Barbecue Grill Grates – When purchasing a barbecue grill, you may not pay careful attention to the barbecue grill grates, but it is important to learn the differences because grill grates aren’t all the same.
Quality barbecue grill grates can influence the usefulness and convenience of your barbecue.
The surface size of the barbecue grates directly affects the quantity of food you can prepare on your grill.
Learning about the grill grate and paying attention to its size will help ensure that the barbecue performs well and meets your usage needs; cooking for a crowd will require a large cooking grate.
However, size is not the only factor when comparing barbecue grill grates.
Table of Contents
Barbecue Grill Grates Aren’t All the Same
Barbecue cooking grids are made out of different materials that influence your grill’s performance.
Popular materials used to manufacture barbecue grill grates are chrome, cast iron, porcelain covered cast iron, and stainless steel.
Each material has different pros and cons, so it is essential to learn about barbecue grate surfaces before you make your purchase.
Grill Grates and Cooking
The material of a barbecue grill grate affects the evenness of your cooking.
Cast iron cooking surfaces heat more evenly than stainless steel or chrome grates.
Cooking Grates and Durability
A cooking grid’s thickness and surface material impacts its durability.
Heat destroys metal over time, so thin or flimsy grids may bend, break or erode faster than thick grids.
Cast iron grates are the most durable, but stainless steel can also last for many years and washes well.
Porcelain can chip, crack, and exposed cast iron can rust, but well-maintained porcelain protects cast iron from rusting.
Chrome grills, usually the least expensive, also rust and can be difficult to clean.
However, they may be an option if you plan to use your grill infrequently and have a limited budget.
Caring for your grill grates will enhance its life.
All barbecue grill surfaces should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Use a still brush on durable grates, but grates that can chip will need less abrasive cleaning supplies.
Keeping the hood down when the grates are not being used will help the grids last because they will be protected from adverse weather conditions.
Seasoning Barbecue Grill Grates
Seasoning a barbecue grate keeps food from sticking to it.
Good quality stainless steel and porcelain coated cooking grids do not require seasoning.
Cast iron cooking grates require seasoning, but they can be purchased pre-seasoned.
However, if food begins to stick to the barbecue grill grates, it may be necessary to season them again.
If you plan to season a grill yourself, read the suggested manufacturer’s instructions.
The process involves applying a coating of grease to the barbecue grill grates and heating the grates.
Eventually food may begin sticking to the cooking grids again, and it may be necessary to repeat the process.
Evaluate the quality, material, and heating ability of a grill grate to make an informed decision that ensures your purchase is a satisfactory one.
Good quality barbecue grill grates will help you create delicious food for many years, and the right grate surface will improve your cooking experience.
Tips for Cleaning your Barbecue Grill Grates
Most people would never make food in a dirty pan, but some individuals do not clean their grill grates after each use.
Follow these Tips for Cleaning your Barbecue Grill Grates will help keep food sanitary, enhance the life of your grill, and even improve your cooking experience.
Why would you cook on a barbecue grill that contains hardened, old food?
Dirty Barbecue Grill Grates cause food to stick to the grill, and debris can block the heat.
Therefore, it is essential to know the right way to clean your cooking grates.
Tools for Cleaning Cooking Grates
The material of your grill grates determines the tools you use to clean them.
Some surfaces can be cleaned with stiff, wire brushes, but others may chip if they are not washed with less abrasive tools.
Generally, a stiff brush is suitable for cleaning cast iron cooking grids, and a soft or brass brush will clean porcelain coated grill grates.
A brass brush, steel wool, or a wire brush can clean stainless steel grids.
If you are unsure, use the cleaning tools recommended by the manufacturer.
Cleaning Cast Iron Barbecue Grill Grates
Soften food particles by closing the grill and burning it for 10 to 15 minutes until the debris becomes ash.
When the grate cools, use a stiff, wire brush to wipe the charred debris off the cooking grates.
Massage a small amount of oil around the grid to prevent food debris from sticking to the surface.
Use a cloth to remove any excess oil.
Cleaning Porcelain Coated Grills
Loosen debris from the grates with a soft cloth.
Then soak the cooking grids in soapy, warm dish water for 30 minutes.
Use a soft brush to remove additional debris.
If food remains, remove the grates from the sink before coating the particles with a light paste of baking soda and hot water.
Let the paste sit for 20 minutes.
Then remove the debris with a soft mesh or brass brush.
Dry the grates with a towel.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Grids
Heating a stainless steel cooking grate is an excellent way to loosen food.
