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New bar grates

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  • PBCDad
    Club Member
    • Jan 2016
    • 394
    • Seattle area
    • Pit Barrel Cooker - 2015
      22" Kettle + SnS - 2016
      Thermapen - 2016
      Jambo 24x48 offset smoker (Big Tex) - 2017
      Camp Chef Denali griddle - 2018
      Billows and Signals - 2020

    New bar grates

    My Jambo came with expanded metal grates, the first time I've had to deal with them, and so far I've found them to be a pain to clean. I've decided to fabricate some new bar grates with the help of my uncle, who has a welder and a lot of skillz.

    I'm basing my design off of one that a company on FB sells. They use 3/8" bar, looks to be at 1" spacing, welded to angle or plate on two sides. See below for a photo. They use cold rolled steel, and told me they don't hear of issues with rust, and the best thing to do is just make sure I cook on it often. They also said cold rolled is better than stainless because it retains heat better (and obviously it is cheaper too). The issue is that I don't get to cook that often for a variety of reasons which aren't going to change in the short term.

    So my questions for all of you:
    1. Which would be better for an offset, stainless or cold rolled?
    2. Stainless bar costs about 3x as much, is it worth it if I don't cook much?
    3. What grade of SS is best? 304? 306? 316?
    4. Anyone who has made your own, is the center bar really necessary?

    Click image for larger version

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  • Jerod Broussard
    Moderator
    • Jun 2014
    • 9865
    • East Texas
    • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
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    #2
    My bottom grates (roller grates) on my Grid Iron are about 21" back to front, stainless, and don't have that bar and don't need it. They are HEAVY DUTY. I get stainless when I can and use a power washer to clean.

    Comment

    • Huskee
      Administrator
      • May 2014
      • 15304
      • central MI, USA
      • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

        Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

        Smokers / Grills
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        Beverages
        • Favorite summer beer: Leinenkugels Summer & Grapefruit Shandy, Hamm's, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
        • Fav other beer: DAB, Sam Adams regular, Third Shift amber or Coors Batch 19, Stella Artois
        • Fav cheap beers: Pabst, High Life, Hamm's & Stroh's
        • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
        • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
        • Whiskey: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Blanton's, Old Forester 1870, Elijah Craig, Basil Hayden's. Neat please.
        • Scotch: Current favorite- The Arran (anything by them), Glenmorangie 12yr Lasanta, sherry cask finished. The Balvenie Double Wood, also like Oban 18yr, and The Glenlivet Nadurra (Oloroso sherry cask finished) among others. Neat please.

        About me
        Real name: Aaron
        Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

        Occupation:
        • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

      #3
      I've just been dealing with the expanded metal grates all these years, they're a pain to clean but I deal with it I suppose. To me, I don't want a lot of mass on my grates because I don't need the grates to hold heat as I would on a grill. On my smoker I want the environment to be the heat, not the grates. If you don't want to pay for stainless, maybe just wipe the cold steel grates down with some oiled paper towel each time you're done, or spray with Pam and wipe. As far as the center bar, hard to say. If you're doing a lot of heavy stuff like briskets, you may see them dipping in time. But you may not.

      Comment

      • Ahumadora
        Club Member
        • Oct 2015
        • 2146
        • Warkworth, New Zealand

        #4
        Use 5/16" and 304 stainless . Put 2 extra cross bars in to stop it bending in the center. The outside frame you can use 1 1/4 x 1/8" angle. Much easier to clean and doesn't wipe the rub off if you have to reposition the meat.

        Comment


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          This matches what my stainless expanded metal smoker grate has - it has angle stock for the outer frame, and a grid of bar stock underneath the expanded metal.
      • jfmorris
        Club Member
        • Nov 2017
        • 3228
        • Huntsville, Alabama
        • Jim Morris

          Cookers
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          • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
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          • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
          • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
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          Beverages
          • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

        #5
        Originally posted by PBCDad View Post
        So my questions for all of you:
        1. Which would be better for an offset, stainless or cold rolled?
        2. Stainless bar costs about 3x as much, is it worth it if I don't cook much?
        3. What grade of SS is best? 304? 306? 316?
        4. Anyone who has made your own, is the center bar really necessary?
        1. My smoker, built in 1985, uses a stainless expanded metal grate, with stainless bar stock in a grid pattern to support it, all welded into a stainless frame (it looks like angle iron but I am guessing is 304SS like everything else). I clean my grates with a welding brush, and burn off at high every once in a while. So, I vote for stainless.

