GrateMates Setup Solutions For Ceramic Chefs

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.


Features

The GrateMates system can be used to fill the following needs:

  • Holds a barrier for indirect cooking
  • Allows use of a raised grid in either of two heights
  • Allows use of different types of accessories such as a 12" pizza stone, 12" wok, vertical roaster and dutch oven.


The GrateMates System

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!


The GrateMates basic components.

The GrateMates deluxe components.

The GrateMates supports.

The GrateMates ring.

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.


The GrateMates welds close up.

The finished side of the joints close up.


Seasoning

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.


Basic Setups

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 GrateMates supports in position.

The GrateMates supports in position with a grid.

Add the GrateMates ring with an ordinary drip pan as a barrier for indirect cooking.

The GrateMates deluxe supports and ring with the ceramic dish and pizza stone.
As you can see in the photos, you can place a grid on the basic supports or a pizza stone on the deluxe supports. You can place the BGE 8" ceramic pizza dish on the GrateMates ring to provide a ceramic barrier for indirect cooking.

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.


A homemade raised grid.

A normal grid resting on the
GrateMates basic supports.


More Setups

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:


Place the tabs of the GrateMates ring on the dips in the BGE's fire ring.

The 5-quart Lodge dutch oven fits in the ring.

Now cook stews and chili...

...or saute vegetables in the 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:


Place an ordinary pie pan on the GrateMates ring and then place your verticle roaster in the pan.

You can place a wok on the GrateMates ring.

This 12-inch wok fits perfectly.

If you wish to purchase the other non-GrateMates items you see in this review, here is where you can buy them:

  • You can use your favorite wok, but if you would like to know where to get the wok pictured above, check out Googncomp.com. Look for the 12-inch hand-hammered carbon steel wok. However, we have recently received reports that Googncomp is not filling orders or returning emails or calls. Shop here at your own risk. We did, however, want you to know where the specific wok in the photos came from.

    If you want another source for woks that appear to be reasonably priced, try The Wok Shop. As of February, 2007, they appear to be open for business.

  • The 12-inch Big Green Egg pizza stone is available from most dealers and from Big Green Egg. The Big Green Egg part number is BS12.

  • The 8-inch ceramic pizza dish is available from some dealers, but you may have to contact Big Green Egg and ask for part number 8BD.


Pricing and Contact Information

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.

GrateMates
c/o J. Evans Tabor
12331 Lusterleaf Drive
Cypress, Texas 77429

Home: 281-894-4471
Cell: 713-857-3843

GrateMates@sbcglobal.net


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