Grilling out is great, but sometimes it can feel like you either don’t have the right kind of space or enough space to grill everything you want. This can lead one to naturally ask, “how do I find the best outdoor grill rack and topper?”
The grill racks and toppers that are right for you depend on what you’re going to use them for. Grill racks can be made from cast iron, stainless steel, and porcelain. Toppers can be pans, baskets, or griddles. Your individual needs will determine which types are best for you.
If you’d like to take your BBQing skills to the next level with grill racks and toppers but you’re not sure which ones to get, we’ve got you covered. In the sections below we will review how to pick the right rack and topper. For racks, we’ll go over the different types of material they are made from and how that influences what they’re good for. For toppers, we examine the types.
Why Having the Right Grill Rack & Topper is Important
Grilling racks and toppers are important because they expand what you can cook on your grill and how many things you can cook at a time. They also make things like flipping foods far easier.
Finding the Right Grill Rack
The right grill rack for one person may be different for another. The main difference between these various racks is the material they are made out of. Each type of material has advantages and disadvantages that make them right for certain types of grilling.
Below we’ve broken down each type of grill rack’s advantages and disadvantages in various situations:
When to Use a Cast Iron Grill Rack
Cast iron grill racks are incredible for foods that need to be cooked at extreme heat. These can last for a really long time and they can be quite durable.
They do have one real weakness, however. As oil and grease build up on them it can actually damage them. If you cook a lot of greasy foods, you might be better off looking at the porcelain racks.
When to Use a Stainless Steel Grill Rack
Beware, food often stick to these as well. This problem tends to get worse over time due to the chipping. We really only recommend these if you’re trying to save a buck and you’re the type who will clean them with increased regularity.
When to Use a Porcelain Grill Rack
Okay, these are called porcelain racks, but they’re really just porcelain-coated grill racks. When it comes down to it, they are also steel or iron. You’re better off going with one that has iron in its core because it can take more heat.
These are great for those greasy foods that could damage a plain iron grill rack. When these take damage it’s more from having something scrape against them, so be careful with your BBQing tools.
What Do You Use a Grill Topper For
Now that you’ve got a good idea of what kind of basic grill rack you need, let’s shift gears and discuss toppers. If you’re new to BBQing or you’ve only recently started taking it seriously, you’re probably wondering, “What is a grill topper and what is it used for?”
You can think of a grill topper almost like having an extra, specialized rack. Toppers can come in a number of forms like griddles and pans. They increase your ability to multitask and allow you to cook more things on your grill than you otherwise would be able to.
Do Grill Toppers Work?
In today’s world, one could be forgiven for asking if grill toppers are just a gimmick or if they actually work.
Fortunately, grill toppers work great for cooking different types of food. For example, they can allow you to get the perfect cook on your vegetables while BBQing your meat. Of course, they also make it way easier to flip things like vegetables without disturbing any of your other food.
Finding the Right Topper
The right topper really depends on what you plan on cooking. Below we will go over three types of toppers that are perfect for different types of cooking:
Using a Fish Basket Topper
Basket toppers are amazing for stuff you need to flip. Because of their design, you can easily flip your food with them and get a perfect even cook. These are great for cooking everything from fish to veggies.
Using a Griddle Topper
Griddle toppers can expand the number of things you can cook on your grill. You can use it to prepare eggs and bacon while your main meat cooks on the rack beneath.
Griddle toppers are great for getting a much more even cook. If you time everything right, the food you cook on the griddle should have just the right amount of crunch.
Using a Pan Topper
Pan toppers are perfect for when you just want to expand your cook space and get more done all at once. They are great for preparing smaller foods like veggies.
They usually don’t take up the whole grill, so you can have the topper to one side, cooking the vegetables, while next to it you have your meat over low heat.
So Really, How Do I Find the Best Grill Rack & Topper?
The best grill rack will depend on what you need it for and how much you’re willing to spend. If you’re really on a budget a stainless steel rack will do fine. Just make sure you clean it regularly so it doesn’t chip. If you need extreme heat, then an iron grill rack is where you want to go. Not only can it take more heat, but it will also leave behind beautiful grill marks on your food.
When it comes to toppers, you really just need to pick one based on the type they are. Baskets are great for cooking fish and flipping things when need be, pans are excellent at expanding your cook space and griddles expand the number of things you can cook. Whichever way you decide to go, you will be opening up more options and having a better BBQ experience.