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Additions to My Arsenal


everytrueson
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Hi,

 

I am finally taking the time to build an outdoor kitchen...really more of a grilling station.  No sink, fridge, etc..., but a built in place to cook and eat.  Oh...and drink fresh beer on tap from my keezer!

 

I have a Kamado Joe Classic II and a Big Joe II that I plan to incorporate into the space.  I have a cheap offset stick burner that will sit near the space.  I haven't used a stick burner before, but I got it for free and plan to work with it a little this summer.  If I like it, I will consider upgrading it (LSG is calling to me).

 

So my question is, what other options should I consider adding?  Right now I'm planning to buy a griddle and a side burner of some sort, but there may be better options for me to consider, and I'm asking for your insight on that.  The space I have to work with is 13 feet long, and I plan to lay it out from left to right - griddle, side burner, countertop work space, KJ Classic, KJBJ.  I will have electricity at the spot as well.

 

I have a couple of great pizza places close by, so I'm not considering a pizza oven at this time.  If I decide to head down that rabbit hole, I will likely build a stand alone cement and brick oven.  Don't tell my wife!

 

I would welcome any thoughts on other things I should consider instead the griddle and/or side burner.  I'm particularly curious if those of you that have a side burner use it very much. 

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+2 for the CampChef. I have the 2 burner explorer model with the 14" pro griddle and grease trap. That fits over one of the burners so I can use the griddle and a burner at the same time. You never mentioned how many people is in your family. I think you can get a full size griddle that covers both burners. 

 

If you can live without the side burner a 3 Burner Blackstone Pro griddle is awesome. I defiantly use that all the time. Not too big but not too small. Best standalone griddle in my opinion. 

 

 

 

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Appreciate the input, all!  I have been leaning towards the Camp Chef if I go the griddle route.  In particular the FTG 600 which is around 32" wide, and has both the griddle and the grill top with it.  It looks like it's all or none with the standard top (all griddle or all grill), but there are other options.  

 

I'm starting to wonder if a gas grill with a griddle insert wouldn't be a better option.  I'm thinking the grill could serve as a quick hit if I don't want to wait for the kamados to come to temp (parish the thought) and with a lid it could serve as a warming/holding oven, which a flat top grill can't do.  

 

Family is four adults with both kids having significant others, so call it 4-6.  We are doing more entertaining, and I'm building for the long term (buy once, cry once) so groups of 10-15 will be more common.  Two or three times a year will be 30+.  

 

Thanks again, and keep the thoughts coming. 

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@everytrueson

 

I run a modified GrillGrate setup (with multiple grate panels and a griddle panel) on my Weber Summit S-420. It’s handy, but not ideal for griddle cooking. There is no good grease or liquid management system with my setup. And my husband, who like to run things full throttle, warped the griddle panel running too high heat under it.  

 

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I do, however, use it as you mentioned for an occasional quick cook or as a warming oven.

 

My thought is that if you think you will use the griddle a lot, I wouldn’t try to multitask a gas grill for this purpose as it really isn’t well suited for the job. 
 

 

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Appreciate the input, Kismet.  It is the grease management that has me hesitant to go that route.  I guess what I need to do is determine if I will use the gas grill more or the griddle more, and let that decide for me.  Or maybe...I can find a way to fit both.  Hmm...

 

Also, can we talk about how ingenious your skewer is?!?

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1 hour ago, everytrueson said:

 

Also, can we talk about how ingenious your skewer is?!?

 


 

Lol... I think it’s called a Fire Wire.... and it is kind of a neat gadget. :)

 

You are right to be concerned with grease management. The struggle is real. I would have a full size Blackstone if I didn’t think I would be forced to live outside with it. I do have a smaller tailgate size Blackstone that I like a lot... But given the super windy area I live in, it doesn’t get a lot of use. 

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Grease management is not hard. I line my grease cup with aluminum foil. Afterward all I have to do is carefully pull the foil out and throw it all away. Blackstone and CampChef makes disposable grease cup liners but they are a little pricey since I use my griddles often.  My homemade foil liners are cheap and work just as well. 

 

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6 hours ago, everytrueson said:

Would you swap the full size Blackstone for the Weber?  Why or why not?


I wouldn’t swap them. I would have a family mutiny on my hands if I got rid of the gasser. It serves a purpose for a quick cook and the griddle isn’t a very viable option a good part of the year here between the wind and rather unpleasant winters we have. I might think differently if I lived in a milder climate that wasn’t a wind tunnel.  
 

And I am definitely not a minimalist when it comes to outdoor cooking kit. I would have to take a few minutes and utilize both the fingers and the toes to count up my arsenal.  I would rather have both and use the one most suited to the task at hand, but that’s just me. 
 

Agree with ckreef that grease management is a non issue on something designed for it.  I have no issues with my Blackstone, but it’s a mess on my griddle panel on the gasser.  

When reviewing the Camp Chef product line have you looked at their modular systems that work with their camp stoves?  I wasn’t sure from your original reply on that if you were looking at that specific realm of their product line or not. Their grill boxes do have a lid. If you haven’t looked at those, you would want to look at their stove systems and accessories as opposed to their flat top grills. That would give you the various configuration options in addition to your side burner. 

 

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CampChef makes two different griddles for their stove systems. Also different sizes. The regular griddle is just flat with edges. The Pro griddle has a front grease channel and you can get a grease cup for it. I like their stove systems but might not be adequate enough for larger gatherings. 

 

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I am also a Camp Chef fan. I have their Flat Top 600 and it's been a great griddle. The only grease drain problem, with the front drain channel, is it will load up from cooking residue, like when doing a large batch of burgers and tend to block the drain hole. You just need to be aware and scrape it once in a while and everything will be fine. I like the fact that I can just take the top off and I have a conventional gas grill. It's like getting 2 grills for the price of one.

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More great advice.  Thanks. 

 

I've looked a little bit at the Camp Chef stove systems, but those seem to me to be a bit of "jack of all trades, master of none" solution.  I only have about 13 linear feet and the two KJs are going to take up almost 5 feet of that.  The remaining 8 feet really doesn't leave room for both a dedicated gasser and a griddle and still have adequate work space.  

 

Hmmm...maybe build the grill in and then get the portable FTG 600 to set up on the counter or on the patio when I want to use it, and keep it on the camper when I don't.  Again, I think the decision I need to make is which one I will use more.

 

I've read up on the grease drain issues with the camp chef.  If I choose to build it in, I have plans to modify the drain system that I think will help...including increasing the size of the drain hole.

 

And back to my original question...Is there something I should be considering that I am not?

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So...the more I think about it, the more I think the dedicated griddle is the way to go.  Hear me out and please tell me if you think I'm off base.  

 

For anything that needs to be smoked, cooked on the rotisserie, or two-zone type cooks I will rely on the kamados.  None of those are "quick hits", and I have some cast-iron griddle and grate options there as well.  

 

That leaves those quick hit items like burgers, dogs, brats, grilled chicken breast, veggies, etc, etc...  All can be done, and done well on a griddle.  For the rare occasions I need more warming/holding capacity than a cambro can manage, I have a double oven inside.  That eliminates the real advantage that I think I would be getting from a gas grill...I THINK.  Ha!  I'm not usually this indecisive.  But I think this is a good plan.  Plus, I think I can eliminate the side burner and use some of the real estate on the griddle to warm sauces and such in a pot.  Yeah...sounds like the right plan.

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