CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF COOKING GRATES
CAST IRON COOKING GRATES:
Upon purchase, you will want to season the grates using the steps below to provide a protective coating that protects against rust.
Coat cooking grates, ash pan, interior hood, and body with 100% oil (Vegetable, Olive or Animal Fat, Bacon Grease works great and adds flavor). Heat the grill to 300-350 degrees for an hour to an hour and thirty minutes allowing that oil to bake into the metal. Let it cool down and go through the process again. You'll see the coating begin to cover the entire interior and after the third time, you'll see that dark bronze, shiny, hard coating. This protective coating will protect your grill from rust and keep food from sticking to your cooking grates.
Note: We find it helpful to keep a spray bottle of 100% vegetable oil by the grill and give the entire grill a light coat after each use. Depending on how often the grill is used, will determine how often the seasoning process needs to be repeated. Seasoning the grill is NOT a one time process.
Grates already have surface rust?
As long as the rust has not been allowed to build-up to the point that it has eaten through the iron, more than likely, it can be removed. Surface rust can be removed from cast iron in several ways.
It's best to start with some type of abrasive cleaning tool when you are trying to get the rust off any type of metal. Wire brushes and steel wool are good choices for cast iron. You can attack the rust build-up with just an abrasive surface and your own muscle power or you can opt to utilize a cleaning solution to aid in your grill cleaning efforts.
If you like the idea of using a cleaning solution, consider trying one of these options:
Vinegar - Rub the rusty surface with plain white vinegar at full strength and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Once the vinegar starts to dissolve the rust, use your wire brush or steel wool to begin cleaning the affected area. Repeat until the rust is gone.
Baking Soda Paste - As an alternative to using vinegar, you can attempt to clean rust off cast iron grills and other metal surfaces using a thick paste made from baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the rust build-up and allow it to sit for a few hours. Then, scrub away the paste using an abrasive surface, repeating as necessary.
Salt Paste - If you need something more abrasive than baking soda or vinegar to remove the rust from your cast iron grill, make a thick paste of kosher salt and water. Apply it to the rusty area, then use steel wool or a wire brush to scrub away the rust. Repeat as necessary. For particularly stubborn rust, you may need to begin your cleaning efforts with a salt paste but may find that you can switch to the less abrasive baking soda paste once the first few layers of rust have been removed.
Once the surface rust has been removed, it is imperative to provide a coating to protect the raw metal from moisture in the air, or debris left in the bottom of the grill that holds moisture. Follow the seasoning instructions above to prevent rusting.
Attached below are a few links that could be helpful to you!
How to Season Your Grill
How to Oil Your Grill Grates After Use
Remember, the most important part of the cleaning is the follow-up seasoning. Using the grill at higher temperatures can burn the seasoning, so it is important to season regularly. Coating the grates with oil between uses can also help prevent rust, and ALWAYS allow the grill to cool completely with the hood open to prevent trapping moisture inside, which can significantly accelerate corrosion.