How to buy a BBQ?

The cooking surface is the most important part of a BBQ.  The material used should be strong and resilient.  It should provide good heat transfer, be durable, and help keep food from sticking.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be a non-stick surface as in Teflon but food shouldn’t stick any more than necessary.

Typically, gas grills have either plain steel, cast iron, porcelain coated cast iron, stainless steel, or porcelain coated steel.  Now the intense heat of the grill can wear down these metals if they are thin or poor quality.  Actually the worst thing you can do to a cooking grate is heat it up and then throw cold food on it, but that’s grilling.  It is important to keep you grate clean and in the case of bare cast iron to keep it oiled to prevent rusting.

Plain Steel

Now plain steel tends to lose its temper and start developing chips which make the surface rough and uneven.  This leads to sticking.  The plain, thin rod type grate is bad so stay away from it.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel can also lose much of its non-stick abilities and get chipped up but not nearly as fast as the plain steel units.  Stainless steel will work well for a long time, but not as long as cast iron or porcelain coated surfaces.

Porcelain Coated Cast Iron

Porcelain has a nasty habit of chipping away and exposing the metal underneath to moisture and can cause rust, especially in porcelain coated cast iron.  This isn’t to say that porcelain coatings can be bad, but cheap porcelain coatings can be.  If you do have a porcelain coated cooking grate you need to keep hard metal scrapers and tools away from it.  A metal bristle brush is okay, but no scrapers. See cleaning instructions.

Bare Cast Iron

Bare cast iron not only gets hot, but it retains a lot of heat.  It gives good grill marks and helps get food cooking faster.  However, a bare cast iron cooking grate needs the most maintance.  This means keeping it clean and making sure that it is well oiled over the entire surface.  During grilling grease and fats will build up on the surface of the grate and this works to help protect the grate, but you don’t grill on every single square inch of the grate so you need to take them out frequently and make sure there is now rust and that they are well oiled.  One of the problems a grill presents to cast iron parts is that the intense heat causes grease to vaporize and therefore burn away.  Just because you grill fatty burgers all the time doesn’t mean that you’ve got enough oil in the right places.

A good, heavy cast iron grate should last for decades if you take care of it.  If you simply are not willing to do the work, go for a high quality porcelain coated cast iron grate.  You get the heat characteristics of cast iron in a rust resistant surface.  When you buy your cooking grate though, get a good grill cleaning brush that won’t chip the porcelain.

How to clean Porcelain Coated Cast Iron

  1. Clean up your grill one day before you want to BBQ.
  2. Lay out some newspaper, about four sheets thick, and place your dirty porcelain-covered grills on it.
  3. Put on your rubber gloves and spray on an even coating of oven cleaner to one side, then flip them over and spray the other side in the same way.
  4. Allow the oven cleaner to work overnight, but make sure the dirty grates are out of the reach of pets and children. The oven cleaner is caustic and can cause nasty burns if not rinsed off immediately.
  5. Pick up the porcelain-covered grates and rinse them down in the morning with a generous amount of water. Carefully ball up the newspaper and put it in the garbage. Your grills should be nice and clean.
  6. Scrub any stubborn areas with fine steel wool and dish detergent in warm water. Rinse again and wipe dry. The grates should now be spotless.
  7. Spray the grates with vegetable oil non-stick spray and rub it in with a paper towel.
  8. Heat your grill with the newly cleaned porcelain covered grates to about 400 degrees F and let it burn off any soap residue.
  9. Cool it back down to 350 degrees and spray lightly with the non-stick spray. Your grill is now ready for stress-free and non-stick cooking!
  10. After cooking, remove the cooked food and give the grates a good scraping with the wire brush to remove any foods while it is still hot. Wipe it down with a rag and a little vegetable oil after it has cooled down to about 200 degrees or less and it will be ready for the next time.
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Published in: on June 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and without
    a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy that I came across this in my hunt for something relating to this.


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