A number of BBQ tools and accessories are fabricated and marketed with the benefit of stainless steel manufacturing. However, this doesn’t mean they absolutely carry rust-proof stainless steel qualities. As a result, many home backyard cooks are duped and then frustrated when their “stainless steel” tools begin to show signs of corrosion and rust after just one season or wash in the sink.
The fact is there no one standard for stainless steel. As a result true BBQ connoisseurs take time when picking out tools and accessories to make sure they last. Typical factors to examine include:
• The tool’s metal thickness.
• Whether a magnet will actually stick to the tool (bad if it does).
• The construction of the tool if not one solid metal cast.
• The smoothness of the tool’s surface.
Stainless steel BBQ tools frequently come with standard stainless steel manufacturing. This grade is referred to as “304.” Additionally there are other grades that run in the 400 series. These metals are more susceptible to corrosion and tend to be weaker under pressure.
How to Test for Quality
Top grade stainless steel will not be prone to having magnets sticking to it. However, many manufacturers tend to use a blend of steel for fabrication because it can be cheaper, thereby maximizing profits on product sold under the impression it works well.
Additionally, the thicker the stainless steel is over the core metal, the better it is. Thin stainless steel surfacing will eventually change color under exposure to heat. Thicker stainless steel also has more weight to it, so two tools of the same size and shape will have different weight features due to the coating thickness.
Finally, the construction or assembly of the BBQ tool tends to be its greatest weakness. Where the parts join together tends to be constructed well enough to keep them connected. However, water and moisture tend to be far more persistent at penetration. Substandard construction will have imperfections. It’s at these points that rust can begin. Once rust has been established, it will continue to grow, peeling away the stainless steel cover in the process. Bad construction will tend to include riveting, spot welding, and threaded parts. Quality stainless steel tools have complete welding performed before the stainless steel cover is applied. As a result, just the fabrication process makes quality tools more expensive.
Don’t Assume Perfection
The above said, just because a tool is made with quality fabrication doesn’t mean it will automatically prevent any corrosion forever. Even good tools need to be used with care, cleaned up after use and stored away in a dry, covered location. The best stainless steel tools can still rust if left in a pool of water and dirt over time. The elements are simply brutal and will eventually overwhelm any man-made material.