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After many months away from this board (though I still lurk), I'm posting again for some advice. I have a Chargriller grill / smoker that has heavy cast iron grates. When I assembled it about a year and a half ago, it came with instructions that described how to season the grates (something about using bacon drippings and heating them for about 3 hours or something like that). Initially, I used the grates to grill on, but lately I've just been smoking things in it (tri-tips, chicken, etc.) using the upper chrome rack and haven't really been using the grates to grill on. I noticed that with all the rain we've had in L.A., the grates have a pale, greyish look to them with a bit of rust starting to appear. So I want to re-season the grates after knocking the rust off.

Since I can't seem to find the original instructions, can anyone suggest how to go about seasoning these things?
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Hello blugld:

This might be what you're looking for. I found it on Char-Griller's website:

BBQ Grilling Tips and Preperation
Curing Your New Char-Griller BBQ Grill
Curing your grill protects the grill's interior and exterior finish while preventing unnaturla flavors in your first meals. Please follow these steps in curing your BBQ grill.
Lightly coat ALL INTERIOR SURFACES (including GRILLS, GRATES, and INSIDE of the BARREL).
Build a medium-sized fire on the fire grate.
After coals ash over, spread out coals, replace cooking grates, close lid and heat at approximately 250° F for two hours.
Re-coat GRATES and return to grill at approximately 200° F for two hours.
Your GRILL will then be ready for use. NOTE: Your GRILL will drip a lot of oil during the curing process and for several uses, but the dripping will slow over time. NEVER EXCEED 400° F BECAUSE THIS WILL DAMAGE THE FINISH AND CONTRIBUTE TO RUST. THE PAINT IS NOT WARRANTED AND WILL REQUIRE TOUCH-UP. THIS UNIT IS NOT WARRANTED AGAINST RUST.
To START FIRE - stack 50 - 60 briquets in a pyramid and saturate with lighter fluid (DON'T USE GASOLINE). Light coals in several places, close lid after briquests ash over or 1/2 gray, spread them out and start cooking. If one end burns faster use tongs to move coals from one end to the other for even heat. ALWAYS FOLLOW CHARCOAL AND LIGHTER FLUID MANUFACTURERS' INSTRUCTIONS AND WARNINGS. USE OUTDOORS ONLY ON NONCOMBUSTIBLE SURFACE - 15' AWAY FROM WOOD AND COMBUSTIBLE MATERIAL.
Control heat with amount and type of FUEL, DUAL DAMPERS and ADJUSTABLE FIRE GRATE. Adjust GRATE one end at a time. Wood burns hotter than coals. More airflow is more heat.
For no flare-ups, cook with lid in the down position. Add water to soaked hardwood chips for a smoked flavor.
Suggestion: Screw ¾" cup hooks (not furnished) on front of the wood shelf to hang cooking utensils.
Burn out may be rust out. Ashes left in the bottom of the GRILL too long hold moisture and rust through any thickness of steel. This grill is made of steel and cast iron, which WILL RUST, ESPECIALLY IF NOT PROPERLY CARED FOR.
Do not use self-starting charcoal as it will give unnatural flavor. Burn lighter fluid completely before closing lid.
After using, coat vegetable oil on interior grates and bare metal while warm to reduce rust. On the EXTERIOR, remove rust with wire brush and touch up with a high heat paint, available at most hardware/auto stores.
HINT: If cast iron grates get caked, put them in a self-cleaning oven. They will come out looking like new, but will require re-seasoning.
HEAT GAUGE may obtain moisture, which will steam out during cooking. Your heat gauge may be calibrated in your oven.
You may fill unwanted holes with nuts and bolts (not provided).
NOTE: Smoke will escape from areas other than the smokestack. This should not affect your cooking.


http://www.chargriller.com/tips.html

Kevian
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In my experience, once your coated and chromed metals get rusty... that's it. You got rust. You can try every high temp coating on the shelf but it's gonna get hot and burn off and then you get more rust.... after it cools off just spray the grills with cheap veg oil and wipe off the excess .

UNLESS.....unless you get a good coat of grease built up and leave it be. Grease will prevent the rust from easting the metal too fast... but you still got rust.
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Kevian wrote:

This might be what you're looking for. I found it on Char-Griller's website:...

Hmm... interesting concept, that checking-the-manufacturer's-website thing... WHY DIDN'T I THINK TO DO THAT???

<SMACK!>
(slapping forehead w/ the palm of my head)

Thanks for the info.
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I might be missing something here, but my philosophy is just keep grilling and smoking! Eventually, all the grease and oil on grills gets converted to carbon. Once it gets totally "carbonized" nothing sticks and nothing rusts!


