The fine folks over at High-Que cut me a sweet deal on their new Luxury Stainless Cooking Grid for Large Big Green Egg in exchange for my honest opinion. I was very excited when it showed up at my doorstep over the weekend.
First impression – this baby is huge! Just picking it up is a 2-handed operation. While it’s only 18 1/2-inches across, the same as my current grid, the individual rods are a heavy-duty 3/8-inch in diameter, making it whopping 3/4-inch thick. And at 14 pounds, this grid is almost 10 pounds heavier.
Second impression – look at how solid and shiny it is. This is one seriously well-made grid. They tell me it’s made from 304 stainless steel, which is very strong and corrosion resistant. I’m no metallurgist, but it sure looks like it can take anything I can throw at it.
The grate also features a hinged access door, meaning you can add smoking wood or extra lump charcoal without removing the grid from the grill. This is a great feature when you’re doing longer cooks.
I figured the best way to put the grid to the test was to see how well it seared a tri-tip roast. At 2 1/2 pounds, the tri-tip is a big hunk o’ meat cut from the bottom of the sirloin that really lends itself to being cooked hot and fast like a steak.
I let the roast sit at room temperature while I got the Big Green Egg up to a roaring 700°F. When the BGE was up to temp I put in the High-Que grate and closed the lid. Almost immediately the dome temperature dropped to 500°F. I know some of this was from having the lid open, but put a good share of the drop was also from adding the cold grate.
I let the BGE come back up to 700°F, about 15 minutes) and then let it set for another 15 minutes to make sure the grate was nice and hot.
How hot was it? When I put the roast on it squealed! Not the usually sizzle of meat on the grill, but a higher, almost metallic sound of all that heat pouring out of the grate and into the roast.
I let each side sear for a minute (tri-tips are typically thick enough that there are 3 sides), then cut the heat to 550°F by closing the draft vents and cooked it for another 3 minutes on each side until it was 130°F internal and had a lovely crust on the outside.
You’ll have to wait for the upcoming Tri-tip Steak Salad post for the full recipe, but the tri-tip ended up with a crisp, charred crust and a tasty medium-rare interior.
There are a lot of reasons to like this grate, but the big reason for me is its thermal mass. Searing meat or veggies creates a nice brown crust via the Maillard reaction, and that creates a ton of flavor. This grid has the meat-searing mass to hold and deliver hold a lot of heat so you get some seriously deep sear marks without over-cooking the food.
Yes, High-Que grid is pricey, but considering that my first porcelain enameled steel grid didn’t even last a year before it cracked and rusted, and my second stainless grid is only 3 years old and has failed welds and is starting to corrode, I think the investment is well worth it.