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Old 06-27-10, 01:23 PM   #1
BigBassin144
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Default Grill Grates: Cast Iron vs. SS

We're looking for a new grill (our current grill is about 20 yrs old and we've cooked a hole through one of the cast iron grates).

We're looking at a couple models, but one thing we can't decide on is Stainless Steel grates or porcelain coated cast iron.

We've always had cast iron grates and I love cooked on them for the flavor they provide. However, the grill we're leaning towards is SS, and I've never cooked on SS.

What do you guys prefer and why?

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Old 06-27-10, 04:12 PM   #2
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ant.. we too are looking at grills. i personally love the cast iron. DO NOT GET THE PORCELIAN coated grates. this is what is on our old one. the porcelian wears off too easy. either stainless (probably our next buy), or cast iron. i think the stainless will last longer than cast iron. but the flavor will most likely tae a back seat. we have the new smoker, now i want a gas grill to go with it. small cause it is just the 2 of us ya know. so we should be able to afford a stainless infrared model. at least that is what i am pining for, hehe. and stainless is easier to clean. ol zooker saw our OLD gas grill. think that is what made him siker when he visited us. i am sure he will rag me about it. if i can't afford a new grill. i am gonna break down the old one and UPGRADE it. rebuild it. sith stainless grates and such.
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Old 06-27-10, 05:00 PM   #3
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I prefer cast iron grates for a couple of reasons. They hold the heat about as well as any material out there, so once you get them good and hot, they tend to stay that way. I also like the flavor that a cast iron grate produces, especially after it has been good and seasoned. The last reason is that I feel like food tends to stick allot less to a good seasoned cast iron grate. I think grilling is allot like anything else, go with what you like and if it makes you happy, you got the right one.

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Old 06-28-10, 07:26 AM   #4
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I too prefer the cast iron grates. Not to take issue with Bama, but the model I purchased 3 years ago, which is a Sears brand grill, came with the porcelien coated cast iron grates and they still look like new. Now my old grill of many years back was a different story. The porcelien coating on those grates did come off, but the newer ones on my new grill have held up well.
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Old 06-28-10, 10:39 AM   #5
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It really depends on how well you use and care for cast iron.. I personally love cast iron, but if you dont use it much or you let the grates get too hot, they loose their "seasoning" and everything sticks... but if you get em good and seasoned, cast iron is teh best way to go... period...
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Old 06-28-10, 01:10 PM   #6
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I'm going against the grain, but I hate cast iron grates and prefer the porcelain coated.
You can never really burn off cast iron grates w/o removing the 'seasoning' (rancid fat) and for me, I could never seem to keep them from rusting. (Grill is on the deck on the north side where it's always a cooler and often damp).
As far as the porcelain wearing off, good management with heat burn off and a brass brush, mine last nearly forever.
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Old 06-28-10, 05:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithdog View Post
I too prefer the cast iron grates. Not to take issue with Bama, but the model I purchased 3 years ago, which is a Sears brand grill, came with the porcelien coated cast iron grates and they still look like new. Now my old grill of many years back was a different story. The porcelien coating on those grates did come off, but the newer ones on my new grill have held up well.
Keith, if you wouldn't mind letting me know here, or in PM what model grill you've got (I'm assuming it's a Kenmore), and how you like it. A Kenmore was one of our possible options.

Thanks for the other opinions guys. I think we're leaning towards cast iron. But if we find a great deal on a better grill than we were expecting we'll deal with whatever grates come on it, lol.

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Old 06-28-10, 06:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbeysdad View Post
I'm going against the grain, but I hate cast iron grates and prefer the porcelain coated.
You can never really burn off cast iron grates w/o removing the 'seasoning' (rancid fat) and for me, I could never seem to keep them from rusting. (Grill is on the deck on the north side where it's always a cooler and often damp).
As far as the porcelain wearing off, good management with heat burn off and a brass brush, mine last nearly forever.

The seasoning of a piece of cast iron is anything but rancid fat, it is actually carbon. Here is a good article that explains it in detail. If your grates are rusting they are not seasoned properly.

http://www.melindalee.com/Cast-Iron.html
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Old 06-28-10, 06:53 PM   #9
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Stainless steel is what you want...for burners. Grates need to be cast iron to get the flavor you're looking for. I have had both standard cast grates and coated grates. I really prefer to cook on uncoated, but they don't last long.
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Old 06-28-10, 07:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBassin144 View Post
Keith, if you wouldn't mind letting me know here, or in PM what model grill you've got (I'm assuming it's a Kenmore), and how you like it. A Kenmore was one of our possible options.

Thanks for the other opinions guys. I think we're leaning towards cast iron. But if we find a great deal on a better grill than we were expecting we'll deal with whatever grates come on it, lol.

BB
Sure. The Sears model I have is the Kenmore 141.16313800. Best grill I've ever owned. It's a 4 burner grill with a lower catch tray which makes cleanup much easier. Lots of other reasons I chose this grill as well. Check it out. I really like how it's made compared to most other grills I looked at. I love the Webbers, and if I win the lottery someday, I might own one of those too.
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Old 06-29-10, 10:58 AM   #11
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Thanks Keith.

I know Kenmore's aren't the best grills out there, but compared to the other cheaper brands (and by cheaper, I mean not Weber, Broilmaster, etc) they seems like they're constructed far better. And at least with Kenmore, you know you'll have good (or at least decent) customer service compared to the possibility of none with other cheap chinese made grills.

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Old 06-29-10, 01:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tavery5 View Post
The seasoning of a piece of cast iron is anything but rancid fat, it is actually carbon. Here is a good article that explains it in detail. If your grates are rusting they are not seasoned properly.

http://www.melindalee.com/Cast-Iron.html
I was a cook for many years in a past life - yes, you can season with highly refined shortening, vegetable oil being a poor second. The fact is that the BBQ grill sees a lot of animal fat which will become rancid if not thoroughly burned off.
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Old 06-29-10, 04:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbeysdad View Post
I was a cook for many years in a past life - yes, you can season with highly refined shortening, vegetable oil being a poor second. The fact is that the BBQ grill sees a lot of animal fat which will become rancid if not thoroughly burned off.

I wont argue that, the left over fat from cooking a piece of pork or a fatty piece of beef can def. become rancid if you do not allow it to burn off. However to carbonize cast iron takes roughly 400 -500 degrees of heat, I think you will agree that you can safely burn off the left overs at a much lower temp than that without any harm to seasoned cast iron. I have never had any problems with it, and I am still useing handed down pans that are more than 80 years old. Mineral oil is sometimes used to wipe down castiron as it will not become rancid. I prefer to wash with hot water and wipe it down with a little wok oil.
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Old 06-29-10, 07:09 PM   #14
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Thanks Keith.

I know Kenmore's aren't the best grills out there, but compared to the other cheaper brands (and by cheaper, I mean not Weber, Broilmaster, etc) they seems like they're constructed far better. And at least with Kenmore, you know you'll have good (or at least decent) customer service compared to the possibility of none with other cheap chinese made grills.

BB
I only used the customer service once after I purchased my Kenmore grill. I was having trouble getting the rotiserie burner in the rear of the grill to light. Thought something was wrong with it. Turns out nothing was wrong with it. I just wasn't lighting it properly. Anyways, I called Sears to ask for help. The very next day a Sears grill guy was at my door, showed me what I was doing wrong, and left without giving me a bill. And your right about how they are made. Compare the actual construction of the Kenmore to many other grills and you'll see that they are better built than most. Few people look at the grill from the back side and from underneith. Too bad, cause they would see things they never thought of before.
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