What are the Best Grill Grates?

In Backyard grilling tips by marketninjas

Who doesn’t enjoy grilling?  It is an American pastime.  Some of the best dishes out there are prepared on the grill, but have you really thought through all of the components of your grill?  A grill has burners, and a propane tank, and gas lines, and a lid of course.

What are the best grill grates? In all likelihood, the best grill grates are stainless steel.  They are easy to clean, and food does not usually stick to them.  When it comes time to change your grill grates, it is a simple process. 

Grill grates may not be something we think about often, but they do make a difference in the way we cook and in the way our food tastes, coming off of the gas grill.

Your preference in grill grates will likely be tied up in what you are used to.  What type of grill did you first learn to cook on?  Once you learn how to cook on a certain type of grill, it just comes naturally to you.  What is best for one person may not be best for another.

Grill grates are one of those things we take for granted.  We are used to them being there and serving a purpose, and we do not give them much thought.  However, the type of grate you choose does make for a different grilling experience, so they are worth talking about, which is why they will be the topic of discussion in this article.

What Are The Best Grill Grates?

When any type of grill is in discussion, there are multiple individual parts and components that come with it. One of these components is known as the grates. 

Grates are one of the most important parts of the grill.  They make a difference in the way food is prepared and the way the food tastes. 

They are cleaned differently and may need to be stored differently.  Grill grates are a little more complex than you might think, and they make more of a difference than you might think.

Grill grates fall into two categories: Cast iron and Stainless steel.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and we will cover some of these in this article.  Whether you are a fan of stainless steel or cast iron grates, you cannot deny the unique taste of grilled food that we all love so much. 

Grill grates are something we do not normally spend a lot of time thinking about, and yet they are an important component of our grills. 

They do make a difference in the way we prepare our food and the way it tastes.  The way we clean up after grilling differs as well.  Cast iron grates and stainless steel grates are truly diverse when it comes to preparation and clean-up.

In the end, it doesn’t matter so much what kind of grate you use as it does your own culinary skills.  When you purchase a grill, you should take the time to learn your way around it and get used to it.  The best grilled food is compliments of the chef, not the grill itself.

Due to a variety of factors and the results of tons of research, it can be concluded that stainless steel grill grates are the best.

Here’s why this makes sense:

  • They are easy to clean
  • Food does not easily stick to them
  • They do not rust easily

Stainless steel grill grates are easy to clean.  Unlike cast iron grates, they do not have to be warm when you clean them.  All you need to do is wipe them off with a paper towel, and you are good to go and ready for your next grilling experience. 

Most people are all about keeping clean-up easy, and using stainless steel grates on your gas grill is one way to do that.

Stainless steel grates are a largely non-stick surface.  Food comes right off of them with a spatula or a pair of tongs. 

You do not have to scrape excess chicken off the grill after dinner or fret over the fact that you have wasted half of your food, because it stuck to the grill.  These grates are also lighter than cast iron grates, and easy to pull up if you need to do so.

Stainless steel is also rust resistant.  Of course, you shouldn’t be leaving your grill out in the weather anyway, but if you do on accident, there is less chance these grates are going to begin to rust on you. 

They are lower maintenance all the way around.  Who doesn’t appreciate low maintenance products?  Many people feel the easier, the better when it comes to both cooking and cleaning.

Of course, everyone is different, and just because I prefer stainless steel grates does not mean they are necessarily the best choice for every griller out there. 

You should go with your own preference when it comes to purchasing a new grill or new grill grates.  Next we will explore some positives and negative for both cast iron and stainless steel grill grates.

Which Is Better, Stainless Steel Or Cast Iron Grill Grates?

There are pros and cons to both stainless steel and cast iron grill grates.  We will explore both in this section.

Pros and cons to stainless steel and cast iron grill grates:

  • Stainless steel Pros
  • Stainless steel cons
  • Cast iron pros
  • Cast iron cons

Stainless steel heats up slower, but tends to retain heat well.  It is also more durable.  You will have less negative effect from leaving a stainless steel grill out in the elements than you will with a cast iron grill. 

Stainless steel grill grates are easy to clean and require very little maintenance.  Just wipe away the excess debris with a paper towel after you are done cooking.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

On the other hand, stainless steel does not get as hot as a cast iron grill.  Your grill grate may darken over time, even though this will not affect the taste of your meat.

 Stainless steel BBQ grills tend to have to be larger to retain the heat they need to cook your meat.  If you are looking for smaller grill, this may be a detractor from choosing a stainless steel grill.  Your portability is limited with stainless steel.

Cast iron grill grates retain heat longer and keep heat even over the surface of the grill.  These grills do last a long time, though they should be protected from the elements. 

Oiling them ahead of time can also add a desirable flavor to your food.  They should also be oiled in between uses to keep them seasoned and protected from rust.

On the downside, these grill grates will corrode and rust easier than the stainless steel models.  They should not be left out in the elements. 

They have to be cleaned while the grates are warm, and they require more maintenance than the stainless steel grills do.  You may need to oil your grates after each use to keep them in prime shape.  However, you may get a better flavor from doing this.

You have to take these facts and weigh them against what is important to your grill grates.  Do you need the durability of stainless steel?  Do you prefer the easy clean up? 

