The Grate debate between Cast Iron, Porcelain Coated Steel, Stainless Steel and Chrome Wire
is always followed by ........
Which do I choose?
Which is better?
All Gas Grills have some sort of cooking surface. These surfaces are made from either cast iron, porcelain coated cast iron, stainless steel, porcelain coated steel or chrome wire.
Usually, chrome wire grates are the thinnest and least expensive. This thin rod type grate is the least expensive because it generally lasts the least amount of time. The chrome rusts and you do not want to cook meat on rusted metal, so our opinion is avoid purchasing chrome wire grates.
Stainless steel generally lasts the longest. Now, with that being said, it depends on the quality of stainless. Is it solid stainless rod or "steel rods" wrapped in stainless. The biggest con is that it is expensive (when you purchase a high quality grid) and it has virtually no non-stick abilities, therefore, non-stick cooking spray would be needed. The biggest pro is longevity when cared for. It is totally normal for these grids to discolor from the heat.
Porcelain coated grids on the other hand, is infamous for chipping and exposing the metal which leads to rust. The best way to avoid this, is to only use a brass bristle brush, NO Scraper. Remember, brass is a soft metal and the bristles will melt if the temperature of the grid is too hot. We suggest letting the grates cool and use a bbq degreaser. REMEMBER no scrapers (kinda reminds me of Mommy Dearest "No Metal Hangers" haha). Lastly, the look for a thick coating of porcelain, this will help them to last longer as well.
Now alot of people prefer cast iron. They are very heavy grates. Cast iron can come bare or with a porcelain coating. The porcelain coating will either be with matte, giving the appearance of traditional bare cast iron or a gloss finish like the coating you will see on the rod grates. Keep in mind a bare cast iron cooking grate needs a lot of TLC through keeping them clean, well oiled and seasoned. Without the oil protection, the bare cast iron will dry out, peel away and rust. The porcelain coating on cast iron grates, will protect the iron from rusting. The care with the porcelain is the same as the porcelain wire grates.
Pretty much, and quality cast iron grate, porcelain coated rods or stainless should last for years if you take care of them. If you simply are not willing to care for the grates, you cannot expect any of them to last.