Originally Posted by tuliku
OK, thanks for the heads up. Guess my evening plans changed now to finding metal for a new basket..
If you read thru all of this thread which is a long endeavor on the bolt and zinc issue. As many have pointed out the temp that zinc would be an issue would render your food looking like charcoal ash. As I pointed out I used a Walmart 22" grill for the lid and parts for my smoker. I made an error when I told you my grate was 13.5 its actually 18.5 I believe because I used the grate from the Walmart grill which if you read the parts list is zinc coated by the way. As I said before it the zinc was an issue I am sure someone would have sued Walmart over it by now.
If you can find stainless bolts for your grates fine but my two sense is don't worry about your most likely zinc coated bolts you used for the basket. As I said before if your that concerned put them in a cup of vinegar and let them sit for a day or so, that includes your nuts, washers and bolts, you will see after a day or so they will turn black and start rusting because the vinegar removes the zinc coating. For some reason the bolts rust faster probably less of a zinc coating. Zinc looks more shiny than galvanized doubt your bolts and washers are galv but they could be but most in the bins in your hardware store are zinc. The vinegar works, I usued a plastic clear 16 ounce cup to soak my bolts and you can see the vinegar working.
The expanded metal may be hard to find over where you are unless you have a welding shop nearby and they would have some as they use it all the time.
Do your research but most of the issues on zinc and galvanized fumes involved welding which obviously would be a temperature your smoker would never see ever as it would not be possible to get your smoker or grate that hot. And as a poster said to me once you smoke your first meal the grease is going to cover those bolts anyway.
I have smoked 4 or 5 times with my vinegar cleaned bolts and I have not had an issue. I did use stainless for the cooking grates but if I could not have found them I would not have worried about the zinc bolts there either.
I am not a chemist so take that in consideration but there are links in this thread to articles stating the zinc issue is basically nonsense unless you were welding but its your decision.