OleDoc
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OleDocJ wrote:

I might be missing something here, but my philosophy is just keep grilling and smoking! Eventually, all the grease and oil on grills gets converted to carbon. Once it gets totally "carbonized" nothing sticks and nothing rusts!

That was my normal philosophy as well when I was doing mixed-use grilling and smoking on my Char-Griller. Then, things fell into a smoking-only rut for the Char-Griller because we were doing renovation work on the house and didn't have large groups over to grill for (it's hard to entertain when you have no patio!). I was doing all my smoking on the upper rack while the iron grates were covered with aluminum foil to keep grease drippings from causing flare-ups or rust (this was when I had the fire directly below the food). Actual grilling duties were being by my smaller Weber which is closer to the kitchen and is good for a steak or two or some burgers or seafood.

Then, the renovation work neared completion and I recently got a side smoke box attachment for the Char-Griller - and this weekend was our first "big grill" in quite some time, so I was returning to using the main grill grates for... grilling (a novel concept, I know - much like checking the mfr's website for instructions!). Since it had been almost a good year or so since I'd grilled on the grates, all the grease / oil on the grates had evaporated or cooked off. Thus, the re-seasoning issue.

Maybe after another seasoning session and some more regular use, the grates will return to their carbonized, water-repelling glory.
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Since I can't seem to find the original instructions, can anyone suggest how to go about seasoning these things?

You should really get the rust off before re-seasoning. Try the electrolysis method where you set up plactic container large enough to hold the grates with a little room to spare. Make a jumper out of a piece of 12 - 14 ga. insulated copper wire and a battery clip or attach to a bolt and nut, just make sure you get good contact. Cut open a large coffee can and put in the container so it doesn't touch the grates. Attach it to the side of the container with the POSITIVE lead of a battery charger. Attach the jumper to the grate(s) and attach the NEGATIVE lead to the battery charger. Fill the container with water and add about a cup of sodium carbonate (PH+ or Arm & Hammer Washing Soda) to every five gallons, more or less. Make sure the coffee can and grates aren't touching. Fire up the battery charger. If everything is right there shoud be lots of tiny bubbles coming off the grates. Let it "cook" for a few hours and check it out. If the iron is clean, scrub it off with hot soapy water, rinse well. Coat with vegetable shortening and put in a 300 degree oven for an hour or so. Turn off the oven and while they're still hot but where you can handle them without getting 3rd degree burns, wipe off the excess shortening. It helps to put a piece of foil under the grates so you won't get into trouble. You're good to go!

Don't ever wash them again. Scrub off with a wire brush or a ball of newspapers if you wish to get the crud off the top. Cook something greasy the first time you use it.

The above works for all cast iron, especially skillets and other cookware. It will remove rust very quickly and given enough time will remove carbon. It will not harm your iron. I have left skillets in for days. This is the way the most expensive collectable cast iron cookware is cleaned. Most collectors use stainless steel instead of the coffee can as it will destroy the mild steel but stainless lasts a very long time. You can even use a stailess steel drum or vat and suspend your iron in it to clean.

TC
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Hey TC,

I remember you posting this a long time ago. Thanks for posting it again!

May I add these instructions to the web site on a page of your own? You are listed on the BBQ Fools page;

http://www.bbqfools.com/BBQFools.htm

ßillƒ
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Of course Bill, I iorgot about this web page when I posted. Y'all may want to bookmark it:

http://66.175.18.153/Electrolysis/ELECTROS.htm

If you are into cast iron you might want to boogie over to WAGS:

http://www.wag-society.org/

You can log onto that forum as a guest and get some "real" expert advice. Love to have you join too!

TC
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Of course Bill...

Cool! Thanks! Done!

http://www.bbqfools.com/topcat17.htm

ßillƒ

Man of few words since 1903
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Topcat17 wrote:

You should really get the rust off before re-seasoning. Try the electrolysis method where you set up plactic container large enough to hold the grates with a little room to spare.

I checked out a few websites re: electolysis cleaning and most mentioned the need for a DC source of power. I'm really interested in trying this cleaning method, but I don't have a battery charger as a DC source. However, I DO have a transformer for model train operations that has DC output. Do you think I could use this to clean the grates (assuming it has sufficient power)?
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However, I DO have a transformer for model train operations that has DC output. Do you think I could use this to clean the grates (assuming it has sufficient power)?

There is only one way to tell fur sure and dat is to try it. Ob course, you might want to put a fuse in da circuit so you don't burn the transformer up. ;-)

C.J.V.
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