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2-zone cooking with GrillGrates?

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    2-zone cooking with GrillGrates?

    Hello from Idaho; this is my first time posting so please go easy on me. I am a proud gas-man (no judging...it just works for me right now) but until I joined up with this group I was not familiar with GrillGrates. After poking around this website for hours I see Meathead write things like "If you own a gas grill, I cannot recommend GrillGrates more enthusiastically as a replacement for your factory grates or on top of your factory grates for all your cooking." Assuming Meathead is not being mind-controlled by GrillGrates I have decided I better pick up a set of GrillGrates and see what all fuss is about. However, after trying to research these little buggars I have two lingering questions I am hoping the collective wisdom of my BBQ brothers and sisters can help me with. I again quote Meathead:

    "If you leave a gap between the GGs, you can easily set up a 2-zone cooking system. The air gap is a great way to keep one side of the grates from heating up."

    From what I can tell when I order my GrillGrates they will be custom cut to fit my Genesis II and will fit nice and snug in my grill box, meaning I don't understand how I will be able to leave an air gap between zones using my GrillGrates. Do I simply remove an entire GG section (seems like too large of an air gap)? Does anyone have any insight for a simple backwoods boy like myself on this matter?

    My other question is secondary as I look forward to experimenting myself, but I seem to drawn to the idea of leaving the GGs updside down and doing most of my cooking on the griddle side... anyone want to make an argument for the GGs usually being better right-side up?

    Thanks in advance to all.

    I can comment to this, having both a Genesis and Genesis II with full sets of Grillgrates.

    On my older Genesis, the Grillgrate panels were pretty tight side to side, with little to no gap. I don't even know on that grill if I could fit them in if I disconnected the panels, as it pretty much filled the grill from left to right. HOWEVER, I will say that if I broke the connection in the middle of the grill, and flipped half of the panels over to the flat side, for doing smash burgers, that they could now overlap, and it opened up a little gap.

    Another option is if one of your panels is a filler (gap) panel, take that out.

    On my Genesis II E-410 4 burner, the full set from Grillgrates ends up with a gap on both left and right side of the grill of almost an inch. If you break some of the panels off, there is plenty of room to have a gap between them.

    Which Genesis II model do you have? If it is the 4 burner like me, you will have plenty of side to side gap - it is only tight front to back. On the Genesis II 3 burner, the stock cooking grate area is 26" wide, and the replacement set of Grillgrates is 25.5 inches wide assembled, so there should be a half inch gap if you disconnect the panels. You will be fine for setting up an indirect zone. I do it all the time to do a reverse sear of steaks - I put my steaks at one end of the grill, with the burners on that end off, and turn the burners on at the other end, wait for the steaks to hit 120F or so, then crank the burner that is on to high, and sear on the flat side of the grates.

    As far as how I use the grates... I find that the rail side is best for chicken, larger veggies, fish, and pork chops and such. The flat side is best for burgers, steaks, and stir fry type veggies, grilled onions, etc. On my Genesis II 4 burner I keep about half of the panels to the rail side and half to the flat side. Since it is 6 full panels and 1 gap, I have 3+gap rail side up, and 3 flat side up as a "searing" area. Sometimes I have it all one way or all the other. That is the beauty of it - you can flip it either way you need it for a cook.

    I just got 2 of the griddle panels on the Grillgrate factory seconds sale, and those cover about half of my grill, so I am going to see how well those work, versus turning the regular panels flat side up.
    Last edited by jfmorris; May 22, 2020, 08:36 AM.


      GrillGrates are awesome. I use them on my charcoal Weber Smokey Joe. There are multiple sizes so perhaps what you are reading is for sets that are three pieces.

      Mine is two pieces. For doing a reverse sear on a couple of ribeyes I'll pile hot coals under one that has the flat side on top. For other foods like chicken and fish I use the flat side down.

      They do need a little TLC after use. After dinner, when they're still warm, I scrape them clean with a narrow putty knife. Others here use wadded up aluminum foil or a chainmail scrubber.


        Awesome, thanks for the info. I have a 3 burner and looking GG's website it looks like it will come with 5 standard pieces, no gap piece. For all of the love the GGs receive on this site I am sure I can make it work. Thanks again.


          Originally posted by whtrice View Post
          Awesome, thanks for the info. I have a 3 burner and looking GG's website it looks like it will come with 5 standard pieces, no gap piece. For all of the love the GGs receive on this site I am sure I can make it work. Thanks again.
          Yes, the dimensions of the assembled set on the GG website say it is 25.5" wide, and the dimensions I found online for the Genesis II 3 burner say the original stock grates are 26" wide, so you have a 1/2 inch of gap to play with - either 1/2 inch somewhere in the middle, or 1/4 inch at both ends if they are all attached. I would probably start by cooking with all of them set to the rail side with something fatty - one of my absolute favorite things to cook on Grillgrates is chicken wings, brushing with my homemade buffalo sauce, or a 50/50 mix of Frank's Red-hot and Newman's Own Creamy Caesar aka Huskee sauce during the final couple of turns of the wings.

          You will season these much like cast iron. I use the Grillgrate valley brush to push debris to the back, and shovel it out with the grate tool. I also use the detail tool to scrape the rails or flat side - any paint scraper can work though. I keep my original cast iron grates under the grill on the upper shelf, as I use those if I want to put a cast iron skillet or a dutch oven on the grill. The Grillgrates folks recommend against putting cast iron pans directly on the aluminum grates, as it can cause warping due to the different heat retention properties of the two metals.

          You are going to like these - I find they reduce/eliminate flareups, and also keep the inside of my grill MUCH MUCH cleaner, to where I have to do a deep cleaning of my Genesis much less often. Chicken and pork chops and veggies come out a lot better too, than on the original grates, in my opinion.


            Welcome to the Pit from Dallas!


              Welcome from the mountains of NC. Looks like you have your answer. Enjoy!


                I have nothing to add, but welcome to The Pit.


                  I find with a half sheet of the grates for the hot side, it’s hard to maintain low temp on the low zone. I generally take them off for two zone, but I don’t do a lot of two zone on the gasser anymore, since I have the pellet pooper.

                  I find that having a half set, just for the sear side, is perfectly adequate for my needs.


                    Welcome from Western Massachusetts.

                    I have Genesis II 3 burner. Here is the way I create a gap as jfmorris spoke about. This is pretty much the way I keep the GG's most of the time.

                    Click image for larger version

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