Use a wire brush to push warm, charred particles off the grid.
When the barbecue grill grate is cool, soak it in warm, sudsy water.
Steel wool and a sponge will remove most of the debris from the grates.
For a deep cleaning of the entire grill, spray a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar on the grates and inside the grill.
Close the hood, and let the vinegar solution remain in the grill for at least an hour.
Then wipe the surface.
Be careful to remove all the vinegar to avoid a lingering taste on your food.
Tips to Maintain Clean Barbecue Grill Grates
Close the barbecue hood when it is not in use.
Use a barbecue cover to protect your barbecue and cooking grates from weather, debris, and insects.
Remember, cleaning a cooking grate is simple.
The effort will enhance the taste of your food, make the grill easier to light and the durability of your cooking grids.
BBQ Grill Accessories for Successful Grilling
Becoming a grill master doesn’t take much but practice.
Certain BBQ grill accessories are almost required for successful grilling though.
Often times these Outdoor Cooking Tools and Accessories can even be purchased in sets for convenience.
A good pair of tongs that can grip meat without cutting into it will prove to be invaluable.
A bbq fork is the fastest and easiest way to flip meat.
A spatula is also critical to flipping hamburgers and should slide easily under food without breaking it up.
Some other common bbq grill accessories include a basting brush and skewers.
Besides cooking utensils there are also other bbq grill accessories that help maintain your barbecue grill.
To keep the grate clean a good grill brush in necessary and items like a propane gauge come in handy often.
BBQ Grill Tips
For those new to barbecuing it can be a real challenge, especially when cooking with charcoal.
Follow these bbq grill tips to become a grilling pro:
The grill should be at a safe distance from buildings, trees, and plants.
Clean grill racks with a grill brush before grilling for the best flavor and the best heat.
Charcoal needs at least thirty minutes to heat up; the briquettes should have a layer of gray ash.
In general use about thirty briquettes per pound of meat.
Start the charcoal in a pyramid formation, allow the lighter fluid to soak in for several minutes before lighting, after the briquettes are hot then they may be moved to a single layer.
Chimney starters make lighting charcoal a breeze.
Never leave food unattended because of flare-ups.
Sauces containing sugar and fat will cause flare-ups so wait to apply them until the last ten minutes of cooking.
Windy days make for hotter grills.
Don’t puncture meats- they will lose their moisture.
Meat thermometers are the best guide for telling when meat is done.
BBQ Grill Rotisserie Accessories
Meats cooked on a rotisserie are juicer and have delectable slow-roasted flavor.
Most people cannot afford a large rotisserie oven but with bbq grill rotisserie accessories the backyard grill can produce delicious meals.
Rotisseries cook the meat evenly by slowly turning it near an open flame or other heat source.
Traditional bbq grill rotisserie accessories have skewers attached to a motor that turns the skewers slowly.
The skewers hold the meat horizontally over the grill, allowing fat to drip away while the meat self-bastes.
The trickiest part to these rotisseries is balancing the meat on the skewers and not allowing wings or legs to be scorched by the flame.
Bbq grill rotisserie accessories that use a basket or locking racks are easier to use.
They hold the meat securely in place, preventing the meat from flopping through the fire.
The best rotisseries also have powerful motors that are capable of turning large, heavy cuts of meat.
Having the right BBQ tools is crucial for any job, and barbecuing is no exception.
Those who have tried to flip a burger without a spatula know how important the right accessories can be.
Any decent grill master should have at least a basic set of bbq tools for your Kamado Grill.
Cooking utensils are the first thing most think of when it comes to tongs, spatulas, and bbq forks make turning and transferring meat much less difficult.
A basting brush allows the cook to keep the meat moist and evenly coated with tasty sauces.
Other bbq tools may not directly handle the food but are just as important.
A grill brush scrapes off built up char, while some char is good for flavor too much can affect the heat and cause a build-up of lye which is not good for flavor.
A propane gauge will also save the griller time- he can monitor gas levels so that there are no surprise shortages during the family cook out.
Quality BBQ Tools
If you do even a moderate amount of barbecuing, you need to get yourself some quality BBQ tools.
There are certain things every grill cook should have.
These will make you grilling easier and more enjoyable, along with keeping you safe.
One of the main items that you should have for grilling is a good set of tongs.
You don’t want to be stabbing your food every time you have to turn it, and tongs will fix this.
Other quality BBQ tools that you will want include a grilling glove to protect you from flame-ups, and a wire brush for cleaning your grill.
