The bbq ceramic grill grate is an important part of your cookware because it is in direct contact with your food.
You want a cooking surface that provides excellent heat transfer, prevents food from sticking, and is hard wearing.
Choosing the right grill grate is a big decision because it can affect how your food cooks. Making such a choice can be difficult because grill manufacturers like to use a lot of marketing terms to describe their grills.
To keep things as simple as possible, we’re going to break down the different kinds of grill grates. And discuss what the best material to use for a bbq ceramic grill. Then give you the information you need to make the right choice.
What Types of BBQ Grates Are There?
Most grill grates are made of cast iron, stainless steel, or one of these enamel-coated substrates.
There is some debate about which grill material will give the best results, so we’ll break down each material and provide a list of pros and cons.
1. Stainless Steel Grille Grille
Stainless steel grates are the most affordable option. They tend to be light, which makes them easy to move, which is useful when you need to reach the coals below.
The light weight also means that the stainless steel grill heats up quickly. However, because they tend to be thinner, they don’t hold heat as well
Proper stainless steel is highly corrosion resistant, but not 100% corrosion resistant. Over time, the heat of the coals and regular cleaning can degrade the surface of your grill grate.
This creates a rough surface that is prone to corrosion and allows food to stick together.
•Lightweight and easy to move
•Very corrosion resistant when new
•Cooking surfaces degrade over time
•Abrasion can cause food to stick
•Low thermal insulation
We have a whole article on the best stainless steel grills if you want to learn more.
2. Cast Iron Grill Grates
Cast iron grills have a solid reputation for retaining heat and producing even cooking temperatures.
Thicker cast iron will take longer to heat than stainless steel. However, once they reach cooking temperature, you can expect excellent heat transfer and noticeable sear marks.
The downside of a cast iron grill is that it is heavy and expensive to maintain.
A heavy grate can make it difficult for you to reach the coals and move the grate when it needs to be cleaned.
The porous surface of cast iron grates is prone to rust and requires regular maintenance. However, when properly maintained and rust removed, cast iron bakeware is extremely durable and will likely outlast your cookware.
•Produces an even cooking temperature
•Very durable if properly maintained
•Produces nice burn marks
•Easy to corrode
•Need frequent maintenance
•Needs to be seasoned to be non sticky
3. Enamel grill grates
Enameled grill grates are standard stainless steel or cast iron grills with a smooth enamel finish. The coating forms a non-stick layer that also prevents corrosion on metal surfaces.
While the enamel layer does solve some of the corrosion issues of cast iron and the insulation of stainless steel, it has its drawbacks.
The enamel layer crumbles during cleaning, and moisture getting in can cause the underlying surface to rust. Chipped enamel grill grates also quickly lose their non-stick properties.
•Create better heat retention on stainless steel grills
•Protecting Cast Iron Grills from Corrosion
•Add an extra nonstick coating
•Breaks easily if not cleaned properly
•Lost many benefits once damaged
So What Is the Best Material To Use for a BBQ Ceramic Grill?
Overall, cast iron grates provide the best cooking surface but require additional maintenance.
You’ll need to work a little harder to keep your cast iron grate in premium condition. It needs regular seasoning to keep it non-stick and rust-free.
In return, you’ll get excellent heat retention and distribution along with a striking scorch mark. Thicker cast-iron grills work better when cooking delicate cuts, such as fish or chicken fillets.
It may be tempting to opt for an enamel-coated cast iron grate to improve its corrosion resistance. The problem is that enamel is usually far less durable than the cast iron it covers.
Cracked enamel will absorb moisture, rust the iron underneath, and be difficult to remove. That’s why we recommend a more straightforward combination of standard cast iron grill grates and good old fashioned elbow grease!
Cleaning and Caring for Your BBQ Grate
Stainless steel grill grates are easy to clean. Just line some aluminum foil over the grate to help burn off cooking residue, then scrub with a nylon brush.
After cooking, burn off as much residue as possible on the cast iron grate. Then, when the weather is cooler, use a grill brush and scraper to remove any residue.
Cast iron grills need to be “seasoned” with oil. This fills their porous surface with a polymeric layer that prevents corrosion and prevents food from sticking. This needs to be done after each use.
The best way to do this is to warm up your grill grates slightly to warm it up and make sure it’s dry. Then apply a thin layer of vegetable oil with a kitchen towel.
To avoid damaging the enamel, it is best to use a brass brush rather than a scraper when cleaning an enamel grill. Be careful not to drop the enamel grill as this will crack the coating.
Find the right grill grate for you
There’s a lot to like about cast iron grill grates. However, as with most cooking equipment, you should find a grill that suits your grilling style.