When Grilling, What Are the Advantages of Using a Cast Iron Grate?

Autumn Rivers

A popular type of grill grate is the cast iron variety. Cast iron is known for being durable and easy to keep clean, especially if it is seasoned in fat, which also can keep it free of rust. Many people also enjoy the fact that their cast iron grate heats up fast, holds its temperature for a long time, and can cook food evenly. Another benefit is that there are a few variations of the cast iron grate, making it easy for people to choose one that suits their needs.

Grilled polenta.
Grilled polenta.

One of the main advantages of a cast iron grate is that it tends to be durable and low maintenance, as long as it is seasoned properly. Cast iron is hard to destroy so, if the grate is left outside or put into storage for years, it typically will still be usable, because it is hard to bend or break this material. Seasoned cast iron grates also are usually easy to care for, because they only need to be brushed occasionally, though cleaning them after each use is typically advised to achieve the longest lifespan. One of the easiest ways to do so is by brushing the grate with a brass brush, which can easily scrape the material clean without scratching it. Many people then wipe the grate with canola oil or lard, which will melt from the heat the next time it is used.

Fish on a grill with a cast iron grate.
Fish on a grill with a cast iron grate.

Another benefit of a cast iron grate is that it often heats up fast and holds the heat in. The result is that owners of this type of cooking grate can grill quickly and get the desired deep grill marks on their food when barbecuing. Though this type of grate material can hold in heat well, the temperature is usually easy to regulate and it rarely burns food. Therefore, another advantage is that food is cooked evenly on a cast iron grate, allowing cooks to grill their food just how they like it, without one side being burned and the other raw.

There are a few variations in this grate material, which means there is likely a cast iron grate for nearly everyone. Many people like to buy their grate already seasoned, which makes it non-stick and rust-resistant. Others like to save a little money by buying theirs plain and seasoning it on their own, provided they have the knowledge and time for this. Another option for cast iron grates is porcelain coating, which usually prevents the need for seasoning and can make the grate easier to clean, unless the coating chips or cracks over time.

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