Country Smokers CSGDL0590 The Highland 4-Burner Portable Griddle Review
Outdoor gas griddles are catching fire with their increasing popularity with people who love to sear meat in its own natural juices. Not to mention giving campers and tailgaters an effective way to make some of their favorite breakfast foods.
In the past, the problem was that to really be able to cook for a herd of people on a gas griddle, you needed a model that was too large to truly be portable. Though that didn’t keep the engineers and designers at Country Smokers from sharpening their pencils to create the Highland 4-Burner Portable Griddle.
With the Country Smokers Highland 4-Burner Portable Griddle, you get an outdoor gas griddle that is light enough to move from Point A to Point B. It weighs less than 50-pounds and can be carried by a single person or two people who each take an end. Yet it still gives you an impressive 597 square inches of flat top griddle space.
The griddle itself is made from cold-rolled steel, which is one of the ideal materials for a flat top. Though it also means you have to take the time to properly season it and maintain it. It’s also a wise idea to cover the Country Smokers Highland or store it indoors to protect the flat top from exposure to rain or pollen that could stick to the surface.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
For the most part, the material build quality on the Country Smokers Highland is good. Though there are a few minor complaints in the form of the grease management system being small and the port letting you divert the grease can be prone to clogging.
One of the other issues you might take with the Country Smokers Highland is the legs. While they are collapsible, which is great for portability, they are not adjustable. This means you will need to be thoughtful about placing it on a patch of ground that is pretty close to dead-level. Not such a big deal if you are tailgating, but it can be a real nuisance if you are camping at a rustic campsite with a dirt or gravel surface.
Assembling a portable gas griddle like the Country Smokers Highland is always going to take longer than a model that is meant to live in one tidy footprint on your deck. Taking extra time to securely tighten all the necessary fasteners, and recruiting a friend to help you, the Country Smokers Highland will still take less than an hour to fully put together.
The Country Smokers Highland comes with a steel griddle flat top that is lightly seasoned and coated with an organic plant-based oil. Maintaining this seasoning layer, and adding to it is critical for several reasons. Most importantly, it helps protect the underlying metal from rust and corrosion, which will affect the grill performance and the quality of the meat and other foods you make on it. It also helps accentuate the flavor potential of the griddle top, which will be cumulative in the long term.
The four independently controlled propane burner elements on the Country Smokers Highland will produce up to 11,000 BTUs of consistent heat per hour. Over the course of a long cooking session, this heat will inevitably spread out across the flat top’s surface. Though if you are only going to be grilling for half an hour or so, you could potentially set one side of the griddle on medium-low heat and another on high heat to create dual temperature zones.
The legs on the Country Smokers Highland are not adjustable, and depending on the surface you are setting up on, this can affect the grilling performance. If you are setting up on the ground or gravel, as you might find at a campsite, you should take the time to properly level the griddle out. This will go a long way toward keeping grease from pooling up in some places and leaving other places too dry. If you can’t get it properly leveled out, then you should do your best to set it up biased toward the griddle top’s grease management port.
The steel flat top griddle of the Country Smokers Highland offers an impressive 597 square inches of cooking space. This is at the very high end of what you will find in a portable gas griddle.
The steel griddle top itself is the most special feature of the Country Smokers Highland. This type of steel can be seasoned with a layer of non-stick hydrocarbons that deliver an increasing amount of flavor to the meat being cooked over time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to maintain the seasoning layer, and when in doubt, grill bacon on it.
Ease to Clean
All griddles are a labor of love to clean. Though this is especially true for making sure that you are properly maintaining the seasoning level on the Country Smokers Highland’s flat top steel griddle. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as closely as possible, and never clean the griddle top with soap and water.
You keep a close eye on the grease port to keep it clear of debris and flowing smoothly. This might call for clearing it out with a few carefully placed pokes with a grilling skewer when cleaning.
When you are done cleaning the griddle top, you pour out and wash the grease trap. Then make sure to cover and/or store the Country Smokers Highland indoors away from the elements. This will maintain the grill itself as well as the seasoning layer on the steel flat top.
The Country Smokers Highland comes with a 3-year warranty, which is on par with the competitors in this niche.
The Country Smokers Highland is a truly portable gas griddle with enough square inches on the flat top to feed a family of four and more. You just have to be vigilant in maintaining the seasoning layer on the griddle and take the time to make sure the entire firebox and flat top are as level as possible.