Innovative Gadgets

A smash burger machine with intelligent options

Flat-top griddles are insanely in style. Even when an aspiring grill grasp prefers charcoal or pellets for his or her fundamental machine, likelihood is they’re packing a griddle for smash burgers, breakfast and different objects that want a good floor. Or, on the very least, they’ve an insert that transforms a grill right into a flat high. Griddles are versatile they usually preserve numerous the mess of cooking issues like cheesesteaks, fajitas and fried rice out of your kitchen. Nonetheless, all of them principally provide the identical premise: a big steel slab on some form of cart that runs on propane. Since there’s not a ton of variation within the normal design, the satan is within the particulars for corporations like Blackstone, Traeger and Weber.

The Weber Slate ($649 and up) is the corporate’s second try at grabbing a foothold within the in style griddle market. With a extra refined design and tons of intelligent options that make the flat-top cooker extra enjoyable to make use of, Weber is attempting to set itself aside from the competitors in a couple of key areas. However, even probably the most inexpensive Slate is pricier than a few of the different choices available on the market, so these finer factors will probably decide if this griddle is best for you.


Weber isn’t new to the griddle recreation, however the firm’s second try is extra refined with loads of room for personalisation. The Slate is an effective way to smash burgers, prepare dinner breakfast and a lot extra.


  • Even warmth distribution
  • Rust-resistant cooktop
  • Modular facet desk
  • Digital temperature gauge

  • Rust resistant doesn’t imply rust proof
  • Storage and shelf options fluctuate
  • Wheels are a bit low cost

$799 at Weber

On the Weber Slate, the corporate developed a extra refined look than its first griddles that debuted final spring. These had extra of a cart design akin to Weber’s most inexpensive fuel grills, whereas the Slate has virtually a hybrid cart/cupboard stand the place the storage varies primarily based on the mannequin. Some configurations have semi-closed house whereas others have weather-resistant storage bins or a completely enclosed space beneath the cooking floor. Each model has a mid shelf immediately beneath the cooktop, the place you may place instruments and different provides for fast entry.

Weber flanks the cooking space with sizable facet tables, with some variations providing a fold-down extension for much more work house. The highest of the facet desk on the fitting is detachable, which permits the remaining body to accommodate a line of equipment generally known as Weber Works. You may transfer these storage bins as much as this space and the corporate has a handy caddy/serving tray combo that additionally matches this house properly. With both of those, you may put seasonings, oils, sauces and extra inside attain always. You can even change the desk high with a slicing board if you wish to do your prep or slicing outdoors. Weber Works additionally consists of objects that clip onto the perimeters of the Slate’s facet cabinets, together with a cup holder, condiment bin and an “organizer equipment” that comes with a paper towel rack, software hooks and a trash bag holder.

The digital temperature display is easy to read and comes in handy during every cook. The digital temperature display is easy to read and comes in handy during every cook.

Billy Steele for Engadget

The Slate has an hooked up, hinged lid like most premium griddles. This part pays homage to earlier Weber grills because it has the corporate’s signature black and silver scheme such as you’ll see on Genesis and different grills. The one space of this griddle that feels barely low cost are the wheels. The 4 casters do the job, however they’ve clearly plastic with little polish. Even one thing barely extra strong just like the sturdier rollers that come on the Genesis collection would’ve been good.

I’m additionally continually annoyed by the grippy texture contained in the Slate’s cowl. It has two handles on the highest so you must be capable of raise it straight off the griddle simply, however the cowl’s inside coating catches on the facet tables, making what needs to be a simple process extra of a chore.

A key characteristic of the Slate is its digital show, which sits between two of the burner management knobs. It runs on two AA batteries and reveals the temperature of the cooking floor primarily based on information from a probe beneath the cooktop. I like that the display is straightforward to learn, because of its excessive distinction and enormous numerals, and it handily reveals how a lot juice is remaining on the batteries, too.

The Slate is a smash burger machine. The Slate is a smash burger machine.

Billy Steele for Engadget

I’ll admit I didn’t see the utility in a griddle till I truly used one. I’ve been smashing burgers and scorching different issues on a full-size insert for a Weber Genesis for some time now. However the Slate is definitely higher because it’s purpose-built with a grease chute that’s in a greater place alongside the entrance so it takes up minimal cooking house. You could have free rein to make use of the again and the perimeters of the cooktop that will help you flip and transfer meals.

I’ve cooked smash burgers, hibachi hen, fajitas and a full breakfast with hash browns on the Slate. My spouse, the pancake professional in our home, additionally used it and cherished having the additional house to prepare dinner sufficient for the 4 of us in lower than half the time it takes indoors. The Slate distributes warmth edge to edge, so issues like pancakes prepare dinner evenly. The 30-inch model I examined has ample house for my wants, and Weber says the 30-inch x 18-inch cooking space on this unit can maintain as much as 22 burger patties.

When you hearth up the propane burners, the 30-inch Weber Slate takes about eight and a half minutes to succeed in a most temperature of round 565 levels Fahrenheit. It takes simply over 5 minutes to hit 450 levels, which is what you’d need for smash burgers and what I choose for fajitas. For extra delicate issues like pancakes, you’ll wish to flip it all the way down to the burners’ lowest setting, which is round 350-355 levels.

The Weber Works equipment make cooking with the Slate a lot simpler. I primarily used the caddy with a lid/serving tray, which allowed me to take numerous seasonings, sauces, instruments and extra to the griddle in a single journey. It’s additionally good that the caddy can change the facet desk for fast entry, with the lid/tray beside it to relaxation instruments or meals after they’re carried out. These bigger facet tables additionally guarantee you could have sufficient house for provides and meals, with the mid shelf beneath and the facet desk extension offering extra locations to relaxation issues if wanted. Not as soon as did I panic wishing I had one other spot to place one thing whereas utilizing the Slate. It’s nice that the Weber Works storage bins can stay outside with out a lot fear about climate. I wouldn’t retailer substances there, however it’s an excellent place to maintain cleansing provides and towels, for instance.

