How to Care For Cast-Iron Grill Grates

At Char-Griller, we really like cast-iron for grill grates. They hold heat efficiently and evenly and there is nothing quite like a good sear on cast iron.

Unlike stainless steel grates, cast iron grates do need a little more care. Here’s how to care for your cast-iron grill grates so you can keep grilling at your best.

First thing's first, cast-iron grates and porcelain coated grates are NOT the same thing. This guide is for cast-iron grill grates not porcelain coated grill grates. Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get going.

First Time Use

When you first get your Char-Griller grill, you are going to want to remove the cast-iron grill grates and give them a good wash with warm water. You can use soap at this point if you want. After washing, make sure to dry the grates off entirely with a towel.

Using a paper towel or brush, brush the grill grates with cooking oil. We recommend vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, or bacon fat. After the grates are coated, you can place them in a 400-degree oven for an hour or on a 400-degree grill for 40 minutes. After time is up, let the grates cool down naturally.

Maintaining Grill Grates

It is recommended to regularly season your grill grates, especially when they are new. After you are done grilling, allow the grill to cool slightly and then get any burnt on residue off the grates with a grill brush or scraper. You can also use half an onion to clean off your grill grates.

After you have scraped the grill, dip a paper towel in vegetable oil or bacon grease and rub the paper towel all over the grates using a pair of tongs. Make four to five passes with the oil to ensure proper seasoning.

Soap or No Soap

Alright, people have STRONG opinions about using soap on cast-iron. The no-soap-ever people argue that the soap strips off all that hard-earned seasoning and the yes-soap people feel that soap is the only way to get the grates truly clean.

We’re not taking sides, but no matter how you choose to clean your grill grates, don’t forget to scrape off any food leftovers from the grates and brush them with a good coat of oil to ensure they stay seasoned.

How to Avoid Rust

Without the proper care, cast-iron grill grates will rust. Thankfully, there are easy ways to avoid this.

  1. Make sure that you scrape your grates after each use
  2. Season them by brushing with oil after each use
  3. Leave the dampers open a bit so that condensation does not collect in the grill
  4. Put the lid back on your grill when it is not in use
  5. Cover the grill when it is not in use
  6. If you need to store your grill for a long period of time, heavily coat them in cooking oil, wrap them in a plastic bag and store in your covered grill

Cast-iron can sometimes be tricky to take care of, but with a little elbow grease and persistence, you can quickly turn those grates into the thing of beauty that will handle anything you throw at them.