The outdoor cooking grate is the heart and soul of the outdoor barbecue. This piece of equipment is essential for outdoor grilling and barbecuing because it holds the foods over the fire. Without a cooking grate you might be limited to roasting marshmallows over an open flame. When you have a grate, however, there are many delicious open grill outdoor cooking recipes you can prepare and enjoy when camping.
Purchasing an Outdoor Cooking Grate
There are many things to consider when purchasing a new grate. Cooking grates come in almost every size and type you could imagine. You'll need to consider the size of the grill when making your choice. You must also keep in mind how much food you plan on cooking and specifically what items you intend to cook on the grate.
Cast Iron Grates
Cast Iron grates are very popular. Their wide cast maintains heat for extended periods of time and enables the food to be cooked quickly and evenly. The only disadvantage to cast iron grates is the maintenance necessary to prevent them from rusting. Regular cleaning and seasoning is required to keep the grates clean. Most grates include instructions explaining exactly how to maintain them. Though seasoning is necessary to maintain cast iron grates, they can last a lifetime if they are well taken care of.
Porcelain Coated Iron Grates
Many people don't want to bother with keeping up the maintenance with the cast iron grates. A good option for these campers is porcelain coated cast iron grates. These types of grates don't have to be seasoned and they offer the advantage of providing longer lasting heat. One disadvantage is that the porcelain coating can potentially wear off if you don't exercise great caution when you are using it. The porcelain offen cracks or chips off when not handled with care. Brass bristles provide for a better method of cleaning the grate, rather than the jagged edges of traditional metal often used to clean outdoor cooking grates.
Stainless Cooking Grates
Stainless grates are not quite as durable as the cast iron grates. That being said, with proper maintenance they can last a very long time and potentially save you some money. Stainless steel grates coated with porcelain are also available. Porcelain coating on stainless steel is often thin with wide spacing that cannot maintain as much heat as porcelain coated iron grates. Stainless porcelain coated grates are great for smoking meats and cooking at lower temperatures, yet some people don't like them because they don't hold heat as well as other types, and they don't leave those infamous grill marks on the food.
Cooking grates usually come with warranties, and for this reason it's often better to purchase new grates than used grates. You never know when a used grate might start to show some signs of rust, so at least with a new grill you can use that warranty if something goes wrong.
There are many factors to consider when purchasing outdoor cooking grates. Maintenance, material, durability, size and cost should all influence your decision in choosing a new cooking grate. There are many different types of grates for outside cooking. Sizes range from tiny grates for barbecues and outdoor cooking stoves, to enormous campfire cooking grates. Options are numerous so you should have no problem finding exactly what you need. Many leading companies such as Weber often offer grates of higher quality than the standard ones which they sell with new grills. As a general rule, it is usually a good decision to purchase stainless steel grates because they're lightweight and you don't have to worry too much about rust and regular maintenance.