Grooms Gifts – ManGrate vs. GrillGrate vs. Char-Griller: The Grill Off!

I only have a month left to go and I still have no idea what to give my groom. 😦 I’ve looked at several different things that I thought would be cool, but so far, not so good.

I took a few moments to try to figure out: What kind of things do ALL guys like? I decided that if I could figure that out, I could narrow the field down to specifically what MY guy would like. I went all around the mulberry bush and ended up at grills again. My fiancé loves to grill but told me he doesn’t want a new grill until we buy a house.

“This, child, is fire. It is what separates the men from the girls.” My fiancé speaking to a friends’ child.

I was really in a quandary when I heard an advertisement for grates that go on a grill. The whole idea this grate is that the reason that steaks and other meats taste differently in a restaurant than they do at home – due to different cooking utensils/actions/cook top. The reasoning given to the potential customer of the grates is that if the customer bought a grate, then they would be able to cook steaks and other meats like a pro. Once you buy the grate, you place in ON TOP of the grate that your grill came with. I decided it was worth some research and found THREE different types of grates! I found ManGrate, GrillGrate, and the cast iron grate by Char-Griller.

I’m not going to dither, I was(am!) overwhelmed by the options.

ManGrate is a cast iron grate. Being made from cast iron, it DOES need to be seasoned before use. It also claims to have “grease gutters” that catch and hold grease from the cooking meat, stopping flare ups. The ManGrate is the most expensive of the three grates.

The one thing I LOVE about the ManGrate is that it is an American made product.
The one thing I HATE about the ManGrate is it’s silly name. I mean, really.

From the ManGrate website:

Grill juicy, perfectly cooked steak, poultry and fish. ManGrates sear meats and vegetables with restaurant
signature grill marks for a professional look and taste.

Even Heat, Reduced Flair Ups!
ManGrate’s cast-iron design utilizes radiant heat – instead of convection heat or “hot air” – searing in the juices
but allowing the meats to cook evenly. The smoke rails are the angled ledges on each bar of the ManGrate.
These ledges are designed to trap and retain oils and fats released during grilling, and it’s these juices aid
in the natural smoking process, giving meats a rich, barbequed flavor. They also serve to reduce flair ups.

Easy Cleaning!
All you need to care for your ManGrates is a ManBrush and spray cooking oil. Clean off ManGrates before grilling,
spray evenly and thoroughly. After grilling, allow ManGrates to cool, brush clean, oil and close grill lid.
Your ManGrates will season over time; a well-seasoned ManGrate naturally resists rust and creates a virtually
non-stick grilling surface.

ManGrate’s American-Made, heavy-duty, cast-iron design is virtually indestructible and if well cared for, can last a lifetime. ManGrates can be transferred to any grill you may ever own. Each ManGrate measures 15″ long x 4 1/4″ wide x 1 3/8″ high. A pair of ManGrates covers 15″ x 8 1/2.”


ManGrate $89.99 (4)

One ManGrate is $25.00
Two ManGrates are $65.00 and they come with a ManBrush
Four ManGrates are $89.99 and they come with a ManBrush
The ManBrush by itself is $15.00

GrillGrate is an aircraft grade aluminum grate. It has interlocking rails so that the individual grates can be locked together into one grate. I’m sure this is very helpful when grilling. Since the GrillGrate is made of aluminum instead of cast iron, it does not need to be seasoned but it does say it is hard anodized (anodizing involves immersing aluminum in a bath of sulfuric acid, called an electrolyte, and running a low-voltage electric current through the acid solution. If the acid solution is cooled to the freezing point of water and the amount of electric current increased substantially, however, the process is called hard anodizing.). The GrillGrate is designed to let the grease drip into the grill through holes in the grate itself.

GrillGrate is also made in the good old USA. GrillGrate also received an award for the Top New Product 2009 from the National Barbecue Association, the “Hot Stuff 2009” award from, the Best New BBQ Accessory 2009 award from Hearth & Home Magazine, and the Favorite Find Award from Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

GrillGrate is also cheaper and lighter (which means more portable) than ManGrate.

