While it is nice to have heavy durable cooking grates and effective heat shields that distribute a perfect distribution of heat, without gas grill burners you do not grill food. Many barbeque companies like Broilking and Weber will use less expensive 400 series stainless for cooking grates, flavorisers, heat plates and grill parts they still use 304 stainless steel for the grill burners (That’s right a magnet will stick to your weber grill). The 304 stainless steel allows these manufacturers to provide warranties spaning 10 years to lifetime.
Stainless steel is any steel with some iron-oxides drained during the smelting process. The numerical designation tells us the consumers what chemicals have been used in manufacturing the stainless steel to make it more or less useful in different applications. For instance, 400 series stainless has iron oxides drained below 1%. 304 stainless has iron oxides drained below .05% and has chromium added at 18% and nickel at 8%. 316 stainless in the same as 304 but with 26% nickel. Nickel is a hardening material and chromium reacts with oxygen molecules to protect the surface of the stainless steel.
Although the gas grill burners will almost always be built of the sturdiest materials of the barbeque, you should still clean the burners at least once a year — I mean really clean them. I take my bbq burners out of the firebox and clean them with a stainless brush attached to a drill. The stainless brush spinning like the tire on a car will immediately scratch away any grease and surface rust that has begun to corrode the stainless steel burners.
Use a pin or something similar to poke out the ports along the burners to ensure proper gas flow from the burner at even distances. If the burners ports are starting to rust together, consider replacing the burner with a high quality replacement. At http://www.grill-repair.com most of the replacement burners are of a higher quality than the original parts that came with your gas bbq grill.
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