Understanding The Steel In Your Stainless Steel Grill

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Understanding The Steel In Your Stainless Steel Grill


If you are anything like me, buying a grill you can be quite overwhelming. There are many different types you have decided you are hit with “what material do you want your grill to be made from”. The most popular types of grills is the stainless steel charcoal grill. But even once you have narrowed it down to that, you are hit with the question of what type of stainless steel should you be buying? 

Essentially there are two different types of stainless steel used in the construction of a stainless grill. Austenitic and ferritic. Each has different properties and will react differently to different environments. I will break each one down for you as best I can for you all.

What Is 304 Stainless Steel / Austenitic Stainless Steel?

304 stainless, also known as Austenitic is the most common type of stainless steel. It contains between 18 – 20% chromium and 8 – 10.5% nickel. 304 stainless steel has awesome resistance to a huge range of atmospheric conditions making it a great option for use in the construction of a stainless steel charcoal grill. It is an easy metal to manipulate and weld with. However, because of these properties, 304 stainless does come at a higher cost than 430 stainless. This means that in general, a grill made out of 304 stainless will cost a little more.

What Is 430 Stainless Steel / Ferritic Stainless Steel?

430 stainless, also known as ferritic is not as durable as 304 stainless and has less weldability. 430 stainless contains 17% chromium and 0.12% carbon making it only corrosion resistance in mildly corrosive environments. Because of its makeup, it is also cheaper than 304 stainless. Therefore a stainless steel charcoal grill made out of 430 will be cheaper, not as durable than a grill made from  304 stainless steel.

Why Is Stainless Steel Popular?

Stainless steel is popular because of its resistance to bacteria, corrosion, stains & simply because of its great look. And to be fair, a clean stainless grill does look amazing. However, if you let your stainless steel grill get dirty you will quickly see it turn from a work of art, into a dirty, greasy and rain spotted mess.

How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Grill

When it comes to cleaning your stainless grill, the best time straight after use while the grill is still hot. But let’s face it who wants to clean their grill when you have delicious food ready to eat?

To clean your grill you want to use lots of warm soapy water, followed by a rinse of clean water. Be sure to wipe, rub and polish the outer steel with the grain. Do not rub in a circular motion as this can leave marks and wreck the finish. Be sure not to use steel wool or other hard pads, this can also leave marks. Use a soft pad or cloth, it’s all about elbow grease here!

If you are going to use cleaning products to help you keep that new shine, always read the labels beforehand. Remember your grill is a cooking utensil and any cleaning products with harmful ingredients can hang around and taint your food. The best cleaner is always good old fashioned elbow grease! Cleaning the inside of your grill is the most important part, this is where the food is going to be in contact with, always be sure to clean the inside diligently. 

Once clean always be sure to cover your grill, this will keep it tucked away from the elements and extend its life dramatically.

Tip: Some cleaning products can harm the stain on outdoor furniture, be sure to move your grill on to a driveway or somewhere with good water runoff to ensure nothing gets damaged.

Pros  & Cons of Stainless & Austenitic Stainless Steel

304 stainless steel / Austenitic stainless steel

ProsDurable, long-lasting.
Cons: Expensive, not very common.

430 stainless steel / Ferritic stainless steel
Pros: Cheaper, look good, more common.
Cons: Not as durable, not as protected from the elements.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it comes down to how much you are looking to spend and how weatherproof you need your grill to be. I personally would lean towards the 304 stainless for its durability to the elements. I am all about buying something for a little more money and having the peace of mind that my stainless steel grill will last better, because in the long run that will save me money.

I hope this information comes in handy when picking out your new grill, or giving your existing stainless grill some much needed TLC.

Some guys just don’t want a stainless steel grill, they want to have something a bit less shiny and a bit more ‘manly’. Step in the charcoal smoker. Charcoal smokers are a fantastic way to cook and also look good without being too shiny. Perfect for keeping your status man around the backyard! The beautiful flavour that you can achieve with charcoal smokers is wonderful, my favourite has got to be a big whole chicken smoking away all day on low & slow!

Happy smoking everyone


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