From the GrillGrate website:
Interlocking Raised Rail Panels Create a New Grilling Surface On Any Grill
• GrillGrate panels are 5.25″ wide x 13.75″ long, constructed of aircraft grade aluminum
• Hard Anodizing creates an ultra-hard surface for easy cleaning with a grill brush. Anodizing is harder than stainless steel and it will never rust.
• Clean hot GrillGrates in the traditional manner with a wire grill brush during warm up. Use a bit of water on the brush or sprayed on the GrillGrates for steam cleaning. Periodic cleaning in the sink will keep the searing surface of the raised rails perfectly clean.
• OK for open flame & camp fire grilling Grill Temps 1000F+
• GrillGrate panels eliminate flare-ups and act as a heat shield to protect foods from burning and drying out.
• Juices sizzle in the valleys and steam back up into the food for juicier more flavorful grilled foods.
• The raised rail design delivers perfect sear marks every time
• Grilling is healthier as fats drip through the holes and burn up on the bottom of the GrillGrate not on the outside of your food. Charring is also prevented.
• The GrateTool coupled with the raised rail design make it much easier to grill and handle fish, vegetables and pizza.
• GrillGrates smooth out grill hot spots for more even cooking.
• The hard anodized panels provide enhanced cooking via conduction, convection and infrared.
• hard anodized finish is 2x harder than stainless steel and will never rust.
• GrillGrates season with use.
• Easy to wipe clean on the grill or in the sink with sponge or brillo.

GrillGrate $39.99 (2)

One GrillGrate is $15.99
Two GrillGrates are $39.99 and come with a “Grate Tool”
Three GrillGrates are $54.99 and come with a “Grate Tool”
Four GrillGrates are $69.99 and come with a “Grate Tool”

The Cast Iron Grate by Char-Griller is similar to the ManGrate in that both are made with cast iron and both need to be seasoned before use. That is where the similarities stop, however. Unlike ManGrate and GrillGrate, Char-Griller is NOT trying to sell you grates to go on your grill. Char-Griller is a grill company that sells a wide variety of top of the line grills, char-grills, and smokers for your outdoor pleasure. Since Char-Griller is a total grill company, they sell their cast iron grate as an replacement piece for their grills. This means that the cast iron grate by Char-Griller is SIGNIFICANTLY less expensive than either the ManGrate or the GrillGrate.

The cast iron grate does not come with extra instructions or comments. It doesn’t come with special guarantees or anything of that nature. I think it is fully expected that if you buy this grate you already KNOW what you’re doing.

That makes me like this grate a lot. My fiancé is a typical man – he never reads directions, lol.

Cast Iron Grate - Char-Griller $8.99

One Cast Iron Grate is $8.99.

My man would LOVE that price. I think we’ve found a winner!

Groom’s Gifts – Custom Action Figures

Well, I’ve struck out with my Groom’s Gifts ideas so far. But since I’ve got wedding wire, I’ve got another idea, lol! I got a great idea from a bride on WW but the bad part about this idea is that I already know it’s not going to work. I know it’s not going to work since it doesn’t fit into my major parameters for a fiancé gift: unique, useable, and loveable. It IS unique – but the other two? Maybe it’ll work for some other bride…

This week’s Groom’s Gift idea: the customizable action figure!

It’s really cool, to be honest. The website That’s My Face allows you to create custom action figures. The options are amazing and wide-ranging. What you do is give a picture of your loved one. What you get is a pre-designed action figure (options available) and the head looks just like them! It also comes with clothing and any weapons or supplies that are typical for the outfit the figure is wearing.

There are options for a 4” action figure, a 6” action figure and a 12” action figure.

A 4” action figure (currently) starts at $79.99. There is a $30 additional fee if you want your figure to be “African American.” There is one figure named “Big Black” that I think my fiancé would love. Since the figure starts as black I’m assuming there is no additional skin color fee (how ironic is that??). Now to add hair. Bald figures have no additional fee, but if you want sculpted hair (think Ken Doll) then there is a $10 fee. If you want wig hair there is a $30 fee. The major issue is that there is a $150 fee for any hairstyle they don’t have as “stock.” Guess what isn’t “stock?” That’s right, dreadlocks 😦

My man keeps his hair cut short so I guess I could do it as a baldie. That would make Big Black $79.99 plus shipping and handling for me.

