Review – GrillGrates:
I bought my Weber kettle back in 2013 and not long after I became aware of Grill Grates on Twitter. I had been cooking burgers and steaks but never really achieved the crosshatch grill marks that you tend to see in photos. This is what drew me towards Grill Grates! Every photo I saw where Grill Grates were used had the most amazing crosshatch marks on all of the meat.
There is a vast range available on the GrillGrate website covering most Gas, Charcoal, Kamado and Pellet Grills. You can even buy single panels to use.
I bought the 57cm GrillGrates for my Weber Kettle in July 2015 for £99.99. They are now £119.95 on the UK website or $104.99 on the US website.
Upon delivery, I received three GrillGrate panels, one rectangluar panel and two curved panels to fit the side of the kettle. The GrillGrate tool is also included which is really handy for lifting food as the prongs are the same size as the GrillGrate channels. It’s also handy for scraping the GrillGrate to clean it.
Weight, Size and Fit:
The GrillGrates weigh 2.5KG and sit directly on top of your existing grill. This was handy when I first got them as my original Weber grill was looking a bit past its best so I was able to keep cooking on the GrillGrates rather than replace the Weber grill. The grates fit perfectly in the 57cm Weber kettle with a bit of space around each edge.
When you first get the GrillGrates they are nice and shiny, before long they will darken up but the great thing is that they won’t rust as they are anodised so unlike Cast Iron you don’t need to scrub it down and season it.
What are they?
So, what are GrillGrates? The website has some good detail around what GrillGrates are and the benefits of using them:
1: Amplifies the heat of any grill.
“GrillGrates act like a lens on top of any heat source. They magnify and focus the grill’s heat converting it to infrared heat. Heat is rapidly transferred up the raised rails to cook foods fast and evenly. Temps will be anywhere from 100°F to 350°F hotter than the temperature in the hood or dome of the grill.”
I have only tested my GrillGrates on the Weber Kettle and +200 to 250F is 93C to 121C. Using my IR gun to test the surface temperature it’s definitely been at least 100C hotter than just using the standard Weber grill.
2: Flare-Up Protection from the Bottom Plate.
“The underside and hole pattern of GrillGrates blocks flare-ups from engulfing food preventing charring and drying out. The hole pattern design was developed in the aerospace industry for flame control around fuel tanks.”
Back when I first started grilling I wasn’t too good with fire management or direct/indirect cooking zones so did have trouble with flare ups and the GrillGrates defintely helped with that. Even now, if you are cooking something over direct heat it probably will flare up and the GrillGrates can help contain it.
3: Conducts Heat More Efficiently.
“GrillGrates are made from hard anodized aluminum, which conducts heat more efficiently than cast iron or stainless steel. It also distributes heat more evenly, solving the common problem of hot and cold spots.”
I have found that they heat up quickly and easily but you also get an equal heat across the whole surface.
4: The Valleys Vaporize Drippings
“Juices and drippings fall into the hot valleys where they sizzle and vaporize into flavor and retained moisture. The valleys of GrillGrates are a flavor enhancing system.”
Not sure about this one. The juices definitely run into the channels and do sizzle then steam up. Whether they add flavour and retain moisture I am not sure. The video on the website is quite convincing, I should test this again!
5: Perfect Sear Marks.
“GrillGrates conduct and focus heat up the raised rails for steakhouse quality searing. Sear marks can be controlled from golden brown to dark, crispy and flavorful.”
It’s definitely possible and I have achieved it a few times but on some occasions it hasn’t quite worked and I think that was user error. You need to have a good fire running and give the GrillGrates enough time to heat up. You also need to give the meat enough time on the GrillGrate to get the sear mark. If you are reverse searing a steak it’s worth taking it off the indirect heat a little earlier so it can get a bit of extra time on the GrillGrate to get those sear marks.
One thing I would say about Sear Marks is they don’t really add any flavour, they just look good in the photos!
GrillGrates in action:
At the time of writing this I have 28x GrillGrate cooks on the blog and it’s a good mixture of Burgers, Steaks and a few other cuts.
Burgers might stand out as an odd choice but a great thing about the GrillGrates is that you can flip them over and use the flat surface as a griddle. The high heat of the surface gives a fantastic sear/crust on burgers and the perforations in the surface avoids flare ups. I use my GrillGrates for all my burger cooks and have had great results, it’s also handy when cloching the burger to melt the cheese.
Here are some of my favourite burger cooks on the GrillGrates – Click the picture to see more:
Some of my other favourite GrillGrate cooks:
All my GrillGrate cooks can be seen here:
At £120 they aren’t cheap but the Tool retails for £20 and you get that bundled. It’s really handy as it’s so big you can lift large items off the grill easily but the tool is also good for cleaning the GrillGrates.
They do feel like quality items, well made and substantial enough where you would struggle to damage them. I have spent a lot of time over the years working on improving my burger cooks and I almost have them exactly where I want them with no small part played by the GrillGrates. Because they heat up so hot, so quickly and have an even temperature across the whole surface it makes it very easy to get great results.
You can get nice sear marks using these but I am not really too fussed about that. It does look good in the photos though!
There are a lot of griddles and planchas available on the market these days. I have used a few different bits of kit but I still reach for the GrillGrates on all my burger cooks which says a lot.
Since I got my Kamado Joe I have been cooking more steaks on the sear grates I bought with it and got good results but I should test the grill grates in the KJ to see how much hotter the grill surface is.
Overall, glad I bought mine and I would recommend them to others. They aren’t cheap but they are quality items and produce good results.