Why buy a grill rack?
All outdoor grills feature a grate that keeps food above the flame and coals so they don’t burn, but additional specialty grill racks are designed to better cook certain types of foods on indoor and outdoor grills. Shrimp cooks faster than burgers; some vegetables and fruits have different temperature requirements. A good grill rack helps to ensure that heat transfers more evenly to your foods during the cooking process and prevents overcooked or burnt food. Some are designed as warming racks to keep foods like burger buns warm or toast them at a lower temperature while leaving space underneath to grill other products. Others come in different shapes besides the usual horizontal grill racks to better hold and cook certain types of food, such as peppers, mushrooms, or chicken drumsticks. As a bonus, grill racks will keep your food from sticking to the grill itself, ensuring easier cleanup. Grill racks are also a great way to avoid cross-contamination if someone in your home or social circle has allergies or dietary restrictions.
What should you look for in a grill rack?
- Material: Cast iron and stainless steel are the two best options. Cast iron is a good choice because it’s not very expensive; it can be seasoned before cooking to add extra flavor and retains heat exceptionally well; many people own at least one cast-iron cooking pan or wok for this reason. But cast iron is also a bit high maintenance and will rust over time if not properly cared for. Stainless-steel grill racks will be a bit pricier, but they’re easier to maintain, are naturally rustproof, and have a long service life. They may not leave the classic grill marks on food as well as cast iron, though.
- Food: What food do you want to use in your grill rack to cook or keep warm? Burger buns? Fish? Chicken wings or drumsticks? Kebobs? These and more are options for grill racks, especially those requiring lower temperatures or cooking faster.
- Size: An outdoor grill will have more room for grill rack(s) than an indoor countertop grill or grill pan. Think about where you primarily grill and how much space is available on top of that grill. It may help to measure your grill top to understand its dimensions, so you know what size grill racks will fit on it. Also, consider how many people you tend to grill for—if you throw lots of backyard BBQ parties for friends and neighbors, you’ll probably need a bigger grill rack than you would if you’re grilling for yourself and your significant other.
Should you clean a grill rack after each use?
The longer food and debris sit on the rack, the harder it’ll be to clean them off. Not to mention that regular cleaning will help to keep your grill rack in peak condition, thus extending its service life. This also helps avoid the risk of cross-contamination, especially if someone in your family or friend group has dietary issues or allergies or eats vegetarian or vegan. It also removes any dust or chemicals that may come into contact with after cooking. Buying a dishwasher-safe grill rack will make cleanup much easier, as all you have to do is rinse or scrape off any food particles and then place it in the dishwasher. Otherwise, warm water and mild soap should do the trick. You may also want to spray your grill rack with a degreaser before washing to help ensure it stays in tip-top shape and extend its service life. Whichever cleaning method you use, be sure not to wipe off or wash your grill rack before thoroughly cooling down.
Cave Tools Jalapeño Corer Tool Grill Topper
This uniquely designed grill rack is the perfect way to grill smaller foods like peppers, jalapeño poppers, and chicken drumsticks.
Pros: The food slots right into the open holes and, as long as it’s not too narrow, are held securely during grilling. This grill rack is compatible with virtually every type and brand of grill but is safe to use in almost any oven or with any smoker you want, making it more versatile. Thanks to the stainless-steel body, it’s also dishwasher-safe and comes with a complementary coring tool and a downloadable recipe book. These two extras, plus the grill rack’s versatility, ensure you get a good bang for your buck.
Cons: As great as this grill rack is for foods like bacon-wrapped jalapeños and drumsticks, the size and shape of the holes limit the types of food for which it’s effective. Also, the interior edges of the holes are pretty sharp; you can easily cut your finger if you’re not careful.
Bottom Line: Grilling isn’t limited to meat—there are more tasty grilled vegetable recipes than ever. Not that you can’t use this grill rack for certain meats, namely chicken drumsticks, but it’s especially ideal for grilling and roasting vegetables like peppers and mushrooms.
Cave Tools Kebob Rack for Skewers
If skewers and kebobs are your favorite food to cook on your grill, these specialty skewer racks and their accessories will be a worthwhile investment.