        2. Stainless is worth it if you don't ever want to make or buy another grate. Cold rolled steel will rust if you don' maintain it and oil it to prevent humidity/condensation causing rust.

        3. 304SS in my opinion.

        4. Mine is stainless expanded metal, so obviously I need a enter support on a 24" x 36" grate. I think you need it on one made from stainless bar stock, in order to help give structural integrity to everything.

        Comment


        • tbob4
          tbob4 commented
          Editing a comment
          Great info
      • PBCDad
        Club Member
        • Jan 2016
        • 394
        • Seattle area
        • Pit Barrel Cooker - 2015
          22" Kettle + SnS - 2016
          Thermapen - 2016
          Jambo 24x48 offset smoker (Big Tex) - 2017
          Camp Chef Denali griddle - 2018
          Billows and Signals - 2020

        #6
        I understand the purpose of the center bar to be to keep the bars from getting out of alignment due to warping from the heat or something, not for strength or deflection. I wouldn't expect more than 1/20th of an inch deflection under the most weight I could conceivably cook at once, and a single 3/8" bar can support up to 340# (sorry, I'm a structural engineer). Is warping due to the heat an issue?

        Huskee I was thinking the same thing regarding heat retention, I'm not trying to create grill marks on my slow-smoked stuff.

        Ahumadora I've been thinking about the outside frame. Using angle would raise the grate up off the rails a bit, which is fine, but it would also mean the weight of the meat gets transferred through the spot welds to the angle and then to the rail. The bars are sort of hanging off the angle, which makes the welds a bit more critical (again, very low overall weight). Is this what you normally do? I was thinking that ideally I could use a bent plate 1" x 1/4" so the bars are resting on the rails, but I don't have the equipment to do bent plate like that.

        Thanks for the advice so far, I think I'll bite the bullet and go with stainless. Buy once, cry once, right?

        Comment


        • Ahumadora
          Ahumadora commented
          Editing a comment
          How much meat you intend to load it up with to break welds in a direct pull ? As for raising it up with the 1 /14" angle you can solve both problems with this highly technical solution. (Flip the grate upside down). Use 316 rod to weld it to the mild steel frame (or just MIG weld and call it good). With a thin 5/16" rod over a 20" span will tend to warp or get bent from use/abuse. Run one in the center and it's ok.
      • jfmorris
        Club Member
        • Nov 2017
        • 3228
        • Huntsville, Alabama
        • Jim Morris

          Cookers
          • Camp Chef FTG900 Flat Top Grill (2020)
          • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
          • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
          • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
          • King Kooker 94/90TKD 105K/60K dual burner patio stove
          • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
          • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
          • Anova
          Thermometers
          • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
          • Thermoworks Dot
          • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
          • Thermoworks RT600C
          Beverages
          • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

        #7
        Me - I've been cooking on the same expanded metal grate for 30 years. Use a stainless bristle welding brush and some scotch brite pads, and it comes pretty clean! Mine only accumulates crud where the bar stock is welded underneath the expanded metal as a support, and I just hit it with the brush and don't worry too much - its all good once it hits 212F (100C) or higher.

        Comment

        • NapMaster
          Club Member
          • Jan 2019
          • 589
          • Denham Springs, LA
          • WebberSummitGold6burnerLP, ShotGunSmoker

            Avid Armor Vacuum Sealer

          #8
          For the grade of stainless, as you go up in number, the greater resistance to rust. 304 is all you need if you want stainless. Note: if you don't polish the welds really good, rust will start fairly quickly.

          If you plan to wash and pamper your grates, I would get the stainless. If you wash infrequently, get the rolled steel and save some money. Just scrub of the chunks and wipe with a little oil.
          Last edited by NapMaster; June 3, 2019, 09:16 PM.

