Replacing the Flavorizer bars on your Weber gas grills can drive you crazy! They are incredibly simple to install but finding the ones that actually fit in your grill is challenging.
The last time I counted there were over fifteen different lengths of Flavorizer bars. Compound the length differences with issues like Stainless Steel vs Porcelain Enameled and the different thicknesses offered by non OEM manufactures and you end up with about FIFTY products to choose from. Good Grief, Charlie Brown!
How to Buy the Right Flavorizer Bars for Your Weber Gas Grill
Do not try to find the right replacement parts at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. There are too many variations and the store will probably not carry the ones with the right length for your grill.
To get the right parts you are going to need to take the cooking grate off of you grill, remove a Flavorizer bar and measure the length. Once you know how long your Flavorizer bars are click the appropriate link below based on your grill series.
Stainless Steel vs Porcelain Enameled Steel Bars
You can buy Flavorizer bars that are made from stainless steel or from porcelain enameled steel. The material of construction has absolutely no impact on the performance of your grill. The difference between the two choices are expected lifetime and price.
The porcelain enameled bars are your cheapest option and should last about three years. They will start to rust within one year but will continue to function just fine for several grilling seasons.
Things get trickier with the stainless steel options. The stainless steel bars from Weber are your most expensive option and should last about five years. I do NOT recommend these. There are companies selling stainless steel bars that are MUCH thicker than Weber’s for a fraction of Weber’s price. These thicker stainless bars are more expensive than the porcelain enameled product but are a better investment if you plan on holding onto your grill for 5-10 more years.
There are links to the thicker bar options in the parts links provided above.
How to Make Your Flavorizer Bars Last Longer
Once you have installed your new Flavorizer bars you can take a few actions to make them last longer. These simple steps can add a year or two onto the life of these parts
Keep Them Clean
The bars take a lot of abuse in your grill and are constantly being attacked on both sides. The bars get corroded on the bottom from the direct exposure to the flame from the burner tubes. There really isn’t anything that you can do about heat induced corrosion. However, the bars are also attacked from above when marinades, water and grease fall from the grate and hit the hot surface. While most of the liquids and grease get vaporized upon contact some residual material adheres to the surface of the bars. This residual grill crud can build up and become corrosive.
Take a few moments before each grilling session and use a grill brush to clean off the crud that built up on the bars during your last cook. It is a little action that produces long term results. In addition to prolonging the life of the bars, keeping them clean will also help prevent flare ups.
Rotate Them Monthly
The Flavorizer bars inside your grill wear out unevenly. I bet if you looked at the bars inside your grill right now you will see that some of them are corroded as heck and some are looking okay. It’s frustrating to have to buy a whole new set of bars when half of them are still fine.
The uneven wear on the bars comes from the fact that they see different levels of abuse based upon how you grill. If you are like most people then you have a certain way you like to use your grill. You like to cook one one side instead of the other, you cook with one burner on high and the others on low, etc.
This means the Flavorizer bars get different levels of abuse based on how much heat they see and how much grease and marinade gets dripped on them while hot.
You can counteract this uneven wear by simply moving the bars around once a month. If you routinely swap them around the corrosion should even out and the lifetime of the total set will be extended.
Use Them Until They Fall Apart
I wait until the Flavorizer bars on my Genesis are literally falling apart before I replace them. The bars need to be able to deflect the heat from the burner and prevent grease from landing on the burners. They do NOT need to look pretty. Once the bars start developing holes and you can see the burner flame through them it is time to get a new set.
If you have one of the real old Genesis grills with thirteen bars distributed over two levels you do not need both levels for the grill to function properly. It’s perfectly fine if you are missing a few bars from the top row and a few from the bottom row as long as the burners are not visible.
History of Flavorizer Bars
The concept of the Flavorizer bars was originally developed for Weber’s portable gas grill, the GoAnywhere. Weber engineers used a bent metal shield over the single burner tube as a replacement for lava rock. They quickly realized that the hot metal was extremely efficient at vaporized dripping grease and that those vapors imparted a unique and delicious flavor onto whatever they were grilling.
Because the metal heat shield added so much flavor to their burgers they ended up naming the device a “Flavorizer Bar”.
These bars were first introduced into larger backyard grills with the introduction of the Weber Genesis 1000 series in 1985. These grills contained five long bars over the burners and eight shorter bars on top of them. With that many heat distribution plates the Genesis grills were the most even cooking grills available.
As Weber tweaked the design of their gas grills they realized that 13 bars was overkill and now they typically just have enough bars to cover the burners.
In 2017 Weber introduced a new design to the bars as part of their High Performance GS4 grilling system. The new design has a small semi-circle cut out of the base which allows you to monitor the burner flame when you view it from the side.
Here is a look at the new bars as part of the GS4 system.