When it’s time to replace your grate or if you just want to grill using the best grate in the market, you will ask yourself – what is the best grate material to use?
There are several points to consider when choosing your grate:
- It should be resilient and durable
- It should retain and transfer heat well
- It should keep food from sticking
- It should be easy to maintain
Here are the 3 Top Choices:
Bare Cast Iron
Bare Cast Iron is the most popular grate material since it holds the heat longer and cooks evenly. Your steaks will be nicely seared and will cook for a shorter period of time. Your meat will also have those defining grill marks. The downside of bare cast iron grates is that it requires a lot of maintenance. Every time you grill, you need to scrub the cast iron grate with a grill brush and then oil it lightly while the grate is still warm. This is to prevent rust from developing.
When you don’t use your cast iron grate for a long time, rust will still develop even though you oiled it the last time you used it. You will still need to scrape, clean and oil it before using. Best to keep it inside if you won’t be using it for a while.
Porcelain Coated Cast Iron
If you like the properties of a cast iron grate but not the hassle of maintaining it, you can get a Porcelain Coated Cast Iron grate. It has the same heating properties and durability except that it doesn’t rust due to the porcelain coating. Don’t use metal scrapers so you don’t chip off the porcelain. It doesn’t require babysitting but you do need to be careful when handling it. If the porcelain chips away, rust will start settling in. This is a good grate material for charcoal grills.
Stainless Steel cooking grates are great for barbecues and camping cooking grills. It takes a longer time to rust – and good quality stainless steel grates don’t rust at all. Although less durable than cast iron, they will last a long time with proper care. It is very easy to clean as compared to other materials and does not require regular oiling after use. The material is light and is easy to lift when you need to add charcoal to your grill. The downside is that this material doesn’t retain heat as well as the cast iron grate. It will not sear your steaks as effectively. During cooking, you need to oil it lightly so the food won’t stick. It will be a challenge cooking fish without it sticking to the grate. It is also more expensive.