          Comment

          • dcrumrine
            Club Member
            • Nov 2019
            • 6
            • SC Kansas

            #9
            If you make anything out of SS you need to keep in mind that SS expands more than steel. So if you make a grate out of SS bars you need a center support cause your grate will warp and end up with a wave grate going against the bars. For those who didnt understand that , one may warp up and the one next to it may warp down. If you have ever been around a reverse flow with a SS reverse flow plate it will pop and creek more than one with a steel reverse flow plate.

            Comment

            • Huskee
              Administrator
              • May 2014
              • 15304
              • central MI, USA
              • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

                Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

                Smokers / Grills
                • Yoder loaded Wichita offset smoker
                • PBC
                • Grilla Silverbac pellet grill
                • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (SnSK)
                • Dyna-Glo XL Premium dual chamber charcoal grill
                • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
                • Weber 26" Original Kettle Premium (black)
                • Weber Jumbo Joe Gold (18.5")
                • Weber Smokey Joe Silver (14.5")
                • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

                Thermometers
                • (3) Maverick XR-50: 4-probe Wireless Thermometers
                • (7) Maverick ET-732s
                • (1) Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth (in box)
                • (1) Smoke by ThermoWorks
                • (1) Signals by ThermoWorks
                • Thermapen MkII, orange
                • ThermoPop, yellow
                • ThermoWorks ChefAlarm
                • Morpilot 6-probe wireless
                • ThermoWorks Infrared IRK2
                • ThermoWorks fridge & freezer therms as well

                Accessories
                • Instant Pot 6qt
                • Anova Bluetooth SV
                • Kitchen Aide mixer & meat grinder attachment
                • Kindling Cracker King (XL)
                • BBQ Dragon
                • Weber full & half chimneys, Char-Broil Half Time chimney
                • Weber grill topper
                • Slow 'N Sear Original, XL, and SnS Charcoal Basket (for Jumbo Joe)
                • Drip 'N Griddle Pan, 22' Easy Spin Grate, and Elevated Cooking grate, by ABCbarbecue
                • Pittsburgh Digital Moisture Meter

                Beverages
                • Favorite summer beer: Leinenkugels Summer & Grapefruit Shandy, Hamm's, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
                • Fav other beer: DAB, Sam Adams regular, Third Shift amber or Coors Batch 19, Stella Artois
                • Fav cheap beers: Pabst, High Life, Hamm's & Stroh's
                • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
                • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
                • Whiskey: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Blanton's, Old Forester 1870, Elijah Craig, Basil Hayden's. Neat please.
                • Scotch: Current favorite- The Arran (anything by them), Glenmorangie 12yr Lasanta, sherry cask finished. The Balvenie Double Wood, also like Oban 18yr, and The Glenlivet Nadurra (Oloroso sherry cask finished) among others. Neat please.

                About me
                Real name: Aaron
                Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

                Occupation:
                • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

              #10
              Intersting input...any pics to prove this? (for info purposes?)

              Comment


              • dcrumrine
                dcrumrine commented
                Editing a comment
                No pics to prove it. Just 30 years of being a welder/fabricator and a lot of experience of welding stainless and heating stainless and learning how different metals react to heat.
            • PBCDad
              Club Member
              • Jan 2016
              • 394
              • Seattle area
              • Pit Barrel Cooker - 2015
                22" Kettle + SnS - 2016
                Thermapen - 2016
                Jambo 24x48 offset smoker (Big Tex) - 2017
                Camp Chef Denali griddle - 2018
                Billows and Signals - 2020

              #11
              Huskee I'm pretty sure you were asking dcrumrine but I figured I'd take this opportunity to upload a few pics of the grates my uncle and I did this past summer. We made grates not only for the cooking surface, but also for the firebox and a little shelf that stands off the grates and is raised up 6", for the times when my 48" smoker isn't big enough (it's already happened). No pics of the firebox or shelf, but you'll have to take my word that it all turned out really well, and it sure is easy to clean and care for!

              Click image for larger version

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              Click image for larger version

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              Comment

              • Troutman
                Club Member
                • Aug 2017
                • 7462
                • aka Troutman Taco - Hanging Free in Tejas

                • OUTDOOR COOKERS

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                #12
                PBCDad you and your uncle should go into business making those. The round ones for cookers like Weber kettles are not that easy to find, almost impossible in 5/16" rod done in 304 stainless. I'd pay good money to replace some of mine made out of carbon steel.

                Comment

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