Royal Gourmet GD401C Portable Propane Gas Grill and Griddle Combo Review
If you have a passion for camping, and you need a way to cook food when you are off the grid, then chances are you are debating between getting a griddle or a grill. Both have their advantages. Most people end up choosing a gas griddle, then learn to live with missing a grill.
Royal Gourmet believes that you shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other with their GD401C Portable Propane Gas Grill and Griddle Combo. It features a propane fired cast iron griddle on one side with stainless steel burners. On the other side is a classic propane grill.
It also has a built-in grease channel. It’s designed to redirect any dripping to pans that are easy to remove and clean. Some online retailers also offer it with a free cover.
Technically the Royal Gourmet GD401C was designed and intended to be portable. Which it can be used that way. Just keep in mind that it weighs a little over 100 pounds. It also measures in at 66.1 x 21.8 x 43.7 inches. So, you might want to take out a tape measure to make sure it will indeed fit in the trunk, tailgate or back of your car.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Royal Gourmet GD401C is made from quality materials. The stainless steel burners and other components are thoughtfully integrated. Just keep in mind that the griddle top is made from cast iron, and you will need to make a little bit of extra effort to maintain it’s seasoning layer. If you are lax with that, you could frequently struggle with rusting issues.
For how complicated it could be, the Royal Gourmet GD401C is relatively easy to assemble. The designers took their time to try to make it intuitive whenever possible. This means you and a friend should be able to put it together with some basic household tools in under two hours.
One minor thing to note is that Royal Gourmet does not offer a natural gas conversion kit for this grill. It is designed to work with a 20 to 25-pound liquid propane tank.
The stainless steel burners do a good job of imparting enough heat to let you grill and griddle. Each independently controlled burner provides 12,000 BTU’s for a total of 48,000 BTU’s of efficient heat.
The cast iron material used for the griddle side requires you to establish and maintain a good seasoning layer. Otherwise, it can rust. You shouldn’t necessarily see this as a negative. Cast iron does a great job of absorbing the heat for consistency. Once you get the hang of it, the seasoning layer is easy enough to maintain. Most of the time, a simple scrape down in the cleaning phase, and a spot rub down with a little solid shortening will do the trick.
The grill side does pretty much everything that you expect a direct heat propane grill to do. One knock on it, is that there isn’t a lid or top for the grill. This means you can’t really use it for low-heat or hybrid grilling applications. You can improvise around this issue with a large, heavy-duty aluminum baking pan turned upside down.
If you wanted to use the Royal Gourmet GD401C as a grill on both sides, there are additional grates available for sale. The cast iron griddle can then be removed, and the grates installed. If you wanted to use both sides as a griddle, you can buy a porcelain enameled cast iron griddle, to lay it over the propane grill burners.
Both the cast iron griddle and the grill grates provide you with 292 square inches each. This means you have 584 square inches of cooking space, which is more than enough to prepare a big breakfast for 5 to 6 campers. At the same time, it is still at home on your patio or deck to use as your everyday grill.
The built-in grease channel and removable drippings pan helps with cleanup and grease management. The folding side table and the ability to make it portable is nice. Just make sure you have another person available to help you load the 100+ pound GD401C into your vehicle.
Ease to Clean
The Royal Gourmet GD401C is relatively easy to clean. The built-in grease channel with removable drip pan helps with clean up. The grill grates just need a basic scrape down.
Maintaining the cast iron griddle is probably the trickiest part of cleaning and taking good care of the Royal Gourmet GD401C. There are some differences of opinion on how to do this. Scraping down the griddle with an offset spatula will help clear away any food debris.
If you were cooking something lean that didn’t produce a lot of grease, you might have some areas on the griddle where the seasoning layer is a little dry. In a case like this, you might want to take a clean paper towel and wipe down a little shortening or peanut oil on the griddle top.
If you were cooking up something greasy like a big mess of bacon, then it might need little more than a thorough wipe down with a paper towel. Just make sure there’s a little bit of heat lingering on the metal, so you’re not just smearing around cold grease.
The Royal Gourmet GD401C comes with a 1-year warranty. This is a little bit less than some competitor grills in this same class, which tend to have a 3-year limited warranty.
The Royal Gourmet GD401C gives you the convenience of a griddle as well as a propane grill. If you want to be able to double it up from time to time as a large gas grill, there are grates available for sale. It’s also one of the few units in this niche that was designed with portability in mind.
Just make sure to take the time to properly maintain the seasoning layer.
- The versatility of a griddle and grill
- A built-in grease channel system
- Easy cleanupLarge, yet portable
- No lid for the grill side
- Inferior warranty compared to competitors
- Cast iron griddle needs to be maintained