Being a grill master does not come easy. Apart from choosing your cuts and seasoning, you have to choose the best accessories for your grill for a great grilling experience. Most important among them is the grill grate, an accessory that will elevate your grilling prowess.
This article explains what grill grates are and the types of grill grates for your grill or smoker (have you checked out Smoker Masters or Yoder Smoker?) that you should consider acquiring. It discusses the pros and cons of each and recommends the best of them. This will help you make an informed choice before firing up your grill for the season.
What Are Grill Grates?
Grill grates are also called cooking grates. They are interlocking panels that are placed on the surface of your grill for a better grilling experience. They either replace the existing grates or cover their surface.
They can be made from a variety of materials including cast iron or stainless steel. The choice will depend on your individual preference and durability.
Grill grates play a major role in increasing the grill’s surface temperature for a faster grilling process. They also ensure equal heat distribution on the grill to avoid hot and cold spots on whatever meat you are grilling.
In addition, they reduce flame flare-ups that may burn the stake or even cause burn accidents on the person grilling. Further, grill grates leave quality sear marks on the steak, which improves its palatability and presentation aesthetic.
Lastly, grill grates ensure that your food is juicier and has more flavor to them. This is because food drippings are held in the grill grate valleys and they vaporize around the food. This prevents the food from drying up.
Types of Grill Grates
- Cast Iron
The cast iron material is heavy, dark, porous and has a rustic look. They are also better at heat retention and they are better than stainless steel ones in even distribution of heat on your food.
While the stainless-steel ones produce faint sear marks, the cast iron grates produce perfect and bold sear marks, improving the appearance of the food. In addition, the cast iron grill grate will leave the food with a unique flavour especially if they are well cured.
On the other hand, though, the cast iron grates are prone to rusting and require effort and prowess in curing them especially when they are not coated.
They are also harder to clean after use and take longer to heat up. This is unlike the stainless-steel grates that are rust-resistant and easy to clean.
For comparisons between cast iron and stainless-steel grill grates, click here for more detail on this.
- Stainless Steel
Stainless steel material is silvery and shiny. The grill grates are known to be long-lasting because they do not corrode or rust even when left exposed to nature’s elements. This is unlike the cast iron grates which may easily rust and corrode if not cured or well maintained.
They also require lower maintenance compared to the cast iron grill grates. Further, they do not require curing which can be a daunting process, especially to new grillers. Furthermore, they are easy to clean, which is an important factor to consider.
On the other hand, the grill grates may darken and lose their lustre over time if they are not well maintained. They may not be aesthetically pleasing. They also give food very faint sear/grill marks, unlike the cast iron grates which produce bold ones.
In addition, while the stainless-steel grill grates heat faster than the cast iron ones, their heat retention is not as good. This may be inconveniencing and may also leave food with hot and colder spots, which is not ideal.
- Enamel Coated
The enamel coated cast iron grill is a great choice for a beginner because it does not require seasoning and curing like the pure cast iron grill grate. The coat also prevents corrosion and rusting. Rusting is a major concern because it alters the surface of the grill grate.
This grill grate is also easy to clean because of the enamel coating and is durable because the main material is the heavy cast iron. Furthermore, the enamel-coated grill grate retains heat well and distributes it evenly on the food, which provides for a good experience.
It also leaves bold sear/grill marks on the food just like the pure cast iron grill grate. The downside to these grill grates is that they are heavy to handle and may have a high initial purchase cost.
Which Grill Grates is Best?
The best grill grate is one that balances out on the best qualities. The enamel-coated grill grate is, therefore, the top pick for this as it combines the pros of both cast iron and the non-rust easy to clean pros of the stainless-steel grill grate.
The enamel-coated one is quite expensive though so if you are on a budget, you should consider buying the stainless-steel grill grate.
If you want something that retains heat well, the cast iron grill grate is the best choice.
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