Cast iron grills are probably one of the best things to come to grilling, especially if you’re looking to have perfectly cooked meat. There’s one problem, though; it needs to be maintained if you want to enjoy its benefits for years. Fortunately, that isn’t hard to do if you know the basics of seasoning the grill correctly. This way, you get to ensure it remains good quality for the long term – the grill won’t get rusty, won’t become sticky, and of course, grease won’t accumulate that may cause your food to taste bitter.
If you have just bought a cast iron grill such as the Weber Genesis or are planning to buy one, this article will explain how you can season it properly.
1. First Time Use
There are two things you need to do when you’ve just bought a cast iron grill – cleaning and seasoning. The purpose of this is to ensure that the grill is cleaned of all the manufacturing chemicals used and protected from rusting.
Here is a step by step on how you can do this both:
- Remove any dust by rinsing your grates in warm water (no soap!). After that, dry the grates using a warm towel.
- Use a paper towel or a bristle brush to coat the cast iron grill with cooking oil.
- Put your grill grate back on the grill and light the grill to 350-400 °F. Leave the grill on for 40 minutes.
- Turn off the fire and allow your grill to cool.
And you’re done! Just wait for everything to cool down, and you can go straight to cooking next time—no need to do the whole process again for every grilling cookout.
2. Porcelain vs Stainless Steel Grill Grates
Now every grill has a cast iron grill grate option. Some use porcelain or stainless steel grill grates instead. But what makes these types of grill grate different from the cast iron ones? Porcelain-coated grill grates are either steel or cast iron grill grates coated with porcelain. The porcelain makes the grill non-stick, making it very easy to clean. However, one of the problems encountered with this grill is that the coat may fade off over time, making the grill more vulnerable to rusting and sticking. It’s vital that when buying these grill grates, you don’t use metal scrapers to not chip the coating. Stainless steel grill grates, on the other hand, retain heat really well but don’t reach high temperatures as cast iron grills. It does not rust easily, can be cleaned easily, and doesn’t require oil when cooking.
3. Re-seasoning Grill Plates
As mentioned above, you don’t have to season your grill plates every time you use them. However, you do need to re-season them after about 4-5 grilling sessions. This is especially necessary if the grill plate is already rusted. Just like with the first seasoning, clean your grill grates, wipe it dry, heat the grill, and place the grill grates in your grill. After that, coat your grill grates with oil, but make sure to do this thinly. Cover the grill with a lid for 30 mins. Then, open the grill again, coat with oil, and cover again for 30 minutes. Repeat this four times or for 2 hours. If you notice that the grill grates are of shiny, black color, you have seasoned it properly.
4. Dealing With Rust
Cast iron grill grates are prone to rusting if you’re not careful. So, make sure to do these things to avoid grill grates from rusting:
- Scrape your grill grates clean after each use.
- Season your grill grates after 4-5 grilling sessions.
- Open vents to prevent condensation build-up.
- Cover the grill when not in use.
- If you’re storing your grill for long periods, coat it with oil first, wrap it in plastic, cover it, and keep it in a safe area.
In other words, clean and season your grill as much as possible. Cast iron grills may not be the easiest to maintain, but your patience will take you a long way.