Or do you like the way your meat tastes when you pull it off that cast iron grate?  Is it worth it to you to oil you grate and keep it in ship shape?  There is not one single answer to this question.

The best grill out there will be the one you deem is best for your family and your purposes.  Take the time to look through the different grills in the store and their features. 

Lift the grates, and see how you feel about them.  Maybe ask a friend or two which kind of grates they prefer.  Better yet, get yourself an invitation to try food cooked on either type of grill at your friends’ or family members’ houses.

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What Do You Do With New Grill Grates?

What you do with your new grill grates depends on what kind they are.

Below are the two different kinds of grill grates and explanations for what to do with them:

  • Cast iron
  • Stainless Steel

If you have just purchased new cast iron grill grates, you are going to need to smooth oil over them to help season them and prevent sticking. 

You will then pull the other grates out of your grill and slide the new grates in.  Oiling these grates between uses is also an advisable practice.

If you have just purchased stainless steel grill grates, all you need to do is pop the old grates out, and slide the new grates in. 

There is nothing difficult about installing grill grates.  Turn some heat on them to kill any germs that may be left behind from the store.

You can purchase new grill grates through the manufacturer of your grill or from a variety of camping and sporting goods stores. 

Depending on the type of grill you have purchased, you may have to buy the same brand grates, or you may can install generic grill grates.  Just make sure the size is correct before you purchase new grates for your grill.

Do Grill Grates Rust?

Grill grates can rust over time, but cast iron grill grates are more likely to rust than stainless steel grill grates. 

Here are some suggestions to keep your grill grates from rusting:

  • Cover all cast iron grill grates in oil between uses
  • Keep your grill in a covered area
  • If you do not grill in a covered area, have a safe place to store grill between uses

Cast iron grill grates are more likely to rust than stainless steel grill grates, but there are precautions you may take. 

If you have purchased cast iron grill grates, they are likely already covered in porcelain or some other kind of base to help protect against rusting.  It will also help if you keep them covered in oil.  Apply fresh oil in between uses for the best results.

The best practice for all grills and grill parts is to keep the grill in a covered area, out of the weather.  Covered decks and patios are safe places for your grill and for the grates inside. 

If you take your grill with you when you travel, you may want to pull the grates and put them away in a dry place if it rains.

If you are not able to keep you grill in a safe, covered area at all times, at least consider storing it out of the weather between uses.  If you have a shed or something like it, that will work perfectly. 

Rain is hard on a grill and on grill grates, particularly if they are made of cast iron.  So keep your grill out of the weather!  Your grates will last you much longer this way.

How Do You Clean Gas Grill Grates?

To better discuss how to clean grill grates, we will needs to break them down into categories again.  Of course, there are only two categories.

Here are the two kinds of grill grates:

  • Cast iron
  • Stainless steel

To clean a cast iron grill, you will need to leave the burners on after cooking.  Let any excess grease or grit burn off of your grates.  Take a wire brush and scrape the grates repeatedly, while the grill is still hot. 

After you have done this, wipe the grill down with a wet, soapy rag.  Then clean the soap off, and dry your grates off to prevent rusting.

If you have stainless steel grates, you do not have to clean them while they are still hot.  All you need to do is wipe them down with a wet towel or even a paper towel. 

The food does not stick to these grates, so any residue comes off easily.  Also, wipe your grill down before uses to clean off things such as pollen that may have stuck to the grates.

It is nice not to have to employ the use of a wire brush with your stainless steel grill grates.  The reason I prefer these types of grates is that they are pretty much always ready to go. 

There is less work involved on the whole, and that is a huge upside when you have a busy life and a big family to prepare food for.  That is the busy mom opinion for you! 

We have weighed the pros and cons of both cast iron grill grates and stainless steel grill grates. 

One person’s preference may not be the same as another’s.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each kind of grill grate.  I hope this article has been informative when it comes to how to make the best choice in grill grates for your household.  The choice is solely up to you, though.

One thing we can all agree on is the enjoyment of the grilling experience.  There is nothing more relaxing than opening up that grill, throwing on some juicy steaks, and cracking open a couple of cold ones.

Families and friends alike love to gather around the grill, and when it comes down to it, they really don’t care what kind of grates you are using.

People just want to spend time together.  So when it comes to choosing the proper grates for you, decide what aspects are most important to you and go with what you are most comfortable with. 

Whether you are more intent on flavor or easy clean up, the main thing is that you get out on that patio and enjoy your grill!

Of course, you should also pay attention to upkeep.  Taking good care of your grill and grates will make them last longer.  If you follow the advice in this article, you can keep your grill grates safe and clean. 

Not only that, but they will be ready for use the next time you decide to fire up that grill.  Like anything else, the duration of our grill grates will depend on what good care we take of them.

If you are haphazard with your clean-up, and you do not store your grill properly, you can expect your grates to rust and not hold up to the elements, regardless of what kind of grates you are using. 

If you are taking special care of your grill, you will be more apt to notice the difference in the types of grates, and they will last you longer.

Proper grill care is essential when it comes to keeping your grates in tip top condition.  If you are careless with them, then it will not really matter whether your grill grates are made of stainless steel or cast iron. 

A grill should be taken good care of, just like any other appliance.  It is an investment for your family, and if you expect it to last, you have to follow the best practices for upkeep.

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