Heatlie Barbecues are unique in their ability to be customised, but with so many variables and different options, we don't blame you if you're a little confused while browsing our product pages. One common question we get asked is "What's the difference between all the plate sizes and materials?". We'll explain the ins and outs of it all, and help you to narrow down the correct Heatlie for your individual needs.
What BBQ plate thickness do I need?
Plate thickness has a huge impact on how well the plate will withstand the way it's used. There are different thicknesses for different applications and it's important you get this right to avoid problems down the track.
5mm plates are standard on all our BBQs and have been the default thickness for as long as Heatlie Barbecues has existed. It's the perfect thickness for casual and domestic use and will do everything you need it to at home in the backyard. It is strongly not recommended for commercial use due to its tendency to warp after long exposure to heat. Unfortunately, this is just the way the metal reacts and it's unavoidable.
A 10mm plate is designed purely for commercial uses. If you're running a food service business and want to be cooking all day every day, a 10mm plate will hold the heat and won't warp or distort. The same goes for community clubs that run sausage sizzles and other such organisations. Basically, if your BBQ will be left on for multiple hours, cooking multiple things, a 10mm is what you need.
We've sold 10mm plates to countless businesses that rely on continually running a flat plate all day, such as burger restaurants and crumpet makers.
Delicious smash burgers sizzling away on a Heatlie 10mm hotplate. Image courtesy of @smash_bbq Instagram page.
The teppanyaki plate is a special variant that we seldom make. It is super thick and thus can take a lot longer to heat up, however, it will hold a high consistent heat for a long time, and there's absolutely no chance it will buckle or warp.
Stainless steel or mild steel BBQ plate?
The choices of plate material come down to two options. Similar to plate thickness, the material has an impact on how well the plate holds heat. It also impacts the ease of cleaning, longevity and durability.
A mild steel plate is standard for every Heatlie BBQ and won't leave you disappointed. There's a reason it comes standard. Mild steel holds heat exceptionally well and spreads it consistently around the plate, so you won't have hot and cold spots all over your plate. Mild steel plates will form a black coating that makes it nonstick overtime. This is normal. As a drawback though, it can rust, so it's advised that you care for your BBQ accordingly and don't let it get to that stage.
We get a lot of customers who are convinced that a stainless steel plate is better and that's what they need. This is usually because they believe it looks nicer and prettier. Some people do prefer it and that's fine, but I'm here to tell you that a stainless steel plate is more work than pleasure. It will look good out of the box, but after that first cook, it may never look the same again. Stainless steel forms a brassy, dark stain when it comes in contact with heat, and there's not much you can do about it.
It does benefit from being more durable in rust-prone areas, however. If you live near the beach, a stainless steel plate might be a good option for you, along with a stainless steel body.
For more info on mild steel vs stainless steel, check out our blog post on the topic.
What about cast iron BBQ plates?
Heatlie does not make cast iron products, with mild steel being our plate material of choice. There's certainly nothing wrong with cast iron, it has been used for decades as a top option for BBQ plates, it's just that Heatlie values mild steels cooking properties higher than cast iron and mild steel will generally last longer.
What about Heatlie's other products?
Aside from the standard mobile 700, 850 and 1150 BBQs, Heatlie offers other BBQing options that make use of flat plates, and grills alike.
Island Gourmet Elite Plate Thickness and Materials
The standard Island Gourmet Elite plate is 6mm, so a tiny bit thicker than your standard BBQ and is made of mild steel. There is no option to upgrade the thickness of the plate with the Island Gourmet, due to them being predominantly a residential installation for domestic use only. You are however able to upgrade to a stainless steel plate if you would like.
Grilling on a Heatlie?
When Heatlie designed and implemented its first-ever grill plate for a BBQ, it ventured into unknown territory. For a company that built its reputation and brand image on high quality, solid flat plate BBQs, it was an ambitious move. But alas, there is a grill plate option available for the Island Gourmet Elite. Having said that, it's only a small portion of the plate, about one third, that is actually grilled. With an IGE grill plate, you can achieve a flame-grilled char style cook, with high direct heat.
Snappy King Hotplate
The Snappy King, in case you're unaware, is a roaster that can be used in either commercial or domestic applications, depending on your needs. It comes standard with open racks that are ideal for circulating heat for roasting purposes. It does also have the option to be converted into a hooded, direct cooking BBQ though. With the handy Snappy King hotplate kit, you can replace the racks with a solid mild steel plate insert and add an extra burner for more direct heat.
Making the right decision
It's important to do your research before purchasing a Heatlie BBQ. With so many options, each fitting a specific need, making the right choice is imperative. The last thing you'd want is to be 3 hours into cooking for a busy outdoor restaurant and your 5mm hotplate starts to buckle. You also don't want to regret choosing a stainless steel plate when it starts to discolour down the track.
Don't forget we are always here to consult and help you with your decision. Heatlie is open to enquiries over the phone, email and social media. When you're ready, check out our range of BBQs and make your selection, or visit your local stockist!