Why buy a grill rack?
All outdoor grills feature a grate that keeps food elevated above the flame and coals so that they don’t burn, but additional specialty grill racks are designed to better cook certain types of foods on both 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 still 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– since the grill racks are smaller, it’s a much simpler task to remove and clean them than the built-in grill grate. Grill racks are also a great way to avoid cross-contamination if you have someone in your home or social circle who has allergies or dietary restrictions.
What should you look for in a grill rack?
- Material: Grill racks will, almost without exception, be made of some metal. Cast iron and stainless steel are generally considered 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 very reason. But cast iron is also a bit high maintenance and will rust over time if not properly cared for, which may be an issue if you tend to grill outdoors, as most people do. 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 Type: What sort of food do you want to use in your grill rack to cook or keep warm? Burger buns? The burger patties themselves? Fish? Chicken wings or drumsticks? Ribs? Peppers? Kebobs? All of these and more are options for grill racks. Not all foods necessarily require a specially designed or shaped grill rack to cook, but they can be a boon for some types of food, especially those requiring lower temperatures or cooking faster.
- Size: Your new grill rack won’t do you any good if it’s too big to fit on your grill or is too small to hold all the food you want to cook or warm on it. 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 get an idea of 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 gets rid of any dust or chemicals that it might’ve come into contact with after cooking. Buying a dishwasher-safe grill rack will make cleanup that 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: This is a rather uniquely designed grill rack that’s perfect for grilling small foods and sides, namely (but not only) peppers, jalapeños, and chicken drumsticks. The food slots right into the open holes and, as long as it’s not too narrow, are held securely in place during grilling. This grill rack is not only compatible with virtually every type and brand of the grill but is safe to use in pretty much 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 complimentary coring tool and 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 just meat—there are more tasty grilled vegetable recipes out there than ever before. 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 kebabs 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 designed specifically to hold kebabs and other food cooked on skewers, and they’ll serve this task admirably. It doesn’t matter what types or combinations of meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables you’re grilling on sticks; these racks are suitable for them all. 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, made from metal or bamboo or wood. Just about every type and size of skewer should fit right in the slots. These racks are also safe to use in the oven or smoker and wash in the dishwasher. A complimentary downloadable recipe book comes included with your purchase.
Cons: Due to their design, these grill racks are only really 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: Kebabs, 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. Due to its classic design, this warming rack will be able to fit and hold pretty much any food that you’ve cooked on your grill and want to keep warm. 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 some other warming racks, this model isn’t fashioned with legs or other ways of propping it up 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 cook tender, juicy, and fall-off-the-bone ribs properly. These grill racks were designed specifically with ribs in mind to make this task a bit easier for you. You’ll be able to slow-cook your ribs at a lower temperature without fiddling with the grill’s controls. They’re also safe to use in ovens and smokers, so you can prepare your ribs in pretty much any fashion you like. They’ll fit ribs of most sizes, from baby back to spare ribs and more. They hold your ribs sideways as a bonus, saving grill space for other foods that ribs would normally take up. While designed for ribs, they’re perfectly acceptable to use with any other meat or food that can fit into them. 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.
RTT Chicken Leg and Wing Rack for Grill
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 give grilling chicken drumsticks and wings a try, look no further than this grill rack. It is explicitly designed to hold both, but since the chicken hangs over rather than lays on the grill, you won’t ever have to worry about flipping or rotating the wings or drumsticks as they cook. They’ll cook evenly while requiring less maintenance. A removable drip tray is included to prevent drippings from messing with your grill or causing a flare-up. As a bonus, this grill rack is safe for dishwashers, ovens, and smokers, 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. Also, the legs of this rack aren’t the strongest and may break off or snap if weighed down or not handled gently.
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, it’s much easier to grill up a batch of wings to perfection.
If you’re someone who grills with regularity, 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.