Buying replacement grill grates is the mistake you’re about to make
So, you’re grill gates are shot. Flare-ups, uneven cooking, and you deserve better. What to get? Same ones you had?
Well – if you’ve decided your grill is worth saving and think new grates will go a long way to restoring your pride and joy to it’s former glory – you’re right – but that’s the problem. The former glory you seek was probably inferior to begin with. Most grills come with lousy grates.
It doesn’t matter if you have a Char Broil, Weber, Broil King, or a Dyna-Glo. Chances are the replacement grill grates will give you a year or two. After comparing my options I found replacing with OE grates can be a waste of money and below you’ll find the reasons.
So before you run off and drop $50-$200 on OE replacements – lets walk through why replacement grill grates matter and how right or wrong you can be in choosing between OE and aftermarket designs.
If you just want the answer – We think GrillGrate grill grates are fantastic and worth the money! We’ve been using them for a couple of years. They really improved our results. You can price them out here.
Grill grates – they really do matter
Purpose – obviously the primary purpose is to suspend the food over the heat. That said, it’s apparently a bit more complicated than that because there are tons of options out there. Certainly different grill grate materials and designs produce different results right? Grates do matter. Do we have any evidence of this? Of course-there’s tons of video out there. These are a couple of good ones.
The first compares stainless steel to cast iron – big differences especially in terms of usability. Flipping the patties on the cast iron is much easier due to having more horizontal area – easier to get under them and easier to avoid damaging them on both the pickup and flip.
As this video plainly shows – the porcelain-enamel cast iron provides a much more comfortable user experience in terms of managing the meat – flipping and moving the burgers around. The stainless side is the typical type of grate you’d see on lots of charcoal grills – kettle grills and cheap gas grills. Pretty much the worst of them all. It’s so very easy to get hung up on the giant gaps between the grill grates.
Anyway, the second and perhaps larger takeaway was how severe the flare-ups were on both sides – both types of grates caused huge flare-ups which doesn’t make the the most healthy or best tasting steaks, chops, and burgers. And this is where it get’s interesting because yes indeed there is another option – another choice.
Flare ups are a great way to ruin a steak, burger, tri-tip or pork chop. You end up with blackened food and it tastes terrible.
In fact if you look at the latest developments in grilling technology (is that a thing?), you’ll find that infra-red cooking surfaces are highly dependent on suppressing flare ups.
It doesn’t matter how much money you paid for your grill – the grates, flare ups, and the ability to produce even heat are the keys to quality results.
In fact, the grates matter so much that when I recommend grills to family and friends, I steer them towards something inexpensive and then suggest they budget for an upgrade for the grates.
Should you be replacing your grates?
You’re probably in one of two camps. You either want to avoid buying a new grill – for whatever reason – and wonder/hope that new grates are the answer to your prayers. At least for the next year or two. Or, you want better performance and are willing to spend some money to get it.
Here’s how this decision will break down. Original grates will be the choice if price is most important. However, if you appreciate the underlying design of infrared and what makes it so good – then you’ll appreciate the design choices made in the higher end infrared grills – and the aftermarket grill grates we’ll cover below.
You can go with aftermarket replacement grill grates instead of the original ones your grill came with. There are a few designs out there in the marketplace but it dominated by one brand and for good reason – great product – works as promised – but a bit pricey for some folks. It comes down to how much you care about grilling, barbecuing, or smoking meat.
You’re reading this because you’re thinking about replacing them, so lets get right to it – don’t buy the same grates your grill came with. None of them – except on high-end grills – are worth the money.
Replacement grate design – it matters
The aftermarket grill grates I’m referring to aren’t unique in the design concepts they use. But they are unique in that they at least utilize the design advantages from infrared grills and therefore provide the same rewards. If you think flare-ups are a pain, ruin food, and are unavoidable – check out this video from Solaire.
It shows you plain as day how to avoid flare-ups and fires. And it confirms what you saw above – regular grill grates do nothing to prevent or minimize flare-ups and as a result – produce inferior food. Either inferior finish or inferior consistency. You can have 2 patties next to each other on a conventional grill grate and have one be burnt and the other just fine. Take a look and see for yourself.
The magic of infrared depends on the grates
Without the special grill grates – the infrared burner is not going to deliver the same results. With the special grates you get superior performance regardless of the heat source. If you’ll notice the grill grates on the Solaire don’t appear to be super user friendly. Kinda sharp edged and weird looking.
But look at the results. Just maybe what we’ve believed to be true about replacement grill grates has been wrong all along. Maybe, there’s a replacement grill grate option that takes the design advantages of the infrared system above and adds a few more features to make it fantastic in any situation.
Grill Grates – they really do work
These aftermarket replacement grill grates are GrillGrate grill grates. Yes, it’s a tongue twister. But, they’ve been around a long time and if you’ve done any searching for replacement grill grates online you’ve undoubtedly run into their site and videos. They’re solidly built, heavy duty, and perform exactly as desired. There are plenty of GrillGrate grill grates reviews online.
Now, the manufacturer is going to give you all kinds of uses for these things – and they’re all true. But for someone in your situation – trying to figure out what to do about old faithful out there – all you want to know is one thing: How much will using Grill Grates cost me vs. just replacing the grill grates with the original from the manufacturer?
The answer may surprise you. In the case of some Weber kettle charcoal grills, the GrillGrate grill grates may be bit more expensive. But for many applications, the pricing is maybe 50% more – which is less than $50.
If you’re looking into whether it’s worth it to replace the grill grates on your aging grill – ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the grill box, burners, etc. in decent condition? Will they last another 2-3 years?
- Do I need a new cover? If yes, am I actually going to buy one?
- Do I really want a new grill instead of fixing this one? If yes, check out our thoughts here.
- Will I spend an extra $25-$50 (maybe more) to transform my grill into a commercial grill ready to serve up the very best BBQ, steaks, chops, and burgers humanly possible???
They are available in all sorts of sizes and depending on how you mount them – they can be used on multiple grills, smokers, cookers, etc. My 4 year old Broil-King is in need of a grill grate refresh and GrillGrate grill grates are going to be a huge improvement.
Although I love the grill, the build quality, and the power – the grates allowed flare-ups and have began to rust over time. Replacement grates are between $75-$150 depending on whether you upgrade to stainless-steel. I can get a complete set of GrillGrate grill grates for that kind of money. And, they vastly outperform the OE grates.
Update 07/27/20: I’ve had GrillGrate grill grates for over a year – they are fantastic!
I realize this post is coming off like a ringing endorsement for the Grill Grates product. In all honesty it didn’t start that way. I was looking into my option for the Broil-King and did quite a bit of research on what my options were.
After finding the Grill Grates, I’ve reviewed all the material I could find on them and came to the very simple conclusion – if you’re willing to consider them – you’ll not be disappointed. Nobody has any issues with them – as long as they’ve read the directions!