What’s the Best Type of Grill Grate Material?

Jason Webster
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What types of grill grate are available?

I am assuming that you are discussing the sort of grates commonly used in gas and charcoal grills.

Grill grates do not have to be expensive or even pretty. Needs vary widely, but in general, you should choose grill grates that are sturdy, heat resistant, and ideally, will resist rust, if you have a choice.

Many gas grills use porcelain coated cast iron grates, which makes them attractive to many buyers. Cast iron is relatively cheap, retains heat really well, and they’ll burn right on the cooking grate. They are, however, very heavy.

Another popular material for grates is stainless steel. They’re probably the most popular out there. They typically come in a double layer, and they’re a lot lighter than castiron. They also have manual wiping surface that makes cleaning a breeze. They’re also highly resistant to rust but can be a little pricy.

Another material you can choose is porcelain, which is the material often use in ovens. However, porcelain grates have a tendency to crack or melt.

Stainless steel grill grates

There are grills grates and then there are grills grates.

It is mainly a matter of what type of cooking you want to do and what type of food you want to grill.

The best grill grates are the stainless steel grates, which are suitable for all types of grilling.

If you decide to get stainless steel grates, make sure the material is high quality. The grates need to be made of thick gauge stainless steel with a surface finish that resists corrosion and rust.

Cast iron grill grates

Cast iron is the most preferred grill grate material for a variety of reasons:

High durability. Cast iron grates are very strong and durable. Even under heavy loads, they are not as prone to breaking as another metal grates such as stainless steel.

Built-in heat retention. Since metallic grates conduct heat better, they can lose heat faster. That’s one of the reasons why cast iron grates can retain heat better.

Easy to clean. A cast iron grill can be cleaned by scrubbing it with warm water, soap, and a soft cloth. You can also clean it with a spray of warm water to remove extra greasy residue.

They come in variety of shapes and sizes.

They are inexpensive.

Enamel coated grill grates

The advantage of these grates is that they never rust. These types of grates are very similar to standard steel grates.

And even though it won’t rust (if you’re careful), it does absorb marinade and can sometimes acquire a burnt smell. This is not as much of an issue if you tend to use lighter marinades. But you’ll have to season it more frequently than you would with the stainless variety.

So which grill grate is best?

The grill grate is one of the most important components of your grill. It determines the overall usability and efficiency of the grill. The best grill will still be useless without the proper grate.

The standard grate that comes with many grills is cast iron, but this material comes in both smooth and ribbed versions.

A cast iron grate with ribs will allow for more oxygen to flow under the food while the smooth cast iron grates will allow the heat to go up into the food.

The best type of metal for a grill grate is stainless steel. This material is much healthier for your food as it does not release any harmful substances.

One material that you should avoid is porcelain coated cast iron. This grate is a lower cost option and is also very heavy.

We do not recommend a porcelain coated cast iron grate. The porcelain coating is made of lead, which can leach onto the food. And even if you're not cooking on the cast-iron grate, the food will be in close proximity to the lead for an extended period of time.

For those wanting to get a cast iron grill grate that is not coated, make sure you are careful to clean the grate thoroughly after each use.

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If the juice or fat drips onto your BBQ grill, you may burn out your food and ruin your experience.

Your regular grill grates may experience extreme heat that will decrease the longevity of the product.

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Cleaning and caring for your grill grate

One of the most common questions we get, especially this time of year, is what is the best type of grate material for a grill.

It used to be that cast iron was the standard, but in recent years many people are switching over to stainless steel or porcelain coated grill grates.

Which is best for you? Well, it depends on your personal preferences, cooking style, and the type of food you like to cook the most.

Here’s some of the pros and cons of each.

Porcelain-coated grill grates: are super durable and can withstand high temperatures without rusting

Pros: Can last for years and will never rust or lose their coating High-quality products are reversible and can be used both side up

Cons: More expensive than cast iron or stainless steel May be very heavy

Cast iron grates:

Pros: Most durable Grates last a long time and remain somewhat flat Will work on both natural gas and charcoal grills Affordable

Cons: Heat retention takes some time, especially if you’re working with a thinner cast iron grates. Heats up to very high temperatures

Stainless steel grates:

Pros: Very efficient Searches for moisture in food and grills it to enhance flavour Can be used with any kind of grill Produces moist flavourless foods

Low and Slow Smoked Pork Brisket

The specific material that manufacturers use for their grill grates depends on the market.

In the United States, manufacturers tend to use stainless steel, whereas in Europe, cast iron or ceramic are popular. You may also find cast iron in Australia and New Zealand and also Japan.

Cast iron is my personal preference of choice for many reasons. It requires little maintenance. You only need to season it before use and after cleaning. As the season builds up on the grates, it creates a natural non-stick surface that allows your food to easily slide off the grill.

Remember to do this only once in a while to prevent the cast iron from rusting.

You may also find stainless steel, which is the easiest to clean but will put a little more rust on your grates over time.

Ceramic is the hardest to clean but it’s very durable. It’s easy to wipe clean but it will take a little scrubbing to get it really clean and shiny.

The cleaning technique that you choose depends on the flavor profile you desire.