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Caring for Porcelain Coated Cast Iron Grilling Grates

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[OP]
Member
Sep 23, 2010
247 posts
41 upvotes

Caring for Porcelain Coated Cast Iron Grilling Grates

Would love any advice, tips, feedback from the RFDs community on caring for your porcelain coated cast iron grilling grates. Last year, I treated mine no differently than stainless steel grates I had in the past and wound up throwing out the rusty mess this year. :-( I far prefer the way these cook to grates SS I've had in the past, so ordered new ones. I just got my new grates and don't want to mess them up again. I've read a bit online and have the general idea, just looking for PRO tips! They haven't come out of the box yet, so I can do it right from the get go, including seasoning them (which I had never heard of before, sadly enough).

The basics steps for both initial preparation and on-going use/maintenance I was planning on following so far is outlined in the following two entries on ehow:
"Care of a Porcelain Cooking Grill"
"How to Clean Porcelain Coated Cast Iron Grates"

Basically says:
1. Initially, season the grate with vegetable oil grilling spray (300 degrees 1-2 hours)
2. Shortly after each use, clean with care (brass bristle brush) no harsh scrapping or scrubbing
3. Lubricate with fresh grilling spray after each cleaning and before each use

Anything grilling pros with these types of grates would recommend either additionally or differently? These things ain't cheap...hope to get more than a year out of these! :-)
Thanks!!
14 replies
Deal Addict
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Nov 1, 2005
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For mine usually after each use I turn it to max for 20-30 mins to dry the stuck on food and sauce to a crisp. Then when I have time after it's cooled I bring it to my sink to wash and the stuff flakes off easily because it is brittle. Then I use a sandwhich bag like a glove to cover the grills in lard then heat it up so the lard will fill in all the gaps.
Sr. Member
Dec 2, 2008
631 posts
67 upvotes
Belleville
I'd recommend using bacon fat instead of vegetable oil for seasoning the grates.

The problem with the cast iron grates is they aren't the best for grilling. They were great in my old smoker when heat was low but after grilling with high temps (lump charcoal) they started to rust like mad. You can stay on top of it by keeping them clean, but not too clean. They need grease on there constantly to prevent them from rusting. Any food bits or other debris will absorb moisture at night and accelerate the corrosion.
Deal Addict
Oct 20, 2011
1147 posts
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Mississauga
When we got our Vermount Casting BBQ is came with those grates and I also really disliked how difficult they were to clean. I stopped using them and went with the solid 304 stainless steel rod grates and found them much easier to clean. Once a year I do a really good cleaning with a wire whee,l then with scotch brite to bring the shine back to the way it was when new.
Deal Addict
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Mar 24, 2008
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Etobicoke
I found with my old grates before I had then replaced was High Temps will make the thin cheap ceramic coating burn off, crack & chip.

I try now to keep the temps to 400* or less.

Do not hit your tongs/utensils on the grates to take off food/sauce bits, leads to the ceramic chipping.

I only use Crisco lard or bacon grease to season them.

Also, they will crack and chip when used all year long, especially when used on cold days.
[OP]
Member
Sep 23, 2010
247 posts
41 upvotes
Wow...so this is sounding like a bit of a headache. I should have asked opinions before deciding to get new porcelain coated cast iron grates. Although I expected some on-going maintenance would be required, I was hoping for a solution that would keep the grates in good shape without too much effort, because in the nice weather I live on the grill. Use it a minimum of five days a week.

I'm a bit confused on one point, given the conflicting advice. One suggestion was to crank it on high for 20-30 mins after to burn stuff off, other suggestion was to avoid high heat and try not to exceed 400. The approach I used last year was to crank it on high for about 10 mins after I would use it, then lightly brush to get burnt debris off, but not sure if it was the heat, scrapping, or other that killed my old grates.

Not sounding like there is a good, somewhat easy, day-to-day approach with these grates... :(
Sr. Member
Dec 2, 2008
631 posts
67 upvotes
Belleville
The grates I used weren't porcelain coated so they may have been tougher to keep in shape. Even if they did rust it wasn't too hard to clean them up with some steel wool and season them again.

