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Many outdoor chefs get easily discouraged with their grills, whether they use charcoal or gas, because many of the older grills made of cast iron or other metals which do not hold up under outdoor conditions.

No matter how well-cared for the grills are, the materials used typically succumb to the elements after a couple of years of use. The use of stainless steel barbecue grills has changed that attitude as they are better made to handle the rigors of being outdoors.

Typically, stainless steel barbecue grills are more expensive than traditional cast-iron grills. But, if properly cared for they will last many years longer, making it a worthwhile investment. Maintaining a stainless steel grill may seem like a lot of work, but the resulting efforts are well worth it.

Contrary to what some may believe, a stainless steel grill can not be worn out by excessive cleaning. Remember, the shiny stainless steel surface results from a thin layer of chromium oxide, when combined with oxygen in the atmosphere, presents the shiny surface.

When moisture, sand and dirt accumulate on the surface, it forms a barrier between the oxygen and the chromium oxide, allowing corrosion to form on the surface. Scratches are not a friend to a stainless steel barbecue, but new products on the market enable the owner to repair scratches to prevent them from turning into a grill that requires replacement.

Manufacturers can point to products that work best, such as Scratch-B-Gone, available at many stores that sell stainless steel grills.

Many believe that stainless steel, by its name, will not stain. This is actually a myth and many cleansers and cleaners contain bleaching agents that can cause pitting in the surface if allowed to remain on the steel for any length of time.

To help maintain the beauty of a stainless steel grill, follow some simple tips:

* Do not allow food or beverages, cans or other metal objects to rest on the surface
* Do not use the stainless steel surface as a cutting board
* Do not set hot pans on the stainless steel surface
* Do not use steel wool to clean the surface

To maintain your grill you should always wipe it down after every use and keep it covered when not is use to protect the surface from a build up of dirt and water. These few simple steps will help the stainless steel grill retain its beauty for many years.