thing is the smart phones are smarter than me!🤣
 
I take them on my phone then post them here. I don’t use a computer hardly at all anymore. Sad thing is the smart phones are smarter than me!🤣

Having used computers since 1968, I love them. However, I only use cell phones when absolutely necessary. I love email, but hate text messaging. Although the 1st cell phones were invented by Motorola here in the Chicago area in 1973, it was not until this century that smartphones as we now know them were available to the public. The first iPhone came out in 2007 and the first Android phone came out in 2008. They are relatively recent inventions.

I do have cordless phones all over my house. No matter where I am in my home, I am never more than 25 ft from a cordless phone. I ditched my POTS landline for a VoIP line, so I am not a communication neandrethal. But I only carry my cell phone with me when I leave home (if I remember to take it with me). If my cell phone rings, I rarely answer as I seldom give out my cell phone number. Probably 90% of the calls I get on my cell phone are robo-dialed spam.

One thing that drives me up a wall is that many online accounts now want you to use 2FA using text messaging to cell phones. If I need to log into such accounts, I have to go find my cell phone as I never carry it on my person while at home. For most folks, that method of 2FA is convenient, but it is not for me.
 
Back
Top