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Smoked vs. Steamed Griddling

Smoked and steamed dishes might sound like those difficult recipes we watch on cooking shows where the hosts have a thousand utensils and a million dollar kitchen. But hey, we’re here to show you that you can prepare delicious smoked or steamed dishes in your backyard as early as today if you own one of our versatile griddles. But first things first: have you ever smoked up a dish? It’s slow cooking over an open fire - the smoke surrounds the food and adds a campfire flavor that is as distinct as it is delicious. And how about steaming? Ever boiled up water and let the vapor cook up some seafood or veggies? Moist and delicious. Griddles can do both. Don’t believe a Blackstone flat top can? Well, read up below and see for yourself.

What Is Smoking in Cooking?

Smoking is what the name says: cooking food with smoke. Any dish exposed for hours from smoke gets a different taste. And different materials - from wood to coal and even tea - give different flavors. Also, smoking preserves meals because of the antibacterial properties of the fumes. And it’s because of this antibacterial action that the cavemen were all into smoking their dishes. Also, they cooked inside the caves, so it would probably get smokey anyway. So, until the end of the middle ages, smoking had one goal only: preserve food. That means people weren’t worried about the different flavors - all they wanted was for their food not to rot. And salt was the way to go, with meats saltier than the Dead Sea. Later on, with the advent of technology to store meat without any rotting, people smoked more for the flavor. They experimented with different woods to check out how the smoke blended with the dish. And in the last century, smokers were invented to make it easier to smoke it up in your backyard. So, to keep things easy, what is smoking? Smoking is the process of cooking meat slowly with natural wood charcoal and smoke.

What Are the Best Things to Smoke Up?

Anything that burns and smokes up can flavor your meals. That doesn’t mean you should start smoking with carrots or potatoes though - be smart! Peat is burned to smoke up barley for whiskey. In China, some meals are smoked with rice, sugar, and tea over the fire. And up in icy Iceland sheep dung flavors up fish and lamb. But if you want to smoke it up on your griddle, we recommend sticking to wood. Here are some to try out:
  • Alder: Sweet and light. Best for salmon
  • Apple: Sweet and mild. Best for chicken and pork
  • Cherry: Fruity and mild. Best for poultry
  • Hickory: Sweet and strong - becomes bitter if overdone. Use lightly with pork, red meat, and poultry
  • Maple: Sweet and light. Best for poultry
  • Mesquite: Bulky, unique flavor - overpowers the flavor of the food. Use lightly with any red meat
  • Oak: Mild flavor. Use with brisket, beef, and sausages
  • Pecan: Sweet and strong. Best for brisket and ribs

How to Smoke It up on a Griddle

We know what you’re thinking: How the heck can you smoke meals on the griddle? There’s no open fire. Yeah, we know. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own flame on the flat top and get the same results you’d get on a grill. Check out our smoke hack: What you need:
  • Aluminum foil pan
  • Wood chips (pick the type you want)
  • Torch
  • Resting rack
Your choices to cover it up: Now this is what you do:
  1. Griddle up your dish on the flat top
  2. When it’s halfway done cooking, prepare your smoke hack
  3. Get your aluminum foil pan and fill it up with wood chips
  4. Now torch it up until it starts smoking
  5. Put the smoking pan onto the griddle beside the ingredients
  6. Cover it all up with a basting cover or aluminum foil deep pan
  7. Let the food cook for the rest of the time smoking

What Is Steaming in Cooking?

Steaming is cooking food with the power of steam. Know what kicked off the industrial revolution back in the day? That’s right - STEAMPOWER! If it can fuel trains across nations, it can definitely cook up your meals. And before the industrial revolution, the ancient Chinese cooked up dumplings in bamboo steamers. For steaming to work, the meal has to hang over the water and not touch it. Usually, this is done placing it on a tray over the boiling water. The benefits of steaming are that the food doesn’t get submerged in the water. That means no soggy ingredients, and they’re more nutritious - too much water can leach out nutrients from your dishes. And it keeps seafood moist and fresh. But, to make things short, what is steaming? It’s water heated up to 212°F that becomes vapor. And this vapor is hot - cooks up food with moisture and no sogginess.

What Are the Best Things to Steam Up on a Griddle?

Steaming is best for seafood and vegetables. It cooks up ingredients nicely and completely, making every bite moist and delicious. The juices stay all locked in, making for an even cook and tender dish. You can cook up chicken and pork too, as long as it’s finely chopped and diced. The Chinese and Japanese used steaming as their main cooking technique for centuries to keep meals nutritious and fresh. So why not take some inspiration and griddle up these ingredients:
  • Rice
  • Fish
  • Crab
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Prawns
And try out these veggies:
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Potato
  • Spinach
And finally, don’t forget what we at Blackstone love about steaming - getting cheese to melt all over patties for delicious burgers!

How to Steam It up on the Griddle?

Steaming up your meals on a flat top is plain easy. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be doing it. Really, steam up your meals now! Here’s what you need:
  • Basting Cover
  • Water
  • Resting Rack (for authentic steaming)
This is what you do:
  1. Throw water on your Blackstone griddle with a dispenser
  2. Wait for it to boil
  3. Put your ingredients on a resting rack on the griddle
  4. Cover it up with the basting cover
  5. Wait for the meals to cook up (or cheese to melt)
  6. Enjoy!

So, are you a steaming fan or a smoking aficionado? Drop us a comment telling us your favorite meals to steam or smoke up on the griddle.