Big Black with weapons - $79.99

Knowing my man, he’d want something a little different – 4” is pretty small.

The 6” action figure currently starts at $99.00. There are none that start as black.

moveable parts details

The 12” action figure starts at $129.00 but that’s more like it! I would want that one for my baby.

There is a special 12” figure called “Custom Plus Male” that starts at $160.00. It’s totally custom except for tailored clothes and tattoos. I know that my fiancé would like to have his figure bristling with guns and wearing all black. Since it is custom PLUS (lol) you can pick any military uniform during any time period and it comes with weapons or whatever is specific to that uniform. This one, I love. It’d be great for my fiancé and for my brother as gifts. It takes an average of 14-25 days for it to process so don’t wait till the last minute.

Custom Plus Male starting at $160

Portable Grills – Groom Gift Search

I’ve really really been racking my brain on the groom gift thing. My fiance is so picky that he’s super hard to shop for. 😦

We were out and about today when we stopped at a sporting goods store. While we were browsing I noticed they had two super sweet portable grills for sale. I thought they were both looked pretty sweet: portable, functional, and had pretty similar features. There was the Char-Broil 08401504 Grill2Go ICE Portable Gas Grill and the Paul Jr. Designs Coleman RoadTrip Grill.

Both of the grills are gas-powered, the only exception I could see was that the Char-Broil design allows you to put wood chips in it for smoking. Both grills are about the same height and shape, though they are different colors (the Char-Broil is red and the Coleman is black), both have wheels, and they both have a little wing on each side. The Coleman grill’s wings are chrome and textured like the step on a pick-up truck. To be honest, the major differences seem to be the design of the grate part of the grill and the fact that the Char-Broil comes with two removable 30 quart coolers (I guess this is where they get the “ice” in the product name). The grate design for the Char-Broil is pretty much a typical grill grate. The grate design for the Coleman is more like a searing grate – almost like those you can find on a gas stove top.

The most glaring difference is, of course, that the Coleman grill was designed by Paul Teutul, Jr. from American Chopper. I’m quite sure his name added a few extra dollars to the price point, lol!

Of course, once I showed the grills to my fiance, he let me know that he was perfectly happy with the grill he has and doesn’t want a new one. Why am I not surprised? LOL!

The Char-Broil Grill2Go ICE Portable Gas Grill (08401504) – $199.99 at – lists its features and description as:
•Portable gas grill with infrared cooking system and 290 square inches of grilling space
•Collapsible design; 2 wheels and lift-and-lock mechanism similar to rolling luggage
•Stay-cool lid handle; 2 side shelves; requires 1-pound LP cylinder (sold separately)
•Includes 2 removable 30-quart coolers for keeping food and beverages chilled
•Measures approximately 29 by 44-1/2 by 37-1/2 inches; 90-day limited warranty

Char-Boil Grill2Go ICE Portable Gas Grill

“Designed with on-the-go grillers in mind, this portable gas grill works as well on the back deck or patio as it does at the beach, a campsite, or tailgating parties. The collapsible unit features two durable wheels and a lift-and-lock mechanism–similar to rolling luggage–for smooth transport from one place to the next. When ready to grill, just lower the handle, extend the grill to its full height, slide on the handy side shelves, and connect the regulator and fuel tank. The grill requires a 1-pound LP cylinder for operation (sold separately), and it features Char-Broil’s patented infrared cooking system, which reduces overall cooking time, uses 1/3 less gas, and creates no exposed flames, so there are less flare-ups to worry about. The grill may cook faster and more efficiently, but it doesn’t sacrifice seared-in flavor or mouthwatering results.

Best of all, the unit provides a generous 290 square inches of grilling space for anything from hot dogs and hamburgers to salmon fillets, veggie shish-kabobs, thick slices of fresh pineapple, and other favorites. To add smoky flavor to meat and vegetables, simply drop wood chips through the grates and lower the lid using the stay- cool handle; choose from a variety of wood-smoking chips, including mesquite, hickory, alder, oak, or cherry (not included). For added convenience, the grill comes equipped with two removable coolers that sit side by side on the bottom shelf (a protective shield on the bottom of the grill keeps them safe from the heat). Each 30-quart cooler offers two easy-grip loop handles, a wrap-around zipper, and ample space for filling with ice, food, drinks, and other items that need to be kept cold. The portable gas grill measures approximately 29 by 44-1/2 by 37-1/2 inches and carries a 90-day limited warranty.”

