Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 Kabob Charcoal Grill & Smoker Review
When they are done right, kabobs, or kebabs are a thing of beauty. With the right prep system, they can be easy to make, and certainly impress dinner guests. Depending on what you are offering they also allow diners to customize what they want on their plate.
Still, Blackstone realizes that a grill that only does kabobs would be a little bit too much of a one trick pony. There are only so many skewers of meat and vegetables that a person can eat in a single week! That’s why they designed their 1620 3-in-1 grill to also work as a standard charcoal grill and even a small smoker.
The Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 has a built-in kabob rotisserie motor. Now, this isn’t the kind of rotisserie that you might think of for say slow roasting a chicken. Instead, it is a series of grooves that custom skewers slot into. It then rotates them consistently over the fire to make sure that each side receives the same amount of heat.
It comes with 11 special skewers that measure in at 23-inches long. You also need to bear in mind that the kabob rotisserie motor is electric, and it will require a standard outdoor outlet.
When you want to use it as a grill, it has an adjustable charcoal tray, as well as a front access door. This allows you to stoke the fire or restock it for a longer grilling session.
With the charcoal tray set all the way down, and a fire built on one side, you can also use it as an improvised smoker. If you set it up just right, you could easily smoke a modest-sized pork shoulder or a couple of racks of ribs.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
For the most part, the Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 is made from quality materials. The bottom of the fire box is a little bit thin, which would be an issue if it wasn’t for the pull-out ash tray helping to prevent firebox burnout. The cart base is stout and keeps everything tied together nicely.
One minor miss with the Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 is that the cast iron grates for grilling don’t come with a porcelain protective coating. This means you need to season them before you start grilling and take the time to maintain their seasoning layer after pretty much every use. Left unprotected they can be very sticky and are also prone to corrosion issues over time.
The kabob rotisserie motor right out of the box works very well. Yet like a lot of things with rotating and moving parts, hey can start to wear down and make noise as time goes on. One way to reduce the chances of this happening is to carefully lubricate each of the slots with a little spray graphite. Just a tiny drop or two every month should keep things running smoothly for years to come.
As you might expect the Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 takes a little more assembly than a traditional charcoal grill. You want to take your time installing the electric motor and all the related components. It would also be helpful to have another pair of eyes and hands during the assembly process. With some basic tools and the virtue of a little patience, you should be able to assemble the Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 in about two hours.
There are three ways to think of this grill. As a kebob grill, a standard charcoal grill, and as a smoker. Each requires its own basic configuration.
As a Kabob grill, you want the firebox up high to impart maximum heat and searing. While the cliché kabob is a skewer of mixed meats and vegetables, it’s not the ideal way to prepare them. When everything is mixed on one skewer you tend to get some things that are overcooked and some that are undercooked. Depending on what they are it can leave you with strange textures. Or in the case of something like underdone chicken, it could make you sick.
The best method is to set up each ingredient with its own dedicated skewer. All beef on one, all peppers on another, all onion pieces together. This allows you to place foods at different times to cook them through to perfection. Hard vegetables first, followed by softer vegetables and meats like chicken that need to be cooked until they are well done. The last thing would be fast cooking proteins like shrimp and chunks of beef.
As a grill, it does everything you’d expect. The ability to move the charcoal grate up is nice for things that benefit from a quick sear before finishing them over medium to low heat.
The smoker configuration is where the Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 is a little lacking. Its not quite big enough to let you smoke large quantities of meat. Even with the charcoal grate all the way down and fire set on one side, you can only really smoke a single pork shoulder, or perhaps a large butterflied chicken.
Depending on the configuration you set it up for, the Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 can prepare up to 11 kabob skewers or 600 square inches of grill grate space.
The kabob rotisserie motor is a nice feature and one that is somewhat unique in the world of grilling.
Ease to Clean
The configuration you use will influence how much work it takes to clean the Blackstone 1620 3-in-1. If you set it up as a smoker, I recommend placing an aluminum foil drip pan directly under the meat. This will spare you cleaning up drippings and things like caramelized marinade.
The grill grates are made from cast iron, but they don’t have a porcelain coating. This means you are going to end up doing a lot of scraping with a metal grill brush. Coating the grates with vegetable shortening or flax seed oil when they are still hot will help maintain the seasoning layer.
The Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 comes with a 90-day limited warranty which is less than what you find for other charcoal grills in this class.
The Blackstone 1620 3-in-1 takes an innovate swing at grilling with the integrated Kabob rotisserie. Just take the time to maintain the smooth function of the motor, and make sure you maintain the seasoning layer on the grill grates.
While it can be used as a smoker, you shouldn’t plan to smoke a high volume of meat.
- Integrated kabob rotisserie motor
- 11 custom skewers
- Ability to grill and smoke
- Front access door and adjustable charcoal tray
- Subpar warranty compared to competitors
- Cast iron grates need to be maintained
- Not that good of a smoker