Can you season a Blackstone with bacon?
Many cooks like to season cast-iron cookware and outdoor grills with bacon or bacon grease.
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They claim the bacon imparts a wonderful flavor and aroma to any food cooked on the grill, in a way other oils or fats used in the seasoning process cannot match.
Certainly, using bacon or bacon grease is an old-fashioned way of seasoning griddles and cookware.
While you definitely could use bacon or bacon grease to season a new Blackstone griddle, the truth of the matter is you probably shouldn’t. After initially seasoning a Blackstone grill using one of the recommended cooking oils or fats, you might use carefully selected organic or natural bacon or bacon grease to renew the seasoning or maintain it.
Why you might or might not use bacon to season a Blackstone griddle.
Using bacon or bacon grease to season cookware is a long-standing tradition handed down by our grandparents and great-grandparents.
They had few other choices for cooking fats, and bacon was probably the best choice available at the time. Bacon used in seasoning a griddle might enhance flavors as well.
The drawback to using bacon is that it is not a uniform product like lard, vegetable shortening or liquid cooking oils.
Modern processed bacon contains nitrites and other chemical additives and preservatives, and it might contain sugars as well.
These chemicals do not behave like oils or fats when heated, and as a result, the seasoning of your new grill may be uneven.
Any sugars found in the bacon will not season the grill when heated by providing a smooth, polymerized coating that protects the surface. Instead, the sugars will caramelize and bake onto the surface.
The end result will be a rough, sticky surface which is not protected from rust.
A better plan would be to season the griddle properly using oils or fats recommended by the manufacturer.
For subsequent seasonings, you might consider using bacon or bacon grease which is certified natural or organic. These products should contain no sugars or additives, although you still need to read the package carefully.
Does Blackstone recommend using bacon to season a griddle?
Blackstone recommends against using bacon or bacon grease to season your new griddle. Instead, the instruction manual provided with the grill lists many different choices for seasoning a new griddle.
To understand the reason behind the recommendation, let’s think about the reason for seasoning cookware to begin with, and the seasoning process.
Seasoning a griddle involves heating the griddle, and then rubbing the entire surface with a thin coating of cooking oil or solid fat.
The heated oil or fat undergoes a chemical reaction, in which the oil molecules form long chains which adhere to the surface of the griddle.
The final result is that the new coating of oil forms a protective surface, which enables food to slide off easily after cooking, and which protects the metal of the griddle from rust.
The seasoning process depends on using a uniform product.
Any additives or impurities in the oil or cooking fat will not react in the same way, and the surface coating will be uneven. This defeats the whole process of seasoning the griddle to begin with.
What oils or fats should I use to season the griddle?
The instruction manual for the Blackstone grill suggests several possible choices for seasoning your new grill.
Olive oil, vegetable or soybean oil, canola oil, coconut oil and sesame oil are all listed as suitable liquid oil. Lard and vegetable shortening are listed as suitable solid cooking fats.
These products are all uniform throughout, and contain no chemical impurities which would affect the seasoning process.
While Blackstone recommends specific types of oil or solid fats, other possibilities exist which should also work. The listed oils and fats all have smoke points between 350 and 450 F.
This is a temperature high enough to season the griddle properly, but not so high as to be a temperature too hot for the grill to reach easily. Peanut oil is not on the list, but has similar properties to the oils listed.
Our ancestors had very few choices other than bacon or bacon grease to season griddles and cookware. The custom of using bacon began, and we maintain it today without thinking of the reason behind it.
Also, we forget that the bacon our grandparents and great-grandparents used was a very different product from the product we have today.
It had a much higher fat content, and it lacked sugar and chemical additives. At the time, bacon was probably the best choice available to season cast iron cookware.
Today there are many different and better choices for seasoning a new Blackstone griddle, and so the manufacturer’s recommendations should probably be followed.
This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of bbqdropout.com. Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.
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