Choosing the right BBQ grate and cleaning tools

October 13, 2015

The BBQ grate you choose will affect how your meat cooks and how long you'll spend cleaning the grill. Grates range from inexpensive chrome-plated models to expensive stainless steel. Once you've chosen that grate, you'll also need to know how to keep it clean to prevent deterioration and food-borne illnesses. Here's what you need to know.

Choosing the right BBQ grate and cleaning tools

Picking the right type of grate

BBQ grates come in three main varieties: chrome-plated steel, cast iron, and cast stainless steel. Here's some information on each type:

Chrome plated grates

The least expensive BBQ grates are usually made from chrome-plated steel. They're usually included with less expensive BBQs and are fine for occasional seasonal use.

However, if you regularly grill, you'll notice that these grates can be flimsy and will wear more quickly than those made of other materials. Plus, once the coating begins to wear off and the grate rusts, you'll need to replace it.

Cast iron grates

Cast iron grates are more expensive and require particular set up and more regular maintenance.
To set up your cast iron grate before using it for the first time, you'll want to season it to prevent sticking. But, unlike cast iron pans, the seasoning will regularly burn off of the grate. So it'll require re-seasoning.

People choose cast iron grates because they're not too expensive and a well-maintained grate can last longer than a grill. You'll also find that cast iron grates hold their temperature well, which makes for easier grilling.

Cast iron grates can be coated with porcelain to reduce their need for constant seasoning and cleaning, but this option is more expensive.

Cast stainless steel

Cast stainless steel grates are the best option available. They hold their temperature well and are nearly as durable as cast iron grates.
However, cast stainless steel grates are far easier to clean and will never rust.

You can also pick a high-end stainless steel grate, which will be less expensive than a cast stainless steel grate, but has nearly the same level of durability.

Cleaning your grate

When cleaning your grill's grates, you need to pair the cleaning tools with the type of grate you own.

Cast iron grates

Cast iron grates are so sturdy that they can withstand any type of metal brush or scraper. Of course, after the cast iron grate has been cleaned, it should be immediately re-seasoned to prevent sticking and rust.

Porcelain-coated grates should be handled carefully with a plastic scraper and a brass-bristle brush. But, once it's been cleaned, you don't need to season a porcelain-coated grate.

Steel grates

For stainless steel and chrome-plated steel, scouring pads and a brass-bristle brush should remove most of the grilling residue.

While chrome-plated steel grates should be cleaned thoroughly after every use, try to be gentle to prevent excessive wear on the grate itself.

Choose the grate that's right for you

A good grate can upgrade the entire BBQ experience. Meat will be easier to cook on a sturdy grate and cleanup should be simpler as well.

Of course, when choosing the right grate, be sure to pick one that matches the amount of grilling and cleaning you expect to undertake.

A simple chrome-plated grate is a fine option if you're only able to grill a few weekends a year, but an inexpensive grate will quickly become an annoyance if you spend every Saturday grilling for the family.

So keep the information in this article in mind as you choose the BBQ grate that's right for you.


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