Cooking on a Ferno is simple but there are a few things to consider to help you master your grill. Turning the wheel to raise and lower the burners is what makes a Ferno grill so special, but it isn't the only thing. Forty-eight pounds of cast iron grates is equally significant.
- One of the many things that cast iron does very well is hold on to heat. Once the grates are hot, they will hold the heat much longer than stainless steel. This makes cast iron the ideal material for high-heat applications like searing.
- The grates on a Ferno grill are reversible, and when flipped (using the included grate tool), present a flat griddle like cooking surface. This is ideal for cooking delicate foods like fish or lean hamburgers.
- Another great quality is that cast iron, if treated with care (see tips below), improves after years of heavy use. As you cook on it, cast iron develops a coating called seasoning, which releases food easily, making your grates non-stick.
Preheating depends on what you are cooking.
- If the goal is to sear, then raise the burners to the top position, and depending on how much food is going to be cooked, turn on one or more burners and set the control knobs to high, preheating for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- For example; two rib-eye steaks can be cooked after preheating a section of grate using two burners that are side by side. Before adding the food to the grates, lower the burners to the lowest position and set the control knobs to low. For diamond pattern grill lines, rotate the steaks 90 degrees after several minutes. The same technique can be used for hamburgers and pork-chops.
Cooking low and slow means that the preheat isn't necessary.
- If the goal is to slow cook, then lower the burners to the lowest position, and depending on how much food is going to be cooked, turn on one or more burners and set the control knobs to low.
- For example; a whole or spatchcocked chicken can be cooked over 1 active burner set to low with no preheating. The grill temperature will settle at approximately 225F, and depending on the size of the chicken, begin checking the internal temperature deep in the breast after 60 minutes (45 minutes if under 3 pounds). This technique can be applied to most roasted meats and poultry including pork ribs and roasts, turkey, brisket and more (cooking times and target internal temperatures vary). When cooking larger amounts of food, a second or even third burner set to low is often necessary. An example would be 4 whole chickens. In this case you might use the left and right burners set to low and the center burner off with two chickens placed over each active burner. The grill temperature will be closer to 250F in this configuration.
The grates are reversible and the space between grate bars is narrow.
- When flipped over, the griddle like surface is the perfect way to cook a variety of foods including fish, shrimp, hamburgers and vegetables.
- For example; to cook peeled shrimp, flip at least one of the two large sized grates and preheat with the burners in the up position and the control knobs set to high for 10 minutes. Before adding the shrimp, lower the burners to the lowest position and set the control knobs to low. The shrimp can be added all at once and then spread and flipped using a spatula.
Caring for cast iron grates is very similar to caring for a cast iron pan.
- Never 'burn off' the grates using high heat as this will damage the seasoning. Often the easiest way to clean the grates is to wipe them vigorously with a dry rag while they are still warm.
- If there is stubborn debris then brush them with a grill brush to loosen and then wipe with a dry rag.
- After extensive use, it may be necessary to remove each grate and scrub with some dish soap and a scotch bright sponge or brush.
Additional care and use tips
The removable side surfaces are made of Mapletex, an NSF rated food handling material. They may require occasional cleaning and/or oiling to maintain a like new appearance. If the grill is left uncovered for extended periods and it is located in direct sunlight, the side surfaces will begin to lighten in color and any grease stains will stand out. To restore them, wipe clean and oil in place by rubbing them with any cooking oil (olive, grapeseed, or vegetable are fine to use) and then buff with a clean rag or paper towel. If they are more dirty, then clean using a dish sponge with a small amount of dish soap and then rinse. Once dry, they can be oiled.