While we all want to have the most durable product, sometimes we have to consider other factors. In this guide, we would be looking at three types of grill grates. We would be sharing with you things we like about them, and things we don’t. Note that the cooking surface of a grill is one of the most important parts of the grill. A cooking grill grate should be made of a resilient and strong material. Plus it should be capable of providing good heat transfer, keep food from sticking to it, and be durable. It is not a must that your grate is completely non-stick, but food shouldn’t stick to it any more than necessary.
Types of grill grates
In this guide, we would be looking at three of the most common campfire grill grates. It’s always a good idea to spend a little extra to get the right grate that can stand the test of time.
Stainless steel grill grates
Stainless steel grill grates are lightweight grilling grates, and the most affordable. If what you are after is a portable grill, then a stainless steel grill rate will work best for you. However, what we don’t like about stainless steel grill grates is that they are not so durable. Although to a certain degree, they offer a great non-stick cooking surface. But after repeated use, the steel tends to lose its temper which causes it to start chipping. In other words, the surface becomes uneven and rough, causing foods to stick to the grate.
Furthermore, stainless steel grates do not have great heat properties. So, when hot, they can get cold easily. As such, they do not make a great sear mark. Typically, you will find a stainless steel grill grate in gas grills. If we are to recommend stainless steel grill grates, we wouldn't recommend it for anyone who grills frequently. Moreover, if what you are after is something that can last long term, then avoid getting a stainless steel grill grate. Except you are very good at maintenance, then you wouldn't have too much of a problem using a stainless steel grill grate in the long term.
Cast iron grill grates
Cast iron grill grate is another type of grilling grate common for its durability. Cast iron grill grates is a recommendable grilling grate for anyone who grills a lot. They can stand the test of time and repeated use. However, cast iron grill grates are expensive and they weigh more than other types of grilling grates. But like we said, it is always a great idea to spend a little extra for a quality grill grate. Cast iron is the best material to have for a camping grill grate because they are durable.
Cast iron grill grates retain heat longer and better than other types of grill grates material. As such, when hot, they distribute heat evenly across the surface. Moreover, cast iron grates are the best for making a bold sear mark on your food. The only drawback of using a bare cast iron grill grate is that they do not offer a non-stick surface. And using cast iron grill grates requires more maintenance from you to prevent its surface from rusting which is very common. This means you have to keep the surface well-oiled before storage as do any cookware made with cast iron.
Enamel coated grill grate
Lastly, enamel-coated grill grate is also a very common type of cooking grill grate found in most grills. Enamel coating provides you with a non-stick surface that makes grilling fun. The enamel coating can be done on steel or cast iron which are great materials to have on your grill. Manufacturers coat their grill grate with enamel to also protect the grate material from exposure to moisture which can promote rust. But as we would have it, enamel coating has a nasty habit of chipping away.
Using metal tools on an enamel coated grill grate may cause it to chip. So, if you have an enamel coated grill grate, you are restricted to using mainly wooden tools. Cleaning an enamel coated grill grate with metal scrappers is not advisable, but metal bristle brushes are okay. Although with everything we’ve said, they do not discredit enamel coated grill grate as a bad coating. It’s simply a matter of choosing a quality enamel grate with a price tag that wouldn’t leave a hole in your pocket. Cheap enamel coating will cause a lot of headaches down the lane, and it may happen sooner than you think.
How to clean grill grates
Keeping your grill grates clean will help them last longer. Since the grates of most grills are removable, it is best to remove it for proper cleaning. While cleaning, be careful with the type of equipment you use to clean. Using the wrong equipment may roughen the surface which may cause food to stick to the grate. So, lightly scrub the grate with a brush. You can also use warm soapy water and sponge to clean the surface properly to get rid of fat from the grate. Rinse the grill's grate properly and allow it to dry. If the grate has a food smell you want to get rid of, you can use vinegar or lime on the surface then rinse after a couple of minutes. To store the grate, lightly grease the surface of cast iron grates to avoid rusting.
Overall, a heavy-duty cast iron grate is still the best type of grill grate to have. Although they are a bit heavy and expensive, they can stand the test of time with repeated use. Moreover, due to the excellent heat-retaining capacity of cast iron grate, they make the best-grilled foods. But if you don't want to deal with the work of maintaining cast iron grates nor the cost, then the next best option is a high-quality enamel-coated grate or a stainless steel grate.