How Often Should You Replace The Grates On Your Charcoal Grill?

Americans love to grill. We love to make homemade hamburgers, veggies, steaks, and whatever our taste buds fancy on an open fire. It just tastes better. Per Traeger, 42% of people grill at least one night a week, which makes sense when you consider how many Americans own a grill. The site goes on to share that number as well, and as of 2020, 60% of people in the United States have a grill. In fact, according to the NPD Group, data from April 2020 to February 2021 reveals that 14 million grills and smokers were sold in less than a year, and almost two-thirds were gas or charcoal grills. It's okay if you find you are among those who like charcoal grilling better. No judgment. Bobby Flay also prefers charcoal grills to gas grills, so you are in good company.

But whether you find yourself cleaning your charcoal grill at the beginning of summer or prepping it for hibernation until the warmer months roll around again, chances are you will probably notice the pristine grates you started with may have lost their luster. Grills are like any other kitchen appliance; sometimes, parts need to be replaced. However, if you are new to the grilling game, you may find yourself wondering when and how often you should replace the grates on your charcoal grill. We've got you covered. 

Look for chips and cracks

How long your grates will last before you have to replace them depends on several factors, including how often you clean them. Per The Spruce Eats, keeping your charcoal grill clean is really key. If you clean the grill after each use and keep the grates oiled, your grates will last you much longer than if you had not. However, grills are for outdoor use, and most people keep their grills outside, exposed to the elements and prone to rust. Is rust a problem?

According to America's Test Kitchen, charcoal grill grates get rusty, but just because you are seeing that distinctive red-brown color doesn't necessarily mean it is time to put them out to pasture. The food site suggests firing up the grill to warm it up. Then take a grill brush and start brushing the grates. The rust should disappear. What if it doesn't? This could mean the rust is a little deeper on the grate and might even be causing visible chips, cracks, and breaks. This is bad. It's at this point you might want to consider replacing your charcoal grill grates. Griller's Spot adds that if you notice your grates have burned on or stuck on food that remains after cleaning, it is probably time to buy some new ones.