Grill marks, they are a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, when using a pellet grill it can be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve true grill marks because you aren’t working with direct high heat. That is where GrillGrates come into play. This ingenious product amplifies the heat of your grill allowing for those beautiful marks each and every time you use them.
The Science behind GrillGrates from GrillGrates
Grill Grates cook by conduction (contact), convection (hot air) and infrared (radiant heat), resulting in juicier more evenly cooked food. There are five elements to the Science of GrillGrate:
- 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.
- Flare-Up Protection from 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.
- Conducts Heat More Efficiently – A material’s ability to absorb and transfer heat defines its thermal conductivity. A highly conductive material allows heat to travel through it more rapidly. 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.
- The Valley’s 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.
- 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.
When I was researching for my second pellet grill I took a long hard look at the Camp Chef Woodwind with the Sear Box because the one thing I felt my pellet grilled food was missing was grill marks. Sure, sometimes you just want beautiful smoked food, but other times like when making chicken or burgers you really want to see those lines on the food. Through my research I was introduced to GrillGrates and my entire grill search changed. GrillGrates are a game changer, seriously, they allow your badass pellet grill to also perform like a standard propane grill without ever needing to deal with that flammable death trap called a propane tank. I know I know propane tanks aren’t a death trap, but tell that to my neighbor whose house burned down from an exploding one on their back patio.
GrillGrates have so many different size and package options I had no idea what size to get. Fortunately, Grilla Grills sold them directly from their website so I was able to get the perfect fit for my Silverbac, and it just so happened that when I got my Traeger the GrillGrates that I bought for my Grilla fit perfectly on there too. Score! Also, it comes with the coolest spatula ever. First, it’s massive in size, but second it fits in the slots of the GrillGrates making it an absolute breeze to flip or remove food. Plus it just looks cool.
Set up was easy, they basically just sit/snap/settle into each other and then you just put them on your grill. Per the directions, you will want to use a nonstick cooking spray (not too much, just a little to coat the grates) for the first few uses, and over time it should become seasoned and naturally be nonstick. I can’t say for certain that happens because I haven’t had them long enough yet, but I will be sure to update as time goes on.
Once you have the grates all set up on your grill you just cook like normal, but they do recommend paying attention to your food because the grates do get hotter than what your grill temp states, so I personally recommend using a meat probe to monitor the temperature of your food. I did find that everything I made on them cooked just a bit faster than using the pellet grill without them, so having a meat probe was helpful in making sure my food didn’t overcook.
So far I have cooked chicken, fish, hotdogs, potatoes and even polenta cakes on the grill grates and everything has come out perfect. They all had killer grill marks that I would have never been able to achieve on just the pellet grill alone. I am not sure if it enhanced any flavor because I think the pellet grill already makes damn good food, but maybe it did. One thing I definitely noticed was that there were way more drippings when cooking on the GrillGrates, and I even had some grease splatter on me when I opened the grill to flip my food, which to me was much more like cooking on a gas grill than a pellet grill. I was impressed by this, and felt that made the claims discussed in the Science from the company piece above true. Another way to use them is to flip them over which makes them perform like a flat top or griddle. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have seen people do burgers this way so they can get that “crustification” (I make up words a lot) like you would see in a diner.
Cleaning the GrillGrates was pretty easy too. While the grates are still warm (either during the grill cool down or warm up stage) use a grill brush to clean them off. I have even found a wet paper towel to work well in the valleys when the grates have completely cooled. They recommend soaking them in soapy water twice a year, and I tried that early on just to see how well it removed the grease and grime and I would say it removed about 90% of it. A warning though, the grates are sharp so be careful when cleaning them by hand. I made the mistake of going to town on them in the sink the first time I soaked them and ended up with small paper-cut like cuts all over my fingers. The only positive from that was being able to get Pellet Guy to help out more with the dishes.
If you are like me and missed the look of grill marks on your food when cooking on a pellet grill, than I highly recommend getting a pair of GrillGrates. You can purchase them directly from their website, or from many local hardware/outdoor and grill stores, or you can check your pellet grill manufacturers website to see if they sell them on their or at least let you know which ones work best for your grill. Prices on their website range from $10.99 for a gap panel all the way up to $82.48 for a 19.25″ three panel option. According to their website they offer a 30 day Guarantee and they are made in the USA. You can see all the options they have, as well as accessory items they sell on their website www.grillgrate.com.
Do you use GrillGrates? What do you think of them, and what’s your favorite food to cook on them?