Pros: This pair of grill racks were explicitly designed to hold kebobs and other food cooked on skewers, and they’ll serve this task admirably. Since you can easily shift how close or far apart the two racks are, it doesn’t matter how long or short the skewers are, if they’re round or flat, or what material they are made of. These racks are also safe to use in the oven or smoker. A complementary small book of recipes comes included with your purchase.
Cons: Due to their design, these grill racks are only suitable for use with food on skewers. And since each rack has five slots, you can only cook up to five skewers at once.
Bottom Line: Kebobs, skewers, and other foods served on sticks are grilling and barbeque staples. If you’ve had issues cooking your skewered food in the past, this set of skewer grill racks will be perfect for your needs.
Weber Warming Rack
Keep your hamburger rolls, hot dog buns, and fast-cooking foods toasty without burning them on the grill with this handy steel warming rack.
Pros: This warming grill rack may look slim, but don’t let its size fool you. It’s made out of plated steel, so it’s plenty strong and durable, and when paired with a properly-sized grill, it will remain firmly and sturdily in place without shifting and disrupting your food as it warms. While it’s great for toasting hamburger and hot dog buns, it will also support steaks, ribs, burger patties, hot dogs, fruits, and vegetables without issue. As a bonus, it’s dishwasher-safe and thus easy to clean—make sure you fully wipe it dry immediately after washing.
Cons: Unlike other warming racks, this model isn’t fashioned with legs or different ways of propping it off the grill. The only way to elevate it is to rest it on the edges of the grill itself, so be sure to measure your grill top before buying. Also, note that this model isn’t rustproof.
Bottom Line: Warming grill racks are handy for keeping already-grilled food warm while the rest is still cooking, toasting buns, and melting cheese over your food. This slender but sturdy little warming rack will perform these tasks admirably as long as it properly fits your grill.
LINELAX Stainless-Steel Rib Rack
Grilling ribs can be a tricky task to get right, but this set of rib racks will go a long way towards helping you make evenly cooked and tender ribs.
Pros: Even experienced cooks sometimes struggle to properly cook tender, juicy, and fall-off-the-bone ribs. These grill racks were explicitly designed with ribs in mind to make this task a bit easier for you. You can slow-cook your ribs at a lower temperature without fiddling with the grill’s controls. They’re also safe for ovens and smokers, so you can prepare your ribs in any fashion. As a bonus, they hold your ribs sideways, saving grill space for other foods that ribs normally take up. As a bonus, the stainless steel ensures they are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Cons: Since these hold the ribs sideways, it’s hard to thoroughly coat them with sauces or fit a basting brush between the racks. Also, if the ribs are longer than the racks, the ends will hang over the sides, affecting the cooking process.
Bottom Line: Ribs are another grilling and barbeque staple food that can be tricky for even seasoned grill masters to cook properly. These grill racks were explicitly designed to make this task much easier for you, whether grilling, smoking, or roasting ribs.
G.a HOMEFAVOR Chicken Leg Rack with Drip Tray
This grill rack was designed to properly hold chicken legs and wings over your grill and cook them without ever needing to flip or rotate them.
Pros: If you want to try grilling chicken drumsticks and wings, look no further than this grill rack. It’s explicitly designed to hold both, but since the chicken hangs over the grill, you won’t ever have to worry about flipping or rotating the wings or drumsticks as they cook. A removable drip tray is included to prevent drippings from messing with your grill or causing a flare-up. You can also stick vegetables in a drip tray to roast them in the BBQ drippings if you want. And since the whole set is made from stainless steel, you won’t have to worry about rust or corrosion. This grill rack is safe to clean in the dishwasher, and it folds down easily when not in use for more convenient storage.
Cons: Since this is a specially designed grill rack, it will only work with poultry wings and drumsticks, chicken specifically. And you can only roast up to 14 chicken legs or wings at a time, so it may not be large enough for hosting bigger parties.
Bottom Line: Chicken wings or drumsticks may not be the first food that comes to mind when you fire up the grill, but they cook well on a grill like any other meat. With this specialty grill rack, grilling up a batch of wings to perfection is much easier.
If you grill regularly, a grill rack is an invaluable addition to your grilling tools. They allow you to not only cook multiple different foods at the same time but to grill them all to perfection every time.