How do I keep my cast iron grill grates from rusting?
To maintain the wonderful searing and grilling performance, as well as longevity, of your cast iron grates or other cast iron cooking tools, some special care is required. As with any cast iron cooking tool, proper seasoning is most important.
Please see information regarding Porcelain-coated Cast Iron below.*
First Time Use:
Before using a cast iron grate or other cast iron cooking tool, 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 to prevent rust and sticking.
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. Preheat grill for 15 minutes; place grates in grill. Turn burners to Low with lid closed. Allow grill to heat grates for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn all burners to OFF, and leave cooking grates in grill until they are cool. Your cast iron cooking grates are now ready to use.
To Prevent Rusting:
Re-season your grates frequently, particularly when new. If rust occurs, it is an indication that the grates have not been seasoned enough or the seasoning has been burned off. Clean with a heavy brush like Char-Broil’s Brush Hawg. Reapply vegetable shortening and heat as indicated above to re-season the grates.
Do not do a burn-off after you grill, but rather leave the cooking residues on the grates to keep a protective coating on the cast iron. Do a burn-off just before you grill. The more you use your cast iron grates, the easier the maintenance will be. Store in a dry place. If you store your grates for an extended period of time, grease very lightly with vegetable shortening, then wipe dry with a paper towel.
*Porcelain-coated Cast Iron:
Porcelain Cast Iron Grates included with some Char-Broil grill models, like RED, do not require seasoning. These grates should be cleaned regularly with a heavy-duty grill brush, such as the Brush Hawg or Mega Brush Hawg. You can also soak the grates in a mixture of water and vinegar for a deep clean. Should your grates develop any rust spots brush away the rust and season the grates according to the instructions above.