The first time grill manufacturers added windows to their barbecue lids, it didn’t go quite as planned. Back then, grill lid windows were made of tempered glass. That crucial error doomed the windows back in the 1980s, and has left some manufacturers wary of the feature. But that was then, and this is now: A new slate of grill windows is coming to market, made possible with a material – glass-ceramic – that’s actually up to the job. Tempered glass, simply put, should not be used in grills. It can lose its tempering when unevenly heated or exposed to temperatures over 250 °C for extended periods, a crucial weakness when some grills can hit 300 °C and above. Moreover, tempered glass can’t handle rapid changes in temperature. If you’re in the middle of grilling up some burgers and a passing rainstorm sends some cool drops onto the hot glass, the shift in temperature could shatter tempered glass, ruining the meal and potentially injuring the barbecuer.
Thirty years later, grill lid windows are in demand again. This time around, manufacturers are using a stronger material that stands up to extreme heat: SCHOTT NEXTREMA® glass-ceramic for grills is designed to resist temperatures exceeding 500 °C, maintaining its integrity even at the highest temperatures. It has near-zero thermal expansion, so the same raindrops that would shatter hot tempered glass will just bounce off. This also allows for larger windows and different shapes and styles, from flat to curved or angular bent, fitting the look and design of practically any grill.
Beyond grill windows, NEXTREMA® glass-ceramic can also act as a burner shield, protecting burners from dripping grease while efficiently radiating heat and vaporizing flavor into the meat. Both glass-ceramic windows and burner shields offer clear views despite smoke and grease, and are even easy to clean. Glass-ceramic finally makes possible what grill manufacturers first set out to do several decades ago: give backyard barbecuers a better grilling experience.