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Should you season a Blackstone griddle with bacon grease?
While it is possible to season a Blackstone griddle with bacon grease, it is not recommended in the instruction manual provided with the griddle.
Despite this, many cooks continue to season griddles and cookware with bacon or bacon grease, both because it is customary to do so, and because seasoning with bacon or bacon grease might enhance the flavor and aroma of food cooked on the griddle, in a way that other oils or cooking fats cannot duplicate.
Although there are many liquid oils or cooking fats that are recommended in the instruction manual, if you still wish to season your Blackstone griddle with bacon or bacon grease, this article will provide advice on some points to consider.
When should you consider seasoning a Blackstone griddle?
A Blackstone griddle has an uncoated metal surface. Unlike cookware that already has a protective coating, uncoated steel or cast iron cookware or griddles need to be seasoned before use. After the initial seasoning process, you can and should renew the seasoning occasionally to maintain the protective coating that the seasoning deposits on the surface of the griddle.
An initial seasoning should consist of heating the griddle, and then applying four or five coats of oil or cooking fat to the hot surface of the griddle.
When you have finished, the griddle surface should have a uniform dull black color.
After the initial seasoning, you should occasionally add another coat of seasoning after use. Applying a single seasoning treatment of oil or cooking fat once a week should be sufficient, but it really depends on how often the grill is used.
If food begins to cling to the surface of the grill when cooked, that is a signal that the grill needs to have another seasoning coat applied. For these single seasonings, you can consider using carefully selected bacon or bacon grease.
What does seasoning a Blackstone griddle with bacon grease do?
In general, the term “seasoning” consists of the process of applying and heating several layers of cooking oil or fat to the surface of a piece of cast iron cookware or griddle before use.
The heated oil or fat undergoes a chemical process called “polymerization,” in which the individual particles of oil or fat link up in long chemical chains, which adhere to the surface of the pan or griddle.
This coating protects the surface of the cookware from rust, and it also provides a smooth, somewhat slippery surface that food will not cling to during cooking.
Seasoning is important both to extend the life of the griddle, and to assist cooking.
Modern bacon is a very different product from the bacon used by our grandparents. It contains sugars and additives like nitrites.
These chemicals react differently to heating, and will not undergo the polymerization process like oils or fats. Instead, sugars will caramelize and essentially bake onto the surface of the griddle.
Nitrites can also undergo chemical changes when heated, but they contribute nothing to the seasoning process. As a result, you may end up with an unevenly seasoned griddle surface.
The instruction manual for the Blackstone griddle lists several different cooking oils including vegetable or soybean oil, canola oil, coconut oil, and olive oil, as well as solids like lard and vegetable shortening. Any of these would be good choices for seasoning the griddle.
When selecting bacon to use for seasoning the griddle, look for an organic or natural bacon, with no added sugars, which is uncured.This should minimize the chemical additives in the bacon, and provide the best chance for seasoning correctly when using bacon grease.
How to season a Blackstone griddle with bacon grease
Seasoning a Blackstone griddle with bacon grease is similar to seasoning using other oils or cooking fats.
1. Remove the cover from the griddle using a screwdriver and wrench or pliers and set it aside.
You will want access to all parts of the cooking surface, including the inside and outside of the lip that runs around the edges of the griddle, and removing the cover gives access to the back.
2. Heat the griddle for 15 or 20 minutes until the surface begins to darken slightly.
3. Take two packages of bacon, and cook the bacon on the surface. The bacon grease should flow into the grease drain at the outer edge of the griddle, and then flow into the grease trap at the side of the griddle. The grease can be moved towards the drain using a spatula or other flat tool. Be careful never to touch the hot griddle with your hand.
4. Remove the bacon once cooked. Using a turkey baster, draw some of the bacon grease out of the grease trap at the side of the griddle, and deposit this back onto the surface of the griddle.
Using a cloth, held by grill tongs or an oven mitt, spread this grease evenly over the surface of the griddle, as well as the inside and outside of the lip surrounding the edge of the griddle.
Never hold the cloth in your bare hand near the hot surface of the grill. It should take 15 or 20 minutes for the bacon grease to polymerize and season the griddle surface.
5. Repeat this process four or five times until you have an even, dull black surface on your Blackstone griddle. Your griddle is now seasoned for the first time and ready for use.