Barbecue grills are amazing. They're the focal point of so many outdoor memories between friends and family and are wonderful to use and show off when they're new and shiny. But parts of that barbecue grill will need to be replaced someday, the grill grate is one that will need replacing at least once over the life of your grill. Cast-iron grates may corrode over time and porcelain coated ones can chip away.
Damaged grates sometimes often contain bits of burned or dried food that are difficult to remove, making it harder to maintain the quality of food cooked on the old grill. There are a number of valid reasons to replace the grates on a barbecue grill, here are just a few of them.
A small amount of rust on a grill grate shouldn't be cause for too much concern. It can easily be removed with a wire brush. But if there are large splotches of rust throughout the grate that go deep into the metal and can't be completely removed with a wire brush, it's time to retire that grate.
Rust can flake off and get into food being cooked on an old overused grate which can then affect the taste of the food. And though small amounts of iron oxide aren't an immediate health risk, using a rusted grate can pose health issues over time. It's better to be safe than sorry when preparing food for oneself or loved ones.
Old, worn out grates often start to chip away. This creates an uneven cooking or grilling surface. Grates that are covered in porcelain are often prone to chipping when they are banged, dropped, or scrubbed too often. A chip on a coated grill can provide an entry point for moisture, increasing the likelihood of rust which also weakens the metal. If porcelain chips away someone could potentially hurt their mouth if a larger piece ends up on their food.
If there is a significant amount of chips found throughout the grate, it's best to replace it with a new one.
Sometimes grates get so dirty that they can't just be cleaned anymore. If you have soaked the grill, scrubbed and brushed your grate with a stiff wire brush, but you can't get it clean, it's finally time for a replacement. Debris accumulates whenever the grate hasn't been properly cared for over time. To extend the life of any grate, regularly clean it and brush away any debris and food that gets stuck on it.
You don't always have to replace a grill grate because it's damaged. Many people change their grill grate because they're looking for something else out of their grill even if they love the barbecue itself. For instance, if you want better grill marks on your meat or food to retain heat for a long time, switch to a cast-iron grill. If you want a low-maintenance grate that's easier to clean and maintain, switch to stainless steel grill.
Hans Fredrick has been busy in the online writing world since 2005. He has written on diverse topics ranging from career advice for actors to tips for motorcycle maintenance. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan.