Many of our grills come with porcelain enameled cast iron (PECI) cooking grates and they are incredibly popular. The heat retaining properties of cast iron makes it easy to produce impressive, bold sear marks on whatever it is you may be cooking. The porcelain enamel makes them easy to clean and maintain, but there are some things you may want to consider doing in order to make sure they last as long as possible.
#1) Avoid scraping the grates. The porcelain enamel does a good job of protecting the grates, but if you scrape them with metal tools you could damage the porcelain. Way before I worked at Weber I used to use the edge of my BBQ spatula to scrape the grates clean while I was grilling. Now I think back to how many times I had to replace my grates and it all seems so clear what was happening.
#2) Brush the grates. The easiest and best way to make sure your PECI grates last as long as possible is to brush them every time you use the grill. Just preheat the grill on high for 15 minutes with the lid closed and then brush the grates clean with a Weber Stainless Steel Grill Brush. Click here for a video on how to clean cooking grates. The video shows stainless steel grates, but the cleaning instructions are identical for PECI grates.
#3) No soaps with citrus. Washing PECI grates in a sink usually isn’t necessary, but if you find yourself with a reason to do so try to avoid using any soaps with citrus cleaning agents in them. They can promote corrosion. You can soak the grates in hot water to remove stubborn particles and then use a mild dishwashing liquid and nylon/soft abrasive pads or brushes. Make sure you use a soft cloth or paper towel to thoroughly dry the grates when you’re done. Letting them air-dry can also promote corrosion.
#4) Consider the environment. If you live near a body of saltwater or have a pool really close to your grill you may need to consider keeping your grill covered. Cleaning your grill and cooking grates more often is also recommended. Vapors from both saltwater and pool chemicals can have a corrosive effect on grills in general, and that also applies to PECI cooking grates.
If you show your PECI grates a little bit of love they’ll return the favor by lasting for many years and help to make anything you decide to grill on them delicious!