There are so many reasons why you should choose cast-iron grill grates over anything else. However, they need to be maintained so here is a guide on how to clean cast-iron grill grates.
Cast-iron grill grates are very durable and are commonly used in Kamado-style grills. They can endure immense heat and even retain it evenly so you can have good sear marks on your food.
They mostly outlive the grill itself if they are taken care of properly. They are heavy-duty and can even withstand thermal shock so they really are the top choice for grill grates.
There is also a proper way to season a cast-iron grill grate. If done the right way, the cast-iron grill grate will eventually acquire non-stick qualities for better cooking performance.
However, contrary to common belief, cast-iron grill grates are not totally rust-proof. They might also acquire rust and corrosion qualities if they are not cleaned and seasoned properly.
They also get a little more fragile when they have not been stored the right way or if they are left under exposure to elements and are not used for a very long period of time.
That is why this post seeks to help you know the routine for the proper maintenance of your cast-iron grill grates. This way, you can prolong the life of the grill grates and have a better cooking experience.
This will also help you remove the fear of investing in other cookware made out of cast-iron. Caring for your cast-iron grill grates is very much alike with other cast-iron cookware so you can do this routine to them too.
Clean After Every Use
This is a pretty obvious reminder but we will still put it here so you will not forget it. Clean your cast-iron grill grates after every use to keep it rust-free and durable.
Cleaning the cast-iron grill grates will also prevent food residuals from building up in between the grates. This, therefore, will result in a cleaner, more durable, and better grill grate.
Get The Grill Nice And Hot
Ever heard about pyrolysis? This is the process where you will know all about that. Once you are done cooking, do not turn the grill off and instead, let it heat up once more to its highest temperature.
You can also do this with a slightly lower temperature if you want to budget your fuel usage. 500 degrees Fahrenheit will do, so heat up the grill one again after you are done cooking.
If you are using a wood-fired or a charcoal grill, open all the vents to let the grill heat up or turn the grill to the highest temperature if you are using a gas grill and then close the lid.
This process will burn all the food residuals inside the grill. So keep the cast-iron grill grates in the grill and then let it heat up so you can burn off the food residuals on it.
This process will take only a few minutes. Turn off the grill once you are done and then let it cool down until the heat is bearable for you to put your hands in it and start cleaning.
Scrape While Still Warm
Do not let the grill grates completely cool down. Start the cleaning when the cast-iron grill grates are still warm to the touch by brushing it or scraping the food off of it.
Use a good grill brush to make sure that you do not leave any residuals on the grates. Scraping is also effective and it will not damage the durable cast-iron so get as thorough as you can.
There is no need to wash the cast-iron grill grates with water after every use. This will allow the grates to season more beautifully and not absorb too much moisture.
So after you have brushed the cast-iron grill grates and let them dry, get a clean towel and then pour some vegetable oil on it and rub the grates with a thin layer of the vegetable oil.
Removing Rust From Cast-iron Grill Grates
There are times where you will accidentally leave rusts on these types of grill grates. As said before, cast-iron grill grates are not totally rust-resistant and can gather rust if neglected.
This usually happens during winter months and you leave the grill outside the house with the cast-iron grill grates in it. This is risky but there is a solution to this so do not worry too much.
When left unused, the grill might gather moisture inside and the cast-iron grill grates, when exposed to water for a long time, will most likely gather rust in the process.
Washing your cast-iron grill grates or other cast-iron cookware with water and soap is not advised. This is because you will be potentially removing the seasoning of the grates.
So unless you are planning to re-season the grill grates, do not wash them with soap and water. Cast-iron grill grates also do not have a very smooth surface which means it absorbs moisture.
When washed with water and soap, make sure that you rinse it properly. If not, the grill grates will also absorb the soap and the aroma will mix with the food that you will cook on them.
But in circumstances where the cast-iron grill grates really need to be stripped down and cleaned from rusts, you need a mixture of soap and warm water in a small bucket.
We advise that you do this process outdoors and not in the sink so that the rusts that are removed from the grates will not mix with nearby utensils or clog the sink.
Get the soapy water and a ball of steel wool to clean the grill grates. Scrub the cast-iron grill grates thoroughly until you see the rust coming off and all that is left is the steel.
This will inevitably remove all the seasoning that you put in the grill grates but it will also remove the rust. You might remove some coating but that is okay as long as the rust has been removed.
Make sure that you rinse the grill grates thoroughly with water. Continue brushing the grates while pouring water to rinse it so that the soap is totally removed.
Dry it off with a towel and put it in the oven. Making sure that it dries off properly is necessary because even the smallest amount of moisture left in the grate will let rust return the following day.
So put it in the oven and let it sit there for a few minutes at a low temperature. This will make sure that the pores of the grates will be dried properly just in case the towel did not reach them.
If the grill grates are extremely rusty, you might need something more than just soap and water. Like the process done with the food residuals, you need to pyrolyze the rust off of the grill grates.
Get your grill fired up until it reached a temperature of over 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the cast-iron grill grates sit in the grill for over an hour to get rid of the rusts.
After that, you will still need to wash and scrub it with soap and water but it will be an easier job. This is only recommended for extreme cases where the cast-iron grill grates are covered with rusts.
You can also use chemistry when cleaning a cast-iron grill grate. Get a large basin where the grill grates can lie flat and then mix vinegar and water in it.
Make a 50-50 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar in the basin until the grill grates are soaked. Leave them there for 1 to 2 hours to dissolve the rusts on the grill grates.
Use a scrubber and start removing the excess rust from the grates. Once you are done scrubbing, wash them again with soap and water and then let the grates dry.
Cast-iron is one of the toughest, most durable materials that can be used in most cookware. But that goes without saying that they are not indestructible and can still be damaged if not taken care of properly.
That is why grill grates made out of a cast-iron need to be looked after. They will last a lifetime if you use and maintain them properly so make sure that you get the best care for them.
Cleaning a cast-iron grill grate will depend on the dirt that you are trying to remove. If it is only food residuals, there is no need to involve water, just pyrolyze it and brush the residuals off.
When rusts are involved, you need to wash them thoroughly with soap and water and then scrub them with steel wool. This will, most of the time, remove the rust on the grill grates.
One thing that you should do after cleaning, any type of cleaning, is to season the grill grates. Apply a thin layer of oil using a dishcloth and then let them heat up in the grill.
This will make the cast-iron grill grate stronger and eventually develop non-stick qualities. So take care of your cast-iron grill grates and pass them on from one generation to the other.
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