Cast iron provides the perfect surface for grilling, from searing steaks to slow cooking legs of lamb. To get the most out cast iron, you need to put in the hard yards – that is, to make the effort to keep your grid well maintained. The good news? It’s not difficult. After the initial seasoning, it’s a 30 second job each time you grill.
From the start, wash thoroughly with mild dish soap. Rinse with hot water and pat dry completely with a cloth. DON’T ALLOW TO DRAIN DRY AND DO NOT WASH IN A DISHWASHER. Season the grids before use to prevent rust and to create a non-stick cooking surface. Please see below for seasoning instructions.
Most cast iron cooking grids are coated with a matte porcelain finish to assist in cleaning and reduce the tendency of corrosion. Some chipping may occur if mishandled. This will not affect the use or performance of your grids. If some rust appears, remove the rust with a grid brush and re-season the grid.
Just like a cast iron frying pan it is necessary to season, and re-season, cast iron cooking grids. The oil will help protect the porcelain coating, decrease sticking, and protect the grids from rusting.
A solid unsalted vegetable shortening is recommended for the initial seasoning, but grape seed oil or olive oil will work as well. Spread a thin coating of solid vegetable shortening over entire surface of the cast iron grids with a paper towel or, melt in microwave and brush on with a silicon basting brush.
Be certain the entire surface, including all corners, has been coated thoroughly. DO NOT use salted fat such as margarine or butter. Non-stick sprays are less effective as they burn off at low heat.
Preheat barbecue grill for 10 minutes on HIGH. Turn burners to MEDIUM with lid closed. Allow barbecue grill to heat for 30 minutes. Turn all burners to OFF. Leave cooking grids in barbecue grill until they are cool. Your cast iron grids are now ready to use.
Re-seasoning: Periodically the grids may be re-seasoned by coating with solid unsalted vegetable shortening, vegetable oil, grape seed oil or olive oil, closing the lid and leaving the cast iron grids in the barbecue grill until it is cool. As with all cast iron, the more it is used, the easier it is to maintain.
Don’t do a burn-off after you grill, but rather leave the cooking residue on the grids to keep a protective coating on the cast iron. Then, do a burn-off just before you grill. Brush off residue with a grilling brush.
Prior to storing or when your barbecue grill will not be used for an extended period, season the grids lightly and store in a dry place.
While you can purchase barbecue grills with cast iron grids, porcelain coated wire grids and stainless steel grids, cast iron provide the best grilling performance. The mass of cast iron holds the heat. The shape of cast iron grids provides fabulous sear marks and the channel side is great for all cuts of meat and vegetables. Also, cast iron grids can be seasoned providing the most non-stick grilling surface of any barbecue grill grid available. We know cast iron takes a little more care and maintenance but the performance benefits are well worth the extra effort.
David B. February 7th, 2017
Posted In: BBQ Maintenance