The Paul Jr. Designs Coleman RoadTrip Grill – $229.99 at – lists its features and description as:
•From Coleman, 36-inch collapsible propane grill for use at home or on the road
•With 285 square inches cooking space, grill features porcelain-coated cast-iron grates for durability and cleaning ease
•Meats cook over 2 10,000 BTU straight burners; requires separate purchase of a 16.4-ounce disposable propane cylinder
•Additional features include towing handle, wheels, and detachable side tables; assembly required
The collapsed grill measures 36 by 22 by 13 inches with a shipping weight of 60 pounds; limited 5-year warranty

Paul Jr. Designs Coleman Roadtrip Grill

It’s even easier to transport, and quicker and easier to set up at a tailgate party, campsite or any other location where fun, food and friends get together. Like the original RoadTrip Grill, the LXE features authentic open flame grilling, two powerful burners that are fully adjustable, electronic ignition and uncommon cooking versatility thanks to mix-and-match cooking surface options. However, a cleverly designed new stand distinguishes the LXE model from its predecessor. The X-shaped chassis is wheeled for easy maneuvering in both the upright and collapsed-for-transport positions. It sets up quickly and provides excellent stability for cooking, thanks to the simplicity of the scissor-like leg and frame design. Two side tables integrated into the unit slide out for grilling and cooking duties, then retract under the unit in a moment’s motion for travel and storage. Because the grill is affixed to the stand and the lid features a locking mechanism, the unit is secure and steady while towing it to and from a vehicle using a convenient pull handle. The Coleman Roadtrip Grill LXE is designed to be used completely assembled. If table top use is desired – simply hand remove the 4 plastic cap screws and start cooking! The Roadtrip Grill LXE is easy to assemble – Push on wheels and insert plastic handle and it is ready to use! New tool holders and stainless steel carry handles added for convenience. The LXE fits into most auto trunks/SUV’s.”

Teroforma Whiskey Stones – The gift for my Groom search starts

Traditionally, the bride and the groom exchange gifts prior to the wedding. Since my fiance gave me such a beautiful ring, I don’t expect an additional gift from him. But I have racked my brain to find the PERFECT gift for him (he deserves it!).

I haven’t decided what I want to give him, but I want it to be unique, something he can use, and something he’ll love. I have 65 days left to figure this out! lol

I know that this has nothing to do with hair, make up, skin care or dresses, but its my blog! LOL

One thing that I’ve run across that’s pretty sweet are Teroforma’s The Whisk(e)y Lover gift set.

The Whisk(e)y Lover gift set

The Whisk(e)y Lover gift set comes with a set of two whiskey glasses and nine soapstone ice cubes. The whole idea being that water ruins a good whiskey so why use ice? The stones are reusable, flavorless, and freezeable.

I have to admit that I adore the shape of the whiskey glasses. They are so…organic and unexpected.

From the Teroforma website:
“Being a fan of single malt scotch, Teroforma co-founder Andrew Hellman had pondered this exact question before. After a bunch of searching and testing, we came up with Whisky Stones as the answer. Based on an idea using granite that has been in existence in Scandinavia for centuries, we chose to work with natural soapstone due to its softness (won’t scratch the glass) and its unique ability to retain temperature for extended periods of time.

A few hours in the freezer and the stones are ready to complement your favorite tipple without imparting either flavor or odor.

This chance incident marked the debut of Vermont Soapstone. Realizing its unique ability to maintain warm and cool temperatures, local Vermonters began mining and milling this unusually smooth gray stone for a variety of household and cooking purposes. Today, under the careful stewardship of owner Glenn Bowman, Vermont Soapstone continues to build its unparalleled expertise as America’s original fabricators of soapstone – using many of the same techniques first formulated by the original founders.”

Cost: $60.00