One of the more obvious omissions in the lineup of accessories for Big Green Egg cookers has to be the lack of a plate setter for the small Egg. For the medium and large Big Green Egg coookers, the plate setter serves as a pizza stone, a ceramic barrier for indirect cooking, and a way to raise a pizza stone up to the level of the opening. Fortunately, an enterprising Egger known as "Chubby" to all of us at the Big Green Egg board has come to the rescue with a truly ingenious and terribly useful accessory known as GrateMates.
The GrateMates system can be used to fill the following needs:
The GrateMates system for the small Big Green Egg cooker comes in two flavors, basic and deluxe. The basic system contains a set of short supports and the support ring which allow you to have an indirect barrier and the grid at a raised height. The deluxe system comes with an extra set of longer supports which allows you to have a raise grate at a higher level, but more importantly to have a pizza stone at a good working level. Here are some photos of the GrateMates system components. Note that in each photograph, the supports are shown upside down because that is the only way we could get them to stand up for the photographer!
You will also note that there are 3 supports of each size, not 4. First of all, these supports are far stronger than they need to be, so 4 supports would be over-overkill. And of course, those of you who studied geometry will know that three supports means three points supporting the grid or the pizza stone. Three points define a plane, which means that three supports guarantees no wobble!
GrateMates components are fabricated from heavy duty mild steel. They are held together with solid welds as you can see in the photos below. They are sandblasted, coated and then baked with a high temperature finish. The maker recommendeds that you keep them out of the rain. The maker also recommends that you season your GrateMates components to provide additional protection against the heat of cooking and any moisture that might find its way into your cooker.
Like we mentioned above, the maker recommends that you season your Gratemates to provide additional protection. The maker provides this information on seasoning your Gratemates:
Wipe your GrateMates down with a thin coat of vegetable or canola oil, and bake them in your oven for 2 to 3 hours @ 350. It's not a necessity, but I like the sheen it gives them. Additionally, it provides an added coating, prior to your first use. They will season (almost like a cast iron skillet) as you use them, improving with age!We'll add to that procedure that you may find that a thin layer of shortening like Crisco works best, and that you should turn your oven off at the end of the 2 to 3 hours and let the components cool in the oven.
The photos above showed the GrateMates supports upside down. The photos below show the supports with a fire ring just like they would be sitting inside a small BGE. To install the GrateMates supports, you remove the fire ring, place the supports in place resting on the firebox, and then you slide the fire ring down onto the fire box.
The photos below show how much improved a raised grid setup can be with GrateMates vs. the bolts/washers/nuts solution that many BGE owners currently use. If you look closely at the photo on the left, you can see that the bolts rest on the edge of the fire ring and that a little shifting can cause the bolts to slip off the fire ring. Compare that to the photo on the right where a normal grate without nuts and bolts attached rests securely on the GrateMates support. Of course, if you buy the deluxe GrateMates package, you can use the taller supports to get the grid up higher into the dome.
There are more setups you can use beyond the basic setups above. Here's how to use a Lodge 5-quart cast iron dutch oven:
Even more setups are possible! Here is how you can use a verticle roaster in the small BGE and how to use a Wok:
If you wish to purchase the other non-GrateMates items you see in this review, here is where you can buy them:
At the date of this review, the GrateMates "Basic" set-up is $62.00, $68.00 shipped anywhere in the USA. The GrateMates "DeLuxe" set-up is $78.00, $85.00 shipped anywhere in the USA.