cookin grates!!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ryeguy45, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. ryeguy45

    ryeguy45 Smoke Blower

    has anyone ever used an old bakers rack shelves as cookin grates instead of expanded metal? also, if you have, do they work good?
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Considering I have seen folks roast a Pig on a Chain Link Fence Gate, anything that will support the meat, allow contact with smoke and not leach chemicals, can be used in a smoker...JJ
  3. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Chain link fences that are common around here are galvanized.  Don't think that would be my choice.

  4. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    I have used surplus bakers racks, and they worked pretty well. One problem is that some of the light weight ones (over time) will sag and deform under heat when weight is applied. 

    Don't learn like I did that a cheap rack won't prevent something from falling to the ground and ruining the day for everyone but the dog. [​IMG]

    Generally speaking, almost anything metal can be used that has is non-reative, and has been properly cleaned.  Also, the racks don't have to be limited to metal.  Several of the sausage makers here at SMF actually use wooden dowels regularly and their results are excellent.

    I have seen people cook using almost anything to act as a support mechanism.  Chop sticks, hub caps, rebar, pie pans, cardboard, pallet slats, baling wire, etc. so don't be afraid to experiment.

    One of the best meals I ever ate was shish Kabobs cookedover an open fire, on wire coat hangers out in the middle of nowhere in Turkey.

    There are many different kinds of racks available commercially at a restaurant supply store, resale shops, or other places. Check them out, hopefully they can fit your dimensions.

    Good luck with your quest.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Not my first choice either. But, I looked into this when I first was put in charge of Safety as the question of using Galvanized anything comes up every once in a while. All the info I could find and after talking to welder friends, the consensus is Zinc melts at 768.15*F so it is only affected by Welding Temps not 225-400*F found in Smokers or homemade Pig cookers. And it is only the Fumes that are dangerous, again not an issue Outdoors...[​IMG]...JJ
  6. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What is the "metal" called that most folks have in the larger smokers/grills or open cinder block pits?  It looks like it has diamond shaped holes in it?  We can get the metal guys around here to get it.

  7. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I found these 15"X25" cooling racks for $6 a piece to use as jerky racks. They are pretty lightweight and I probably wouldn't put a 12# packer on one but for lighter stuff I think they are fine. The heavy cooking grates are outrageously expensive.

  8. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    those look great in there!

  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Expanded Metal...JJ

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  10. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I know this has been an on going debate on many forums.

    Not being a metallurgist, I understand that the galvanizing material is made from zinc and lead.   I read that a minute amount of zinc in the body may be safe, but not lead.  Does metal have to come to a melting point in order to emit fumes inside a cooker? [​IMG]  Wouldn't the fumes accumulate and migrate into the product the same as smoke?

    My choice would be a different material.


  11. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Chef!  Would that work better?

  12. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Expanded metal works great and is probably the most commonly used product for grates in grills and smokers.  A 4 x 8 sheet of 3/4 x 9 flat expanded metal here in Southeast Texas is only $46, quite cheap.  The problem is most people don't need a full sheet and by the time you find it at a big box store, you pay as much for a small piece as you do for a 4 x 8 full sheet.  It is easily cut with a 7" abrasive cut off wheel on a standard circular saw.

    As far as the use of the cooling racks, I use them in my smoker for placing things on that I don't want to touch my grates or need to remove and rest without using tongs or a spatula.  Most comp cooks will use them for their chicken pieces while cooking.  Not sure how long they would hold up to anything with higher heat than a smoker though.
  13. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    My 2 cents from some personal experience.

    A while back I made a home made smoker which has furnace pipe attached. This pipe had a galvanized finish. During the testing phase the pipes got heated to appx 400-500 degrees. It did give off visible gases for a couple of hours but eventually stopped.

    The thing has been heated so hot for so often that any bad stuff is long gone.
  14. Hmm, i haven`t heard that lead is used in galvanizing process.
    In fact back in the day galvanized pipes were used to replace older cast iron/lead water pipes to reduce lead issues.
    I don`t think they use them any more but they were safe for drinking water, they just corroded too early.
    But there are different methods of galvanizing.
    I would probably not use anything made with thermal diffusion galvanizing process as a lot of chemicals are used. But I guess I`d have no problem with hot dipped or electroplated.....
  15. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Getting expanded metal can be pretty easy, and you can season it like you do cast iron. With flax seed oil it becomes bomb proof. I always thought these would work good.

    Especially if you had an old commercial steamer converted into a smoker!
  16. back in the day anything galvanized that was going to be used for food/water in my household or around animals or the smokers, my dad would just burn them out by sticking them on a pallet fire for
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  17. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Lead  is often added to the molten zinc bath to improve the fluidity of the bath (thus limiting excess zinc on the dipped product by improved drainage properties), helps prevent floating  dross, makes dross  recycling  easier and protects the kettle from uneven heat distribution from the burners.[2]  Lead is either added to primary Z1 Grade Zinc or already contained in used secondary zinc.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2013
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't want this to turn into a Safety of Zinc debate...My comment was Tongue In Cheek as I was thinking, " I have seen it all and can't imagine why a Rack designed to hold food, a Bakers Rack, would be an issue..." Sorry if there was any ambiguity. It was not my intent to sanction the use of Galvanized anything in a smoker...JJ
  19. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I for one enjoyed the open discussion. The information learned was both bountiful and reassuring.

  20. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Yea it's all good info..we decide

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