Plenty of room to cook on the 30-inch Weber Slate. Plenty of room to cook on the 30-inch Weber Slate.

Billy Steele for Engadget

The first concern while you personal a flat-top griddle is rust. One of the best ways to forestall it’s to wash the cooking floor quickly after use, however that’s not all the time potential as a result of perhaps you’re internet hosting friends or any variety of different causes. So, rust is a continuing battle when the metal or forged iron part is uncovered to moisture, oil and meals residue for an prolonged interval. Not all griddles have lids or covers, and even when they do closing one up when the cooking floor continues to be heat can result in condensation drips even if you happen to’re on level with the cleansing.

Weber is addressing this with a “rust-resistant” cooktop. As the corporate describes it, “the carbon-steel will get reworked beneath excessive warmth and stress that case hardens and bonds the floor, lowering the flexibility for moisture to gather and rust to kind.”

Rust-resistant doesn’t imply rust-proof, although. To check Weber’s declare, I left the Slate cooktop soiled for 36 hours after making hibachi hen , solely flippantly pushing bigger chunks to the grease tray and leaving sauce and oil. Once I did go to wash it, there have been small spots of rust, however nothing like I’ve seen on the corporate’s older griddle inserts for its fuel grills (Weber now sells inserts which might be rust-resistant too). This was additionally a messier meal, so it didn’t simply go away behind a typical quantity of muck.

The excellent news is that, whereas annoying, the rust comes off simply with vinegar and coarse sea salt. After leaving white vinegar on the floor for a couple of minutes and including salt to assist raise the stuck-on grime, I had no bother restoring the Slate’s cooking floor to a unblemished state. It took some elbow grease, however wasn’t too robust of a process. So whereas the Slate does purchase you a while on the cleanup, you in all probability don’t wish to go away residue any longer than in a single day if you happen to’re seeking to keep away from any further work.

The Slate's fold-down side table extension adds more work space. The Slate's fold-down side table extension adds more work space.

Billy Steele for Engadget

Weber gives three variations of the Slate griddle, all with barely totally different options. Whereas they share the identical general design, together with rust-resistance and the hooked up lid, probably the most inexpensive mannequin is the 30-inch Slate that doesn’t include the 2 weather-resistant, outside storage bins (bought individually for $40 every). It additionally lacks the digital temperature gauge or the folding facet desk extension, however does have {a partially} closed storage cupboard. You’ll avoid wasting cash as this unit is $649. As you’ll see, although, that worth is definitely low.

For $150 extra, you get the identical 30-inch Slate I examined with a useful temperature show, extendable facet desk and a pair of weather-resistant storage bins. These bins are totally uncovered, however there’s a monitor system that means that you can slide them out like a drawer. Plus, the outdoor-friendly design retains mud and particles from ruining your provides. There’s additionally a pure fuel model of this mannequin that’s $829. What’s extra, there are two retailer-exclusive 30-inch choices. At Residence Depot, you’ll get the digital temperature show and an enclosed storage cupboard for $699. Ace {Hardware} gives the 30-inch Slate with digital temperature show, totally enclosed storage cupboard, extendable facet desk and the Weber Works caddy for $749.

The priciest choice is a 36-inch model with 4 burners as an alternative of three. It nonetheless has the digital temperature gauge and fold-down facet desk extension, together with the modular facet desk for all of these Weber Works equipment, however the storage space beneath is a completely enclosed cupboard. If you need that further cooking house, the grand complete right here involves $999.

Blackstone is the preferred title in griddles and the corporate has a great deal of choices in a number of totally different configurations. Heck, you may even get one which has an air fryer beneath. The mannequin that’s closest to the bottom Weber Slate is the 28-inch XL with a “hood.” It sits on extra of a bare-bones cart, although, so there’s no enclosed storage beneath the cooktop and the facet tables are smaller. It usually prices $549, however it’s at the moment on sale for $399.

In competitors with Weber’s most costly choice, Blackstone has the 36-inch Iron Solid griddle. It too has a “hood” (hooked up lid or cowl) and 4 burners with a extra refined cart design with a storage shelf. There’s additionally an extendable facet shelf, paper towel holder, rubbish bag holder and facet shelf rail system that accommodates much more equipment. This one is often $649, however it’s at the moment on sale for $499.

Then there’s Traeger. Sure, the corporate that made its title on wooden pellet grills has a single gas-burning mannequin and it’s a griddle. The Flatrock takes a number of design cues from the corporate’s newest Ironwood and Timberline collection, together with the wrap-around PAL (Pop And Lock) accent rail and so-called EZ-Clear grease keg. The Flatrock’s facet tables are comparable in measurement to these on the Slate and its U-shaped burners put direct flame beneath extra of the 33-inch cooktop. Traeger says its FlameLock design is extra wind-resistant and fuel-efficient than the competitors and a sensor retains tabs on how a lot propane you’ve received left within the tank. The Flatrock does include a Traeger-esque price ticket although: $899.

After a number of weeks with the Weber Slate, I’ve totally skilled the grilling potential that standalone griddles present within the yard. With the addition of a rust-resistant cooktop, the corporate offers you an extension on the valuable cleanup window. The digital temperature show is useful and straightforward to learn from a distance whereas the Weber Works equipment can remodel the griddle into a correct outside cooking station. Some particulars could possibly be refined, however general, the Slate could be a strong addition to any grilling arsenal. And even when it’s the one grill you personal, the flat high means that you can prepare dinner all kinds of meals.

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