If you are looking for a great gift for the grilling enthusiast in your life, you can often find quality BBQ tools in a set.
These sets often have tongs, a brush, a basting brush, a glove, and sometimes an apron.
You can find these in many different stores and online.
BBQ Hot Dog Tools
Cooking hot dogs on the grill can be tricky. Hot dogs burn quickly and are hard to turn without them rolling away.
There are several bbq hot dog tools on the market that make the challenge of hot dogs much easier.
The most basic of these bbq hot dog tools is a hot dog stand for the grill.
These stands hold the hot dogs several inches above the heat source preventing scorching.
The hot dogs will still need to be turned to ensure even cooking.
Hot dog rollers and rotisseries are the most convenient bbq hot dog tools.
The rollers can be manual or battery powered and allows all the hot dogs to be turned at once.
The rotisseries attach to existing rotisseries and turn the hot dogs automatically while holding them far enough above the heat.
Stainless Steel BBQ Accessories
You must have some good tools when you are grilling, and many people prefer stainless steel BBQ accessories.
Stainless steel products last a long time, are strong, and look great.
If you are looking for some of these, there are many places you can look for them.
When you are shopping for stainless steel BBQ accessories, you want to make sure you are getting tools that are a good quality.
While everyone wants to get a good deal, you don’t want to buy cheap tools.
Even if they say they are stainless steel, give them a good once over to see if they really are of a good quality.
Stainless steel BBQ accessories make excellent gifts for the grill enthusiast in your life.
They can be bought individually or in sets.
A search through a cooking store or online will yield many options for these tools.
BBQ Grill Accessories For Enjoyable Grilling
BBQ grill accessories are now widely available and there’s no question they can help, because while having a quality grill is necessary, the right grilling accessories will enhance the experience.
Even if you’re not a gifted griller, there are certain items that can make you a better one, but first, you have to know what makes for successful grilling.
There are two basic types of grills, propane and charcoal, which is the fuel used for the grilling.
Accessories for both are generally the same, so the list given in the BBQ Accessories section of this article will work for both.
However there are some accessories that are specific to charcoal and propane, such as the following.
BBQ Grill Accessories For charcoal grills:
Cooking fuel: you’ll need charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal, and they’re both sold in different variants.
Lump charcoal are made of wood and burn faster and hotter compared to briquettes.
Charcoal briquettes on the other hand, burn more evenly and longer and suitable for indirect and slow burning.
Regardless which fuel you use, use wood chips made of mesquite, hickory or others to enhance the flavor.
Chimney Starters: if you’re having trouble with a lighter fluid, use a chimney starter instead as it allows you to start up a charcoal grill with a match and a few newspaper sheets.
Unlike charcoal, propane grills are quicker to start up and you don’t have to clean up any charcoal.
To make the grill even easier to run, the following accessories ought to be considered.
Propane cylinder: gas grills rely on propane as fuel, and these tanks are handy because they’re reusable and may be refilled at home improvement stores or at home.
Do note that some smaller grills don’t have a reusable cylinder though.
Lava rocks: though you can directly cook over the flame, most gas grills have lava rocks that provide more sustainable heat, and the indirect heat from these lava rocks emulates the typical charcoal grilling experience.
However, these rocks cannot be reused, but they don’t require clean up or preparation.
Barbecue Grill Accessories
Regardless whether you’re using charcoal or propane, there are some common accessories you will want to use:
wood chips add a smoky flavor to lava rocks or charcoal, and they’re especially handy for gas grills since they don’t have the usual smell that comes with grilling.
You can use different kinds of woods for flavor that will give your grill a unique taste or smell.
The most widely used though are apple wood, mesquite and hickory.
Skewers Grills can do more than just cook barbecue, steaks or burgers as they’re also great for sirloin tips, mushrooms, onions and pineapple.
You’ll find skewers handy for grilling veggies and meats that are hard to turn or fall through the grill.
There are basically two types: metal and bamboo (metal is reusable and bamboo is not).
Look for thin and flat skewers because it makes turning the food around easier compared to the round and square ones.
Cooking baskets and grill toppers are necessary if you grill small food items and don’t want to have them fall through the grill or break up.
For mushrooms and delicate stuff like fish, hinged wire baskets are ideal.
Grill toppers on the other hand, are set over your grill and have the same function as cooking baskets.
Grill covers: grill covers are an essential part of grill maintenance, especially if the weather fluctuates in your area.
No matter how well designed a grill is, changing weather will take its toll. If your grill is stored outdoors, get a cover for it for protection.
