How do I care for my cast iron cooking grates/griddle? They have rust on them.
Note: If you have porcelain-coated cast iron grates, no seasoning is required. Follow the same maintenance procedures as for porcelain coated grates.
To maintain the wonderful searing/grilling performance of your cast iron grates or griddle, as well as their longevity, some special care is required. As with any cast iron cooking tool, proper seasoning is most important.
- First time use: Before using a cast iron grate or griddle, wash it thoroughly with a mild dishwashing liquid to remove the protective wax coating applied for shipping. Rinse with hot water and dry completely with a soft cloth or paper towel. NEVER ALLOW TO DRAIN DRY, OR WASH IN A DISHWASHER. Now season the grates/griddle to prevent rust and sticking.
- Seasoning: A solid vegetable shortening is recommended for the initial seasoning. Spread a thin coating of solid vegetable shortening over the entire surface, including all corners, with a paper towel. Do not use salted fats such as butter or margarine. Proceed as follows:
Gas grills: Preheat grill for 15 minutes, place grates/griddle in grill. Turn burners to Medium-Off-Medium with lid closed. Allow grill to heat grates/griddle for 1 to 1½ hours. Turn all burners to OFF, and leave cooking grates/griddle in grill until they are cool.
Arrange prepared coals for Indirect Method. Place cooking grate/griddle in grill; place lid on grill. Allow grill to heat grate/griddle for 1 to 1½ hours. Close vents to extinguish coals, leaving grate/griddle in grill until it is cool.
Your cast iron cooking grates/griddle are now ready to use. To prevent rusting, they should be re-seasoned frequently, particularly when new. If rust occurs, clean with a steel brush. Reapply vegetable shortening and heat as indicated above.
Maintenance (every time you grill):
Dont do a burn-off after you grill, but rather leave the cooking residues on the grates/griddle to keep a protective coating on the cast iron. Then do a burn-off just before you grill. Brush off charred residues with a steel brush rather than a brass brush.
Notes: The more you use your cast iron grates/griddle, the easier the maintenance will be. If you store your grates/griddle for extended periods of time, grease very lightly with vegetable shortening, then wipe dry with a paper towel. Store in a dry place. If rust appears, it is an indication that the grates/griddle have not been seasoned properly or enough. Or, if the burn-off method has been used after grilling, the seasoning has also been burned off. You must begin the seasoning process again, after brushing all rust away with a steel wire brush.