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Porcelain-Enamel Cast Iron vs. Stainless Steel

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vfxtrev medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 65
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Okay, what kind of grate is really better for grilling - really... Porcelain Enamel cast iron or stainless steel?? All the expensive gas barbecues use stainless steel. Do you really gain anything by going with steel? For instance, you could choose between a Weber Silver or Gold grill -- the only difference is that one has porcelain enamel and one has steel. Does anyone know if the porcelain enamel can be scratched or scraped - over time that is?

k, thanks guys,

Trevor :)

Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:08 pm
502mids well done
well done

Posts: 305
Location: Centreville, Virginia
Trevor,

I've seen several posts about the merits of each kind of grate. If you do a search for "cast iron", "stainless" or "that other word that I can't spell", you'll find opinions. I don't know how to show links in a message but if you wait a while one of the senior members will probably post info.

Basically I've read that cast iron sears great butcan rust if you don't handle properly, and that porcelin can be scratched. On porceline, use a brass brush (harder metals, steel wool will scratch) after it has cooled down (heat will soften the surface)

Post Wed Jul 07, 2004 8:34 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
In a nutshel 502 is right. Cast iron heats hotter faster. But takes more care and can rust. Any enamel can chip/flake off if not careful. Stainless doesn't have the heat of cast but will last forever and is low maint. Buy for the grill not the grates, they can alwys be replaced later.

502- Posting a link is easy. Start by copying the url to the page, then in your post first hit the url button, then paste the url, then hit the url button again. Use preview to make sure it worked for you and you're all set.
Good luck.
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Post Thu Jul 08, 2004 7:27 am
DarkRubiTJ medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 221
Location: Livingston, TX.
Cast iron grates heat better than stainless. Once a cast iron grate reaches temp. it is more even heating. Because of the nature of the beast a cast iron grate usually has fewer hot and cold spots accross the entire grill surface.

Your focus seems to be concerning the Weber products. The best indicater of longevity of the different coatings or materials is the warranty of them. In the Genisis series of grills the grates and flavorizer bars carry the shortest warranty of any of the parts in the grill. In a Sliver the coated cast iron grates have a 3 year warranty, In a Gold the stainless grates have a 7 year warranty. Properly cared for cast iron grates will last longer than the warranty, how much so is a question for debate.

In a Weber of this price range, purchasing a set of grates is not a checkbook breaking endevavor. If it were me I would purchase a Gold, and buy a seperate set of coated cast iron grates. That way you would have both and be able to use the properties of either depending upon what your are cooking.
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Weber "Q", Weber Performer, Weber 22.5" Bar-B-Kettle

Post Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:43 am
502mids well done
well done

Posts: 305
Location: Centreville, Virginia
Trevor,

See, the big guys always come through.

Grand Scale,

Thanks for the info, I'll see if I can find those links for Trevor

Post Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:35 pm
snapshot0729 well done
well done

Posts: 366
Location: New Lenox, IL
vfxtrev... you asked...

Does anyone know if the porcelain enamel can be scratched or scraped - over time that is?

You bet, and they'll wear out too. So will stainless and so will cast iron. They are all metal and rust never sleeps. The issue is proper care and the longevity of the grates when properly cared for. For those that are only "fair weather grillers" (none in here I"m sure :shock: ) the cast iron needs to be cleaned (500 degrees and a good brushing), cooled, oiled (very well), and placed in a plastic bag that is well sealed at the end of the season. Failure to follow this procedure will definitely garner a suprise in the spring with a set of really rusted grates. The other 2 types don't need the oiling but following the same procedure won't hurt. One of the grills I have is a Genesis. It's a little over 5 years old is used continously year round, and the grates, flavorizer bars (both coated), as well as the warming shelf, and warming basket are ready to be replaced. They aren't beyond serviceability but they are showing their age. This grill is also kept out of the elements (garaged), and is covered when not in use. I'm sure one that is kept outside all of the time would show wear and tear at a quicker rate. Now for what it's worth, here a little south of Chicago, the prices are $28, $45, and $60 for porcelain, stainless, and cast grates respectively. That's right the stainless is cheaper than the cast. Personally I like the cast grates the best but as I've stated they require the most care, and probably wear out the fastest. Another thing that I've noticed is that the cast grates are easier to keep clean since they get the hottest of the three. To get the porcelain grates really clean you've gotta turn them sideways, and set them right on the flavorizer bars, with all of the burners on high. This will get them hot enough to completely ash over any residue. Stainless is probably the easiest to care for but read anything about the different metals used for making pots and pans, and you'll learn that stainless is one of the least efficient metals in heat transfer.

Hope that this hasn't confused the issue further.

later,

Joe

Post Fri Jul 09, 2004 10:27 pm
vfxtrev medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 65
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Thanks guys for the awesome info! I think that's a really interesting point about cast iron having more even heating than stainless steel - makes sense. Interesting though that the market seems to demand the stainless steel more - as far as the high end goes.

Anyway, thanks again.

Trevor


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