Camp Chef Gridiron Is the Outdoor Griddle of Your Dreams


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The best grills see trends come and go. First came charcoal grills, which gave way to easier-to-use, propane-pumping gas grills, then the set-it-and-forget-it simplicity of pellet grills. But these cookers can’t match the versatility of an outdoor griddle, which can serve up pancakes for breakfast, quesadillas for lunch, and brats for dinner. 

If you prefer a smashburger over a grilled one, then you know the power of griddling. If you need proof griddles are poised for takeoff, note both Weber and Traeger each released a version recently.

We put a slew of griddles to the test for this year’s Grilling Awards and Camp Chef Gridiron 36 came out on top. It has a seasoned top, clever grease management, notches on the cooktop sides to hold grill tools, and a hinged cover to trap heat and protect the griddle.

Read more of the greatest hits from our 2024 Grilling Awards, including the best portable grills, pellet grillssmokerspizza ovensgrill tools, plus pro tips on how to clean a grill, how to grill a steak, and where to find the best mail-order steaks.

Best Outdoor Griddle Overall: Camp Chef Gridiron 36 A quality cover on a griddle is key: I’ve had other griddles over the years that would leak, creating a trusty mess on the cooking surface that’s a pain to clean.

Sal Vaglica

Griddles have been around for years, though they’re mostly schlepped to campsites and tailgates. But the new Camp Chef Gridiron 36 commands as much presence on the patio as a high-end gas grill. The mostly matte black steel chassis has a few dashes of red trim around the knobs and handle, which looks handsome.

The Gridiron’s hood is a stand-out feature. It not only helps with trapping heat to create a steaming or convection effect, but it also protects the griddle surface. I’ve had other griddles over the years that would leak water through the cover leading to a rusty mess and while griddles can be brought back to life from a little rust, it’s the kind of chore I’d rather avoid.

Camp Chef Gridiron 36 Overall Impressions

The Gridiron’s four burners make it easy to carve the griddle into two heat zones. The burners ignite using pressure, not a battery like many push-button starters, so you won’t have to worry about changing that out. But I think to really get the most use out of this grill you’ll have to spring for the magnetic accessories, which range from $13 to $60. 

The squeeze bottle holder is almost mandatory considering how important fat is to what you’re cooking. While the side tables are generous, once you start crowding them with a roll of paper towels, a squeeze bottle of oil, salt ping, tongs, and a spatula, there isn’t much room to load on ingredients or take off cooked food.


  • Reliable ignition that doesn’t need batteries
  • Griddle arrives seasoned from the factory
  • Nice styling that looks hefty
  • Consistent heating across the griddle


  • Does not come with any magnetic accessories
  • The right shelf does not fold down because of the gas tank

Final Verdict

With the folding shelves providing ample countertop space and a griddle surface capable of hosting about 40 standard burgers, Camp Chef Gridiron 36 is a good fit for a large family or anyone who entertains. While I’m not giving up on my charcoal grill anytime soon, the gas-powered Gridiron is a great accompaniment for weeknight meals.

The styling is substantial and the griddle is solidly built, shying away from the rickety connotations you’ve had about these cookers in the past. I’d suggest spending a little extra on the cover, and some of the magnetic accessories like tool hooks, paper towel holder, and the squeeze bottle caddy.

Key Features and Tech

The four burners under the cold rolled steel top put out 48,000 BTUs total, which is in the middle range for a larger outdoor griddle. The Gridiron distinguishes itself with the bold styling and a pair of folding shelves. The tech upgrade here is the docks built into the shelves that are designed to hold onto magnetic accessories to hold tools.

Unlike previous Camp Chef griddles, the grease trap is concealed behind a door and kept out of site, which I appreciate. And users can level off the griddle surface without removing the heavy slab of steel—another design element that departs from older Camp Chef models.

