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Choosing the Right Grill Grate

With summer barbecues firing up, we're sharing how McNICHOLS® Hole Products can take your grill to the next level!

Hole Products as Grill Grates

Summer is officially in full swing, and that means it’s time to get cooking! As the weather warms up and you find yourself breaking out your faithful grill, you may notice that your grill grates have seen better days. Or maybe you’re looking to step up your backyard entertainment game with a new custom smoker. Whatever your plans this season, there’s a Hole Product to help you achieve a top-tier outdoor appliance. Today we're sharing which sheet metal items are ideal for transforming your grill or smoker, as well as what to consider when choosing the right one.

A sheet of Flattened Expanded Metal used as a grill grate.
Flattened Expanded Metal grill grate. Photo Credit: @tubameat

Expanded Metal

Expanded Metal is a versatile grilling product that offers a high percentage of Open Area. Grill and smoker enthusiasts often choose it for their DIY projects. You can spot it in various features of these appliances.

Expanded Metal often serves as a grill grate, supporting the food during the cooking process. Not only does Expanded provide a functional cooking surface. It also creates beautiful grill marks without having to turn your food.

When considering construction type, keep in mind that Raised (Standard) Expanded Metal will have rougher edges that can tear meat and foil packs. In many cases, Flattened Expanded Metal is a safer choice for these surfaces and is easier to clean.

Users especially prefer this product for charcoal trays and baskets in addition to food grates. A ¾ #9 Flattened Stainless Steel sheet comes highly recommended for charcoal containers. This item’s 66% Open Area provides plenty of ventilation. Additionally, the 9 Gauge thickness is durable while remaining flexible enough to shape.

Squid cooking on top of a Welded Wire Mesh grill grate.
Welded Wire Mesh grill grate.

Welded Wire Mesh

Welded Wire Mesh is also a common choice for grill builds and upgrades. There is an abundance of Mesh specifications to choose from. Most are suitable for grill applications as long as you maintain a large enough opening size.

It is important to ensure your selected opening specs cannot become clogged with food, butter, or oil runoff. Also, you need to allow enough space to clean the surface thoroughly. Due to its high percentage of Open Area, people often choose Rectangular Wire Mesh for the grill grates in barbecue setups.

Wire Mesh most frequently serves as a warming rack component. Although there are many ways it can be used, Wire Mesh often serves as a warming rack component. Wire Mesh warming racks provide an excellent surface to cook items through indirect heat. It allows you to toast up hot dogs and burger buns, or keep your already-grilled food at a high temperature.

Skewers cooking on top of Intercrimp Wire Mesh.
Intercrimp Wire Mesh grill grate.

Intercrimp Wire Mesh

Intercrimp Wire Mesh is a non-traditional option often chosen as a cooking surface for the additional functionality it provides. The crimped texture on this Mesh adds an extra level of grip. This feature is especially useful for keeping certain foods, such as vegetables, in place on the cooking surface. Many grillers will use Intercrimp sheets to roast items such as corn cobs, asparagus, and peppers.

Perforated Metal grill grate next to some flames.
Stainless Steel Perforated Metal grill grate.

Perforated Metal

Another challenge when grilling is making sure smaller items don’t fall through the openings of your food grill grate. Stainless Steel Perforated Metal is an optimal solution for roasting those smaller vegetables or nuts, regardless of it's installation location. Perforated products can be customized to many different hole sizes. This flexibility allows grillers to choose a sheet that will securely hold food items while preserving proper ventilation.


With so many Hole Products to choose from, we trust that McNICHOLS has the perfect grill grates for your grill or smoker. As you browse product choices, be sure to consider your desired material. Stainless Steel is always a safe bet, as it is food-grade and corrosion-resistant.

After selecting your item, our fabrication team brings your project to the finish line with cutting, welding, and fastening assistance. For personalized guidance in finding the right product for your cooking needs, please contact one of our knowledgeable associates. We are eager to help and Inspired to Serve® you at 855.318.8791, [email protected], or via Live Chat on