They are great for food but just need to be treated a bit differently than stainless grates.
Deal Expert
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Oct 19, 2003
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Toronto (Bloor West …
You don't need to season coated cast iron, disregard that. Keeping it running 30 minutes and cleaning with water etc. after every use is overkill and a waste.

I turn it to max, close the lid and give it 10 minutes max to burn whatever it will in that time. Then just brush off with brass bristle brush ... sometimes try to get under where the burners are once in a while and disregard all of the gunk in the green bin.

Trying to make a grill pristine after every use is a crazy amount of work for something many people use almost every day during the summer. You may need to give it a more thorough cleaning like previously described if it just grilled tons of fatty/saucy meat for a large party but for every day use just brush it off and put it away.
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Mar 24, 2008
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Etobicoke
BinaryJay wrote: You don't need to season coated cast iron, disregard that. Keeping it running 30 minutes and cleaning with water etc. after every use is overkill and a waste.

I have a Broil King and the care and cleaning instructions call for seasoning the porcelain coated grates.

QuestForKnowledge,
I stated lower temps on the basis of burning the coating off the grates in the first 3 months of ownership.
I called Broil King and the told me that this was an issue with that style grate and sent me replacements.

This only happened on the middle burner that was almost generating twice the heat as the outer two burners.
This in turn burnt off the coating on the centre protion.
Deal Expert
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Oct 19, 2003
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Toronto (Bloor West …
Techhead wrote: I have a Broil King and the care and cleaning instructions call for seasoning the porcelain coated grates.

QuestForKnowledge,
I stated lower temps on the basis of burning the coating off the grates in the first 3 months of ownership.
I called Broil King and the told me that this was an issue with that style grate and sent me replacements.

This only happened on the middle burner that was almost generating twice the heat as the outer two burners.
This in turn burnt off the coating on the centre protion.

I've never heard of that... I just googled and one of the first hits states...

*Porcelain-coated Cast Iron
Porcelain Cast Iron Grates included with some Char-Broil grill models, like RED, do not require seasoning. These grates should be cleaned regularly with a heavy-duty grill brush, such as the Brush Hawg or Mega Brush Hawg. You can also soak the grates in a mixture of water and vinegar for a deep clean. Should your grates develop any rust spots brush away the rust and season the grates according to the instructions above.


If you think about it, it doesn't make sense to season unless the enamel is gone... seasoning is to help prevent rusting and sticking. A porcelain enamel already does both as long as it is intact.
Deal Expert
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Dec 12, 2009
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Toronto
I have had horrible luck with porcelain coated grills in the recent past. The crap that is imported from china does not last at all. I prefer stainless steel.
Deal Expert
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Oct 19, 2003
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will888 wrote: I have had horrible luck with porcelain coated grills in the recent past. The crap that is imported from china does not last at all. I prefer stainless steel.

I've had no issues with my years and years old Weber Q which is an enamel cast iron. Stainless steel doesn't really do it for me.
[OP]
Member
Sep 23, 2010
247 posts
41 upvotes
Thanks for all the input! I've also done a bit more searching & reading and hit on something that might be my problem. I read somewhere that most people who chip the porcelain think they did so cleaning the grates, but many times it's the metal grilling tools that actually chip/scrape it.

I'll tell ya, although I love the way these grates cook (heat up, evenly and hold it well and most stuff doesn't stick), if I ruin these, I sure as heck won't be buying porcelain coated cast iron again. Now I'll have to look for "softer" grilling tools...
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 22, 2007
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Mississauga
QuestForKnowledge wrote: Now I'll have to look for "softer" grilling tools...
I've tried the softer so called tools and they didn't work well since they weren't stiff enough and they lasted half as long as the regular ones so that didn't work for me, but let me know if you've found a better method.
Deal Addict
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Dec 17, 2008
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Ontario
My first Broil King bbq served us well for sixteen years and the porcelain coated grills did not show any wear or cracks for the first 12 years. Our current BK bbq is only two years old and the grill’s porcelain coating already cracked and showing rust. They don’t make them like they used to. :mad:

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