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How I Tested Camp Chef Gridiron 36

The four burners under the cold rolled steel top put out 48,000 BTUs total, which is standard for Camp Chef. But max power doesn’t mean much if it’s not evenly distributed. To map the hot and cold spots I blanketed the 36 x 21-inch griddle with 40 slices of bread, and cranked the burners to high. The Gridiron’s temperature fluctuation was consistent: turning the toast dark within the three rows stretching across the very middle of the griddle. As expected, the top row, furthest away from me, and the one closest, was significantly lighter in color. In practice, this area can help act as a warm zone to hold cooked food like stacks of pancakes, strips of bacon, or fajita fixings.

I covered the griddle with 40 slices of bread and turned it to high to test if the cooking surface had consistent heat.

Sal Vaglica

When I took temperature readings of the surface with an infrared gun, I found highs of about 505 degrees and lows of 465 degrees, when the burners were on high heat for about 15 minutes. I moved on to cooking a pair of bone-in rib-eyes on the Camp Chef, starting by holding the pair together with tongs so the fatty edges rendered on the hot steel. This is a move most skip on a grill, but it adds delicious grease to the griddle surface, kind of frying the steak, but also turning that unappealing knob of fat into something crispy—if you render it long enough. From there we cooked them, flipping every two minutes, until they registered about 130 degrees and then we rested them until they hit 135. Cooking on the Camp Chef was as intuitive as standing in front of my range in the kitchen.

Cleanup is a big issue with griddling since the entire surface of the steel gets gunky and you need a plan to catch grease. The Camp Chef helps here with two details. The first is a pair of chunky, hex-head bolts on the underside of the Gridiron. Adjustable even while you’re cooking, with the included wrench, you have about 1 inch of vertical height to help level off the grill or, ideally, pitch it slightly so the grease rambles to the front.

The second is a cutout in the front of the griddle that leads to a chute, which directs the gunk to a grease bucket. That makes disposal a breeze and the bucket holds enough that you can clean the grill and squeeze the water into it and dump it all in one shot.

Notched corners on the sides of the griddle cooking area made my life easier by providing a safe spot to store my dripping spatula.

Sal Vaglica

But that’s not the only detail the griddle offers that makes life easier. On each corner, the steel is notched to accommodate a resting spatula or tongs that stay put even when the lid is closed. This is a nice touch and it prevents having to hang a hot spatula, which might drip grease onto the surface below.

A pair of 16 x 21-inch folding shelves are each dimpled with nine circles. Those recesses are designed to hold onto a series of magnetic accessories Camp Chef offers, including a paper towel holder, hooks to hang tools, and a two-squeeze bottle caddy. This can keep essentials close at hand—once you’ve experienced the ease of having squeeze bottles of oil, dressings, or hot sauce nearby there is no going back. My only knock here is the right shelf, situated above the propane tank, can’t fold down completely.

The caster wheels below make this 150-pound griddle easy to move around a patio and the bracing between the legs keeps the chassis quite stiff. The lid, which is a newer design element on griddles, can help with basics like melting cheese on a bunch of burgers or cheesesteaks, but it can also help keep the griddle surface clean between uses. While it will never replace the char charcoal brings, a griddle might just become your go-to for meals during the week while you work towards that big, weekend cookout.

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Who Should Buy the Camp Chef Gridiron 36

While this griddle is larger than most camp-style versions, or even the slab of metal you top your kitchen stove with, the Camp Chef Gridiron 36 isn’t so large it’s unmanageable. If you routinely cook for three or more people, this is a good size griddle to own and because the four burners allow for cooking on only one side, you can conserve fuel by only heating as much metal as you need for smaller meals.

A griddle is, obviously, not a grill so it will never offer that blacked char a hot flame provides. And while you can put a griddle over a grill, the space can be limiting. The Gridiron 36 has a few details that make this an easy-to-live-with grill: A seasoned top, clever and concealed grease management, notches to hold tools, and a cover to protect it all.

  • Cooking area: 700 square inches
  • Size: 31 x 69 x 40 inches
  • BTUs: 48,000
  • Fuel: Propane
  • Warranty: 1 year
$500 at dick's

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