Why purchase a stainless steel plate on your Heatlie BBQ?
A stainless steel plate will give you an easy to maintain cooking surface. It will be marginally more corrosion resistant, but still needs to be maintained in order to avoid surface rust.
Stainless steel does not spread heat evenly across the plate, so it will give you somewhat of a versatile cooking plate with varying heat zones that you can use to your advantage. The heat will be concentrated directly over the burners and will be cooler around the edges and in between.
This means you can cook high heat foods like steak directly over the burners, and lower heat foods elsewhere. You can also use surrounding cooler spots for keeping things that are already cooked warm.
If this sounds like an appealing way to BBQ, then a stainless steel plate is for you.
Seasoning your stainless steel BBQ hotplate
Before using your Heatlie stainless steel hotplate for the first time you will need to remove the lanolin coating by washing the plate with warm soapy water until you are no longer able to feel the sticky lanolin on your fingers when you touch the BBQ plate. Rinse with clean water then cover with a light coating of cooking oil. Heat for 5 minutes (no longer), wipe off this layer of oil with a paper towel. Reapply another layer of oil and you are ready to cook.
Discolouration of your Heatlie stainless steel hotplate
Discolouration of the Heatlie stainless steel hotplate is normal. Stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat and therefore the hottest part of your plate will be directly above the burners. This will be visible by the discolouration of the plate in this area, as the photograph below illustrates.
This plate is made of 3CR12 which is a grade of stainless steel suited to this purpose as it is the “best” conductor of heat, although not as good a conductor as mild steel. This 3CR12 plate is magnetic. It is composed of 12 to 18% chrome, no nickel and low carbon content, and is termed “ferritic”. It has a fair to good corrosion resistance.
Compare this to 304 and 316 stainless steel, which we use externally in a range of other products. The 304 and 316 stainless steel products are termed “austenitic” and are non-magnetic. They are composed of 18% chrome and 8% nickel, and no carbon, making their heat dispersion and transfer properties poor. These grades of stainless steel have excellent corrosion resistance, clean-ability and hygiene properties, but are also at the upper end of the pricing scale.
How to clean your Heatlie stainless steel hotplate?
Heatlie recommends you scrape your stainless steel hotplate clean with a wallpaper scraper after each use. We DO NOT recommend scrubbing down after each use to make the plate shiny as the fat or oil residue protects the plate against corrosion and, as explained in the above section, this plate has reasonable heat transfer properties but does not have as good resistance to corrosion as 316-grade stainless steel would.
Heatlie recognises that many of our customers purchase a stainless steel plate with the expectation of maintaining the “new look”. This can be achieved through thorough cleaning and scrubbing, after each use, with a non scratch scourer. Non-caustic cleaning products, such as “Glitz”, available from Bunnings or “Grease Lightning” available at BBQ and hardware stores, can be used. Also, buffing back the plate to its original glory is an option, but this should preferably be a job undertaken by a skilled tradesman.
Benefits of a Heatlie Stainless Steel Hotplate
- Non-metallic taste to food (But this is not unique to this plate as this does not occur with the mild steel plate either).
- Shiny hotplate, given regular cleaning and elbow grease.
Answers to Misconceptions
- The plate will never (even in it's brand new appearance) look shiny. The stainless steel grade we use is not the same as you see in use for the exterior trim of our products. Mild and stainless steel plates look almost identical in their brand new state, they will begin to change once cooked on.
- Just because it's more expensive, does not mean it's better. Stainless steel will not conduct heat as well as the mild steel version, however the grade of stainless steel used in the Heatlie stainless steel hotplate will provide a good cooking surface, but not excellent. Heat will be centred over the burners and will not transfer across the plate evenly.
- The plate WILL discolour along with the burners (as illustrated in the picture).