Luxury Stainless Cooking Grid

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.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
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.

One thought on “Luxury Stainless Cooking Grid”

  1. My first impression is that this looks similar to the quality of the grates that come in a http://www.komodokamado.com/ cooker, very nice. I also like the hinged access, the thick grid pieces, and the stainless finish. You’re right about the sticker shock though – yeouch!

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