If you don’t own a set of GrillGrates then the good news is that you have the perfect item to add to your wish list! These are affordable, very handy and would be a welcome gift for any griller.
I bought a set to use on my Weber Jumbo Joe and I love them. Let me walk you through a quick review of why I love these things.
What Are GrillGrates?
GrillGrates are interlocking anodized aluminum panels that contain ridges to hold your food and perforations in the base that allow grease to drain away. GrillGrate panels can be used on any style of grill.
There are three benefits to using GrillGrate panels.
- Infrared Grilling
- Grill Marks
- No Flare Ups
Let’s look at these benefits one at a time.
The GrillGrate panels absorb the convective heat from your grill and re emits it as infrared energy. While the best infrared grills use special burners to emit infrared energy the same effect can be achieved on normal grills with these panels.
Grilling with infrared energy lets you grill hotter and faster without drying out the meat.
GrillGrates Let You Make Crazy Grill Marks
The panels are made from aluminum which is extremely efficient at transferring heat. When you place a steak onto a hot GrillGrate panel the meat is instantly start searing along the ridges of the panel. The base of the GrillGrate protects your food from the direct heat of the flame. This lets you leave your meat undisturbed long enough for the grill marks to form.
When it comes to grill marks these aluminum panels work ten times better than cast iron or stainless steel grates.
I have always used aluminum foil when grilling fish…no longer. After I grilled these fish fillets on the GrillGrates I can’t imagine grilling fish any other way.
GrillGrates Prevent Flareups
If you have ever grilled on a Weber Genesis then you understand the magic of Flavorizer bars. GrillGrates provide essentially the same benefit of Flavorizer bars but you can put them on ANY grill.
For those of you who are not familiar with Weber Flavorizer bars the basic concept is that dripping grease gets vaporized on a hot metal surface before it can come into contact with a flame.
The smoke from vaporization adds a great flavor to the meat thus the name “Flavorizer Bars”. In addition to adding flavor you also eliminate problems related to flare-ups as dripping grease is no longer hitting the flame directly under your food.
The base of the GrillGrate is perforated which does allow excess grease (or marinade) to work its way onto the flame. However, when that grease starts to flare the flame is blocked from your meat by the base of the GrillGrate.
I have grilled piles of burgers and steaks directly over the charcoal with GrillGrates and never had an issue with flare-ups. Yes, you can grill lean steaks like sirloin directly over the charcoal with no problems but things change quick when you break out Choice Ribeyes.
By eliminating flare-ups you get to use use more of the grill surface when grilling over direct heat. When you are working with a small grill like the Weber Jumbo Joe space utilization is at a premium.
You know that whole routine about keeping a portion of your grill as a cool zone so you can move your food in case of flare-ups? Forget about it!
If you want to see how the professionals grill ribeyes with GrillGrates then read Grilled Ribeye Steaks: How to Cook a Thousand Dollar Winner.
GrillGrates Makes Grilling Easier!
If you research how to grill tri-tip you are going to find a bunch of different techniques that are centered on the concept of searing the meat for some period of time combined with a period of indirect cooking. People argue over whether to do a reverse sear or to sear first and then go indirect.
I simply lit two thirds of a chimney of Kingsford and placed them under a GrillGrate panel. I placed a seasoned tri-tip on the GrillGrate and rotated after seven minutes, flipped at 14 minutes and took it off the Jumbo Joe at 30 minutes (142F internal).
The base of the GrillGrate protected the tri-tip from direct flames which let me cook at “Direct Medium” heat the entire cook. EASY! Oh, and did I mention this lets you lay down some grill marks?
GrillGrates Make Grilling Fun!
I was actually excited to grill some boneless skinless chicken breasts because it gave me the chance to goof around and throw down more ridiculous grill marks.
You can purchase GrillGrates that will fit just about any grill, not just the Weber Jumbo Joe.
There are many configurations possible and it can be a little confusing figuring out which ones will fit your grill.
I am so excited about GrillGrates that I am going to give a set away! All you need to do to enter is to leave a comment in the field below. A random winner will be selected on April 30th and I will send them the same two panel configuration that I use on the Weber Jumbo Joe.
This configuration produces a grilling surface 13 inches long and 10 inches wide that should work on any Weber charcoal grill out there except for Smokey Joes.
Update 4/30/13…Thank you to everyone who dropped by and entered! The winner is…
Update 9/26/14…I have been using the same two panels on my 22.5 inch kettle and on my Weber Genesis 1000. I still love them and consider GrillGrates as the best upgrade to my grilling game since I switched over to Weber kettles.