If you are anything like me, buying a grill you can be quite overwhelming.
There are so many different options, you think have decided and BAM "what material do you want your grill to be made from"? Spanner in the works.
The most popular types of grills is the stainless steel grill. But even once you have narrowed that down, you now have to pick which type of stainless you want.
It can be a tedious process, that is why I put together this guide to understanding stainless. So you won't go thought what I did.
Let's get started
The Two Types of Stainless Steel
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.
So, What is 304 Stainless Steel/ Austenitic Stainless Steel? (If you were wondering)
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 also has a strong resistance to a huge range of weather conditions.
Due to this resistance to most weather condition, 304 steel a great option for use in outdoor grills. Not only that, it is also an easy metal to manipulate, weld with and is known for it's strength.
Due to these exceptional 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 be a little more pricey.
So, What is 430 Stainless Steel/ Ferritic Stainless Steel? (If you were also curious)
430 stainless, also known as ferritic is not as durable as 304 and has less weld-ability.
430 stainless contains 17% chromium and 0.12% carbon making it only corrosion resistance in mildly corrosive environments. You find that a majority of the best charcoal smokers are made of 430!
Due to its makeup, it is also cheaper than 304 stainless. Therefore a stainless steel charcoal grill made out of 430 will be cheaper.
You will find that a 430 grill won't be as durable than a grill made from 304 stainless steel.
So, Why is Stainless So Popular?
Stainless steel is popular because of its resistance to bacteria. It is also is resistant to corrosion, stains & simply looks clean and simple. 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.
Charlie's Hot Tip
I have a Pit Barrel Smoker at home and I find due it it high quality stainless stain it has lasted me years. I'm pretty sure it is made of 304 stainless steel.
Pros & Cons of 304 Austenitic Stainless Steel
Pros & Cons of 403 Ferritic Stainless Steel
How to Keep Your Stainless Steel Grill Clean (The Fun Stuff)
When it comes to cleaning your BBQ, the best time is 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?
So, for those of you who want to eat first clean later make sure you follow these tips. Only warm water, add some detergent and give it a scrub, 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!
Charlie's Hot 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.
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.
Final Thoughts on Stainless Steel Grills
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 grill will last. 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. The beautiful flavour that you can achieve with charcoal smokers is wonderful, my favourite has got to be a rack of chilli lime ribs smoking away all day on low & slow!
Happy smoking everyone