Can pitted smoker grates be seasoned/used, or should they be discarded?

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Senior Cook
May 15, 2020
Prior Lake
I'm cleaning my Weber Smoky mountain and am making good progress, but my top grill grate (I think it's stainless steel) has oxidized and pitted just a bit. If I treat it like cast iron and oil it up good/season it, can I still use it to smoke on, or should I just trash it and get a new one? (I don't know if I saw rust on it while cleaning, to me it looked like gunk/grease but it could've been rust buildup.) Because of the pitting, will it rust now, and I should throw it?


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Rust can only grow with oxygen. Grease her up Scottie and let her rip!

I have a huge cast iron pot that I received as a wedding gift multiple decades ago. One of the things I made in it within the first year was a huge pot of Chili for New Years Eve. After all left around 2 or 3 am, was too pooped to really clean up and the chili just stayed in the pot. Next morning when I cleaned it out there was a huge pit in the bottom, thanks to the acid of the tomato. Still using it more than 50 years later. (and the chili was fine, no one died or got sick from food poisoning and it did not taste metallic)

Stainless steel or cast iron - just keep it clean and oil - no problem. A lot of pans develop rust but with washing/drying and preventing the rust from starting up again - they are just fine. I've done bread, chili, etc in pans that can and do easily develop rust - they are fine.
I seriously doubt that your cooking grates are stainless steel. That smoker came with plated steel grates. I don't even know if Weber offers SS grates for that smoker.

No big deal. You can use them, as long as you thoroughly clean them first.

I keep my grates inside my garage when not in use. If you leave them outside, they will rust again, and you'll have to clean them again.

I don't know what's stainless steel vs what's not. If it's shiny, it looks like stainless steel to me. 😁

Stainless steel is actually not as shiny as plated steel. I am 99.9% certain those are not stainless steel grates. I'm a serious Weberhead.

Again, if you can get them clean, don't worry about some pitting. If it bothers you, call Weber Customer Service and order new cooking grates.

I've just heard hexavalent chromium can come off chrome plated grates (I don't know if these are chrome plated though 😢) once the chrome flakes off. And I don't wanna risk cancer.
I've just heard hexavalent chromium can come off chrome plated grates (I don't know if these are chrome plated though 😢) once the chrome flakes off. And I don't wanna risk cancer.

Yes, they are plated with chrome, or something similar.

If you are worried about getting cancer from your cooking grates, get rid of that smoker today, because the smoke from the burning charcoal will more like give you cancer than the chrome plated grates. Get rid of your non-stick pans. In fact only use stainless steel pots to boil all your food. And, no red meat. That can give you cancer.

You have started two threads about that smoker, which is a good product that you got for a bargain price. You asked questions, and I have been giving you answers based on years of experience with that product, but it feels like I am wasting my time typing.

BTW, I am a cancer survivor, and the doctors told me that there was absolutely no way to tie my cancer back to anything I did or was exposed to in my life. It just happened, and I would NEVER know why. That was in 2006, and I stopped worrying about it in 2006. I've been cancer free since then.

I am getting on an airplane tomorrow, which may be a Boeing 737 Max, and flying to Dallas, where I will get into a car to drive to my house. Both of those things are way more likely to kill me than the chrome plated cooking grates on my grills.

You got a killer deal on that WSM. Don't overthink it -- clean it up and start cooking!

Start with something easy: chicken, pork shoulder or meatloaf
Get a thermometer that can measure internal meat temperature and away you go
I'm so excited! The guy we met was actually asking 80 for it but when I handed him the money he was like "Just take 40." I asked him if he was sure and he said. "You keep that and spend it on meat!"

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