Fire extinguishers: spilled charcoal and grease flare ups can lead to a fire so to be safe make sure there’s a fire extinguisher close at hand.
Make certain the fire extinguisher is classified A and B so it can take out flammable liquids and grease and combustibles.
BBQ Grill Tips
BBQ grill accessories can help, but there are certain things you always need to keep in mind, whether you’re a beginner or a long time griller.
First you have to know the minimum internal temperatures for the meat.
The US Department of Agriculture has released a guideline, but remember that you can take the meat off the grill even if it’s a few degrees of the recommended level as the meat will continue to cook.
Grilled Stuffed Eggplant
The minimum temperatures are:
Ground poultry, chicken breasts, thighs, wings, whole bird: 165 F
Pork: 145 F
Ground Meat: 160 F
Shellfish and fish: 145 F
Veal, lamb and beef: 145 F
Medium steak: 140 F
Steak medium rare: 135 F
Once you’ve removed the meat from the grill when it has reached the minimum temperature, cover the meat with an aluminum foil for 5 to 10 minutes, giving the meat time to rest and soak in the juices, essential for juicy, moist meat.
Here are some other suggestions:
You should oil the grates so food doesn’t stick too much, and this will make it easier to clean afterwards.
Just fill a small bowl with canola oil, get a small paper towel and dip it and wipe on the grates prior to starting a fire.
Create indirect and direct heating zones in your grill. Setting up these zones allows you to use the entire surface and create various dishes simultaneously.
At the same time, understanding how these heat zones operate will allow you to use the grill in various ways.
To avoid confusion, direct heat means cooking over the flame. i.e., the heat source, while indirect cooking is more like baking.
If the meat is cooking too fast on direct heat, move it to the indirect heat zone so it will still cook, albeit at a slower pace and won’t burn up.
By using these zones you’ll be able to grill directly or indirectly, thus roasting meat the same way you would in an oven.
With indirect heat you can smoke meats and cook at a lower heat setting for extended periods.
That’s basically what you do with a smoker, and with direct and indirect zones you can essentially use a grill as one.
To summarize, direct heat is grilling on the heat whether it is charcoal or burner.
With indirect heat you cook at the grill side with an unlit burner or the cool or empty side of the grill.
To create direct and indirect zones, turn half of the burners to medium or medium high while the other half is low or off.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, set the charcoal pile to one side so the direct zone has all the fire and another one is clear.
Finally, use the best ingredients possible.
Depending on what you’re grilling, make sure that high quality sea salt, olive oil, ground pepper and other herbs are used.
Here are the essential accessories, in no particular order:
Locking tongs: 16 inch locking tongs will provide you with a solid grip on the food, and the good ones are easy to squeeze and should quickly bounce back.
Look for tongs that let you hold on large and small items without crushing them.
You’ll also want to look for tongs with a gripping edge that doesn’t cut the meat.
Waterproof Thermometer: one of the keys to successful grilling is a waterproof digital food thermometer.
These aren’t that expensive and are accurate, reliable and provide the information you need.
Barbecue Digital Thermometer
If you want steaks and barbecues grilled properly, a digital thermometer is necessary.
Stainless Steel Spatula: you don’t need a fancy spatula, just one that can easily slip under food, turn it around and burn, that’s all.
Of course if you’re looking for something fancier, there are all-purpose spatulas that come with a bottle opener and cutting blades.
Leather Gloves or Mitts: you can’t grill without a good pair of quality gloves, and if you have to grab something hot, leather gloves are the most appropriate.
Make sure though that the gloves are heavy duty and won’t just protect your hands but also the lower arms.
If you handle a lot of BBQ skewers and hot pots, these are mandatory.
Quality BBQ Brushes: avoid BBQ brushes that come with scrappers on the front part because it makes reaching the back grate nearly impossible.
Often, a simple but well-designed brush is sufficient, and brass is safe and won’t damage the grates.
At any rate, you should look for a brush that lets you clean all areas of the grill, including the corners.
What should make things easier for you is the number of products that are now available online.
In addition, you can read product reviews and get detailed descriptions so you can compare their features and see which ones meet your requirements.
While price is a factor, you should place more emphasis on quality and durability, particularly if you’re going to grill on a regular basis.
BBQ grill accessories are no longer the “fillers” that they used to be, because in terms of functionality and making sure you get the results you want they deliver.
By following the tips and advice here you will be in prime position to make an informed decision insofar as purchasing these accessories go.