Pimp Your Grill with a Cast Iron Grill Grate
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I’ve been seeing a great deal on the web of late about BBQ Grill users using cast iron grate sets on their grills, specifically Weber kettle grills. Having long been an owner of a Lodge cast iron skillet and indoor cast iron grate for our stove top, my interest in cast iron grates for the grill is beginning to grow more and more.
The history of cookware in this country can be summed up by two words: cast iron. With origins that date back to China around 513 B.C., our contemporary understanding of cast iron cooking as it exists today dates back to a more recent period closer to the turn on the century.
It was at this time that cast iron implements were coming into their own as key components for cooking, including stoves, pots, and pans. The key benefit to using cast iron is that it is such a great conductor and retainer of heat, which is a great quality whether you’re baking, deep frying, or searing. Since this is a site dedicated to all things BBQ, I want to share some of the cast iron cooking resources I’ve found to have the most to do with “heating the meat.”
My first experience with cast iron grates or cast iron grill grates, whatever you’re accustomed to calling them, was as a kid. My Dad used to cook burgers and steaks on a cast iron grate in the kitchen whenever the weather was not conducive to outdoor grilling, or when we ran out of propane for our gas grill. The thing I loved most about the taste our steaks and burgers had when cooked on our cast iron grill grate was the seared brown goodness the cast iron imparts. It actually got to where we all liked the steaks made on our indoor cast iron grate better than we did when they were cooked on the outdoor gas grill!
Caring for Your Cast Iron Grate
Cast iron grate sets are virtually indestructible. The key of course is to make sure they’re seasoned properly and remain so throughout their life. Consider the care and feeding of your cast iron grill grates a relationship based on give and take. You give them regular TLC with a brush up and oil down, they give you awesome seared BBQ grill goodness!
Some cast iron grill grate users state that they can get by with brushing down their grill grates with a brass brush (as brass won’t scratch up the surface of the cast iron) and then wiping them down with canola oil.
In any case, it’s a good idea to scrape your cast iron grill grates off with a wire brush of some kind after each cook and then coat the grates with some sort of oil. There are those who feel that liquid vegetable oils can leave a sticky residue, so they opt instead to use bacon grease or lard. Experiment to see which one you prefer. When you next fire up your grill, the cast iron grates will heat up and the oil will burn away in much the same way that occurs in a self-cleaning oven.
This process is similar to how I clean off my 12 inch Lodge cast iron skillet. I mix in some coarse kosher or sea salt with lard and get to scrubbing. I do find that vegetable oil can sometimes leave a sticky residue, so lard is often my choice. Darn. Have to make more pork or bacon.
If your cast iron grill grate set sits out in a moist or wet environment for long enough to gather rust, you’ll have to use a wire brush or fine grit sand paper to get the rust off. One cool trick from the Cast Iron Grate site for getting rust off of the area between the rods of your grill grate is to mix some pork fat (lard) with some salt and coat the grates with it. They then fire up the grill and the fat and salt mixture carries away much of the rust, dripping down into the grill. After the fat has been rendered off, brush the grates down with a wire brush. They do state that this little “trick” is a quick fix, and that it is best to not let your cast iron grates get rusty in the first place.
If you feel you need to re season your cast iron grill grates at any time, you can wash them up in warm soapy water and apply a wire brush to get the gunk off. Then, coat the grill grates in a layer of lard or vegetable oil, place on your grill over high heat, and let it cook for a few hours.
As always, keeping your grates brushed off and seasoned after each cook is the best way to keep them in good cooking order.
Video Resources for Learning More About Cast Iron Grates
Using a Cast Iron Grate set on a Weber Grill
If you own a Weber grill, this video will give you a great idea of how to put your new cast iron grate set to good use.
Review of the Craycort Cast Iron Grate For the Weber Little Smokey Grill
A great review of how to use the Craycort cast iron grate set on your Weber Smokey Joe Grill. T-Bones and some Belgian endive, to boot! Good stuff.
Where to Buy a Cast Iron Grate Set for Your Grill
As you can tell, I’m a big fan of Amazon for my personal shopping, and as a way to pay for the management of this blog. As it happens, Amazon does sell the cast iron grate products made by 4GrillersJoy for both 18.5″ and 22.5″ kettle grills. So, for those of you currently grilling on Weber grills, you might want to pop on over to Amazon and give one of these bad boys a try.
Cast Iron Grate, Pre Seasoned, Modular, Fits 18.5" Grills and Large Big Green Eggs
9 total customer reviews...
As mentioned above, these are the cast iron grates made by the 4GrillersJoy folks. They’re great for true cast iron heat retention and users report that they sear and distribute heat like nothing they’ve ever tried. One bit of warning, you’ll have to work a little to maintain these as they will rust on you if left alone for too many days in a row. So, be sure to brush them off and give them a rub down with either lard or vegetable oil after each cook to keep them in tip top grilling condition.
Cast Iron Grate, Pre Seasoned, Non Stick Cooking Surface, Modular Fits 22.5" Grills
50 total customer reviews...
Again, As mentioned above, this cast iron grate is made by the 4GrillersJoy folks. As mentioned above, always make sure that you brush them off and give them a rub down with either lard or vegetable oil after each cook to keep them in tip top grilling condition.
This Weber cast iron grate set measures 20.2 x 14.6 x 2 inches and will fit grills like the Weber Spirit E-310 or those of similar size. These cast iron grates differ from those made by 4GrillersJoy in that they are porcelain coated for easy clean up and maintenance. If you feel you might not be able or willing to maintain the uncoated cast iron grate sets, you might want to opt for these instead.
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