Grills can come with several different types of grill grates, the most popular being either stainless steel or cast iron. It’s common knowledge that cast iron cooking pieces need to be given special maintenance to avoid rusting, but grill grates often get overlooked. Nobody likes the idea of cooking and eating food that was just on rusted grates, that can’t be very healthy.
So, remember that your cast iron grill requires special steps to ensure that you will get a long life and keep your food tasting great.
Seasoning your Cast Iron
Cast Iron is a definite favorite for grillers, but it’s not only because of the flavor cast iron is believed to responsible for but also because of its durability and even heating. But to ensure that your cast iron stands the test of time it’s important to season your cast iron before you start using it.
Some cast iron grill grates have a porcelain coating on them. There are some manufacturers that still recommend these grates be seasoned as well. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for your grill.
The seasoning process involves covering your piece with oil or fat and then baking for a period of time. This process will season the cast iron and protect it from rusting and create a non-stick surface. When you purchase your grill refer to the Manufacturer’s directions regarding seasoning your cast iron grill grates. If there are no included instruction follow these directions recommended by Firecraft:
- Rinse your grate with warm water and dry with a towel. Do not use soap on it.
- Using a paper towel, rub the grate down with Crisco or vegetable oil. Make sure you cover the entire piece. You may also use PAM spray.
- Place the grate in the oven, gradually raising the temperature to 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 40 minutes.
- Turn off oven and let grate cool off.
Prestige Grilling recommends that you season your cast iron three times for best results. After your initial seasoning, it is recommended that you re-season your grill after every five cooks. There are some that prefer to do this process after every cook. Before you re-season, though, make sure you clean the grate before applying the oil or Crisco.
Cleaning your Cast Iron Grates
You have seasoned your cast iron grill grate but there will still be regular upkeep of your grate. Bar-B-Clean Southwest Florida, a service that does grill cleaning in Naples, FL, says that you must clean cast iron grill grates regularly and continue to season them as well. When cleaning you will want to remove all stuck-on food and build-up. The following tips will keep your grate as good as new.
- Clean grate after every cook
- It’s easier to remove leftover food from the grate when it is still warm, so it’s best to clean your grate while the grill is cooling right after cooking.
- In case of grates that have a porcelain coating use a stainless steel or brass bristle brush or a wooden scraper to clean your grate.
- In case of porcelain coating don’t brush the grate too vigorously.
- Don’t ever wash your grate in the dishwasher.
- If you are having a difficult time getting a piece of food off the grate then heat some water and use that to loosen the food.
Removing Rust from your Grill Grate
Whether, or not, your cast iron grill grates have been properly seasoned and maintained; it is normal to encounter rust spots from time to time. Don’t worry, this isn’t the end of your grill grate. Here are some ways you can take to get rid of the rust and extend the life of your cast iron:
- Soap – For this circumstance, it is okay to use hot water and soap to clean rust spots off your cast iron grate, according to Firecraft. Just scrub at spots until they are gone and rinse with warm water.
- Baking Soda – Use baking soda and mix it with water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste to the surface of the grate and allow to sit for several hours. Scrub paste off using an abrasive tool, such as steel wool or a wire brush.
- Vinegar – Using plain white vinegar rub the surface of the grate until you see the rust start to dissolve. Then take an abrasive tool and scrub the rust. Repeat until all the rust is gone.
- Salt – Using kosher salt and water make a thick paste. Apply paste to the surface and then use an abrasive tool to scrub the rust away. Repeat process if needed.
After you have removed any rust from your cast iron you will need to re-season your grate. Follow the directions above to re-season your cast iron grill grate.
Remember, your food will only taste as good as you make it. Make sure you keep your cast iron grill grate in top-notch shape so you eat top-notch food!