If you love to grill, you're probably always looking to understand the different parts of your grill and how they make your food taste even better. From the burners to grill grates to innovative accessories, each element plays a role in the grilling experience. One essential component that is not thought about is the radiant or barrier. Let's take a closer look at what these things are and what benefits they offer!
What are Gas Grill Barriers and Radiants?
Understanding the different parts of your grill is key to maximizing your investment and grilling experience. Radiants and barriers are names for the same item that sits above the burners and underneath the grill grates. The two terms describe their two primary functions:
- "Barrier" - Protect the burners from grease, food drippings, and debris
- "Radiant" - Distribute heat throughout the grill surface uniformly, reducing hot spots.
These two functions make radiants such a vital part of your gas grill. They provide an even cooking surface and protect burners from excessive grease buildup when cooking at high temperatures over long periods.
Depending on the brand of your grill, barriers might also be called diffusers, heat deflectors, heat distributors, flame tamers, burner shields, heat plates, vaporizers, or even flavorizer bars because they catch and vaporize food drippings to add smoky barbecue flavor to your food. Whatever their name, barriers and radiants help make your barbecuing experience better.
Types of Barriers and Radiants
Understanding the different parts of your grill is key to maximizing your investment and grilling experience. There are three main barriers and radiants: metal, ceramic, and lava rock.
Metal barriers are most common today and vary significantly in quality and design. Stainless steel or porcelain-coated steel is formed into inverted-V tents, accordion-folded sheets, or flat plates. Be leary of cheaper brands that may use inferior materials and craftsmanship.
- Pros: The metal conducts heat quickly and heats up fast, so the grill is ready for cooking when needed. Angles and channels can guide grease away from the burner into a drip pan.
- Cons: Though these barriers can virtually eliminate flare-ups, they generate less smoke and flavor. Depending on their design, these can be more expensive than other types of radiant.
Heat-retaining ceramic material, such as firebrick, creates ceramic barriers. Pillow-shaped briquettes, rounded pucks, thin rods, or perforated flat tiles are possible.
- Pros: They can better protect the burner and distribute heat more evenly than lava rock when aligned edge-to-edge in a single layer. Ceramic materials last a long time and are relatively inexpensive.
- Cons: Little gaps between the bricks can allow grease to slip through and flare up when it hits the burner.
Volcanic rock of irregularly-shaped, craggy pieces with tiny holes, lava rock, was popular on early gas grills but is less prevalent today. On a rock grate, the stones sit above the burner and below the grilling grates.
- Pros: They reflect and retain heat effectively, last a long time, and are inexpensive to make. Some people claim that porous stones absorb more grease, leading to better-tasting smoke.
- Cons: They take longer to heat up because they aren't all the same size. Grease may leak through gaps between the rocks and reach the burner, causing flare-ups, hot spots, corrosion, and clogs because they're not uniformly shaped.
The Benefits of Radiants & Barriers in Gas Grills
When it comes to gas grills, radiants and barriers play an essential role in cooking. They are an integral part of the performance and longevity of the grill as a whole.
- Radiants and barriers help to
- Distribute heat evenly throughout the grill
- Reduce hot spots
- Protect the burners
- Reduce flare-ups
- Provide better smoke and flavor
- Improved safety
- Better cooking experience
- Extend the life of the burners
- Maximize your investment
Get the Best Performance with Summerset Grills!
Summerset Grills features high-quality ceramic briquettes trays that lock in over each burner section to protect their pro-level burners and provide thorough heat distribution across the vast cooking surface. An easy to clean briquette system, these premium barriers provide protection, heat distribution, and a killer aesthetic. Featured on the Sizzler, TRL, and Alturi lines, Summerset Grills go above and beyond the competition with superior protection, uncompromising flavor, and luxurious cooking performance.