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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!

 |  4 min read

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.

Expanded Metal

Expanded Metal is a versatile grilling product that offers a high percentage of Open Area. It is one of the most popular products chosen for grill and smoker DIYs and can be seen in many aspects of these appliances.

Frequently, Expanded Metal is found installed as a grill grate where you place the food for cooking. Not only does Expanded provide a functional cooking surface, but 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 around the diamond 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.

In addition to food grates, this product is particularly favored for charcoal trays and baskets. We’ve found that a ¾ #9 Flattened Stainless Steel sheet is highly recommended for charcoal containers. This item’s 66% Open Area provides plenty of ventilation, and the 9 Gauge thickness is durable while remaining flexible enough to shape.

Flattened expanded Metal grill grate
Flattened expanded Metal grill grate. Photo Credit: @tubameat

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, and 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, and that there is enough space to clean the surface thoroughly. For these reasons, Rectangular Wire Mesh is commonly chosen for the grill grates of barbecue setups due to its high percentage of Open Area.

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

Welded wire mesh grill grate
Welded wire mesh grill grate

Intercrimp Wire Mesh

While it may not be the most traditional grill grate, Intercrimp Wire Mesh is often chosen as a cooking surface for the additional functionality it provides. The crimped texture on this Mesh adds an extra level of grip, which is 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.

Intercrimp wire mesh grill grate
Intercrimp wire mesh 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, whether installed as part of the grill or placed on top as a tray, is an optimal solution for roasting those smaller vegetables or nuts. Perforated products can be customized to many different hole sizes, allowing grillers to choose a sheet that will securely hold food items while preserving proper ventilation.

Stainless steel perforated metal grill grate
Stainless steel perforated metal grill grate


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.

Once your item are selected, our fabrication team is here to bring 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, as always, Inspired to Serve®!

Burger grilling with John Farley, McNICHOLS Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Burger grilling with John Farley, McNICHOLS Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Header Image Photo Credits: @drophousedesign

McNICHOLS® Hole Stories are shared to inform, instruct, and inspire readers. Stories composed are for educational purposes only, and proper technical resources should be considered prior to the selection or installation of Hole Products. McNICHOLS shall have no liability for the informative nature of content shared.

Choosing the Right Grill Grate
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