How to Barbecue Better Using Cooking Grates
Cooking grates come in different types and materials, and each has its own advantages, depending on its use and the preference of the cook. Grill grates hold your food when you are barbecuing or grilling. So let us take a look at the choices available when it comes to outdoor cooking grates.
When it comes to popularity, cast iron grates seem to be the choice. The heavier wide cast iron grates can hold heat for a long time and cook evenly. As a result, you get well seared, quickly cooked food. The only problem with iron grill grates is maintenance. Apart from the regular cleaning, you must ensure that cast iron grills are well seasoned before you use them and this must be done periodically even when they are in regular use. They do come with manufacturers instructions on how to season them. While it is not a difficult task to season them, neglecting to do it can result in rust. If you do keep them well seasoned, cast iron can be as good as nonstick grates and appear to last longer than a lifetime.
A better option, if you want the advantage of longer heat but not the associated maintenance hassle with cast iron, you can opt for porcelain coated iron grates. These combine the quality of durability, as well as avoid the problem of rust as long as the porcelain coating is intact. Over time, the porcelain coating can crack, chip or wear off unless you are really careful when you handle it. At the time of cleaning, it is better to use brass bristles in place of metal scrapers with hard edges.
Stainless cooking grates for grills are less durable than iron; however, with good care, these can also last a long time. You also get steel grates coated with porcelain just like cast iron grates coated with porcelain. One problem, however, is that these grates are quite thin and too widely spaced to hold heat. While this does not really affect smoking or indirectly cooking huge portions of meat, beef, steaks and chops could pose an issue since you will not get those attractive grill marks. Serious chefs prefer wider grates.
If you compare stainless cooking grates for grills, porcelain enameled cast iron cooking grates and porcelain coated cast iron grates, porcelain coated cast iron grates let you cook at lower temperatures because there is longer retention of heat. Stainless steel grates come with the longest warranty followed by porcelain coated cast iron grates and the porcelain enameled ones.
Generally, it is better to buy stainless cooking grates for bbq grills so that they are not prone to rust. Often we find barbecue grills that are perfect with all the features we want at a price that is hard to refuse, yet does not have the kind of grate we want. In such cases, you can always check with the manufacturer. For example, you can opt for Weber porcelain enameled cast iron cooking grates that give you the advantage of long lasting grates that retain excellent heat and are supposed to be easy to maintain. But most weekend barbecuers feel that it is hard to keep it seasoned because they get so heated. This manufacturer also offers the option of choosing stainless cooking grates for the grills. These are easy to clean before cooking. By coating them with oil, you can keep food from sticking to it. Importantly, the grill marks are prominent. Another big advantage of stainless steel is its lightweight property making it easy to handle particularly while adding wood or briquettes to your smoker box. Stainless steel is also a good material for camping cooking grates.
About The Author: Jonathan Goodman is the owner of Market Merchants an online retailer specializing in home and garden products. My passion for bbq grilling and fireplaces is the core focus of Market Merchants. I am a member of the Hearth Patio Barbeque Association (HPBA), the National BBQ group (NBBQ), and the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). We sell these products because we love them and are passionate about consumer living needs. So whether its furniture and decor, home improvement, kitchen and dining, or outdoor living Market Merchants brings a dedicated commitment to the customer and a passion for high quality products. Visit Market Merchants for a wide selection of cooking grates from our grill accessories department.