On a past blog, I mentioned that I would love the opportunity to review the ManGrates. It was not long after that I was contacted by Dan from the company offering to send me some for review. I emailed him my mailing address, and eventually a package arrived at my door containing four ManGrates along with a cleaning brush! I was looking forward to trying this product out.
- Material: Cast Iron
- Dimensions: 15” long x 4.25” wide x 1.375” thick
- Weight: 8 lb.
About the ManGrate and Initial Findings
ManGrate is based out of Manassas, VA (which also happens to be the home of Dizzy Pig BBQ). Each ManGrate is made in America out of solid cast iron and utilizes a patented design that employs radiant heat instead of more traditional convection air often found in grills and outdoor cookers. This design assists in reducing flare-ups while allowing for more even cooking and providing an ideal surface to produce those ever so pretty grill marks that people rave over.
If you take a look at the grates from the end, you can get a better sense of the employed design. The ridges at the bottom of the grate trap oils, fats, and drippings that are often a leading source of excessive flare-ups. The searing surface (the top of the rails on the grate) provide the surface for the meat to sit on. And let me tell you, these things are solid. I wouldn’t recommend dropping one on your toe.
Available for purchase along with the grate is a ManBrush. This extra-wide brush head allows for more coverage when cleaning your grates after a cook. The head on the brush is about twice as wide as a normal-sized grill brush. The length of the bristles allows one to reach down into the grooves of the grates for cleaning.
For Every Grill Session, There Is a Season(ing)
Because the ManGrates are made of cast iron, there is the potential for rust. That’s why it is important to season your grates really well. Seasoning is a continual process, and the recommended method is as follows:
- Liberally spray your grates with cooking spray.
- Heat your grill to high heat for approximately 10-15 minutes.
I have already experienced some small rust spots with my grates. However, seasoning the grates resolved that issue. I suspect that continual seasoning will only make them better.
Food for Thought
I wanted to see how versatile these grates were with different types of food. For this review, I did three different cooks – sirloin steaks seasoned with Oakridge BBQ’s Santa Maria Steak Seasoning, grilled pork chops with mint chimichurri, and grilled boneless/skinless chicken breasts seasoned with Oakridge BBQ’s Game Bird & Chicken Rub. I also now have an iPhone 4, so I decided to video my experiences (at least with steak and pork).
Here are some quick observations from my first experiences in using the ManGrates
- It may take a bit longer for your grill to pre-heat. This one should have been obvious to me. The amount of extra time is not terribly significant – maybe an additional 5 minutes.
- Out of the three meats cooked, I had the most difficulty with the boneless/skinless chicken breasts. These had a tendency to want to stick to the grates.
- There was a significant reduction in flare-ups.
- The ManGrates provide a great surface for making grill marks!
I have to say I am impressed! The reduction in flare ups alone makes the product worthwhile. The ability to provide those beautiful grill marks is definitely a bonus. Plus it’s hard to beat cooking on cast iron. There are some drawbacks, though. If you are a believer in low-maintenance, do know that you will need to continually season these grates. Because they are cast iron, they are definitely not in the lightweight category. So I would recommend positioning the grates where you want them before starting your fire (because, quite frankly, I don’t endorse touching a hot cast iron grate).
Finally, the one sticking point that may cause many people to balk is the price. Prices range from $29.99 for a single grate (with no brush) to $119.99 for a set of four grates and a brush (both prices exclude shipping and handling). However, if you click this link, you can purchase individual grates for $19.99 per grate plus a flat rate of $9.99 for shipping & handling, regardless of the number of grates ordered. That’s a 33% savings on just the cost of grates alone, which is pretty sweet! In addition, ManGrate will include a ManBrush with your order (one per order) for an additional $6.99 to cover shipping.