Although gas versus charcoal ignites fiery debates, this issue is only one of the primary factors that you must consider when evaluating barbecue grills by type. Another important subject is the grill grates, which are available in stainless steel and cast iron. Each material has a unique set of characteristics that affect how your meat cooks and the level of maintenance required to prepare or clean the grates. The best grates for your grill will depend upon your cooking technique and lifestyle.
Barbecue Grills by Type
Cast Iron Grates
These grates are heavier and usually more difficult to maneuver than their stainless steel counterparts. Because it is a denser material, cast iron has superior heat retention characteristics. This quality is readily apparent when you initially place cold meat on the grill. Cast iron requires some additional maintenance because it is susceptible to rust, which can cause the metal grate to fail. Before and after you cook, you must create a waterproof barrier by spraying or wiping the grate with vegetable oil. You must also clean the grill with a wire bristle brush after each use to remove any food that adheres to the metal. Instead of regular cast iron grates, you can use grates with an enamel coating that prevents moisture from contacting the metal. Enamel-coated grates also prevent food from adhering to the surface and eliminate the requirement to apply vegetable oil before and after cooking.
Stainless Steel Barbecue Grills
Various models and types of barbecue grills are equipped with stainless steel grates, which do not require the same level of maintenance as cast iron. As their name implies, this metal is not susceptible to rust. The grates are lighter and easier to move, but they do not retain heat as well as cast iron. This may cause food to adhere to the grill grate if the temperature of the metal suddenly drops when cold food is placed on the surface. Thicker versions of these grates retain heat better and are less susceptible to warping. The best way to remove excess grease and food residue from a stainless steel grate is soapy water and a wire brush.
Portable Versus Built-In
How will you use your barbecue grill? Do you want to invest in a permanent, built-in one? Would you prefer one on wheels that you can move around, perhaps out of the weather when necessary, with ease? Does it make sense for you to buy a tabletop version? This might make more sense if you want to take it with you on picnics and outings or for camping. Before buying, there are many sizes to fit your needs.
When selecting from the wide number of available barbecue grills by type, ensure that you choose the one that best fits your lifestyle. Although gas and stainless steel grates are easier to use, it is commonly believed that charcoal and cast iron are worth the additional work because they produce the best flavor.