If you have issues with food sticking to your grill grates, consider seasoning them. Seasoning your grill grates is a part of grill maintenance that should not be overlooked. All you need to season your grill grates is some high temperature oil and either paper towels or a soft cloth. I’ll show you two different ways you can season your grill grates as well as what you should do before using your grill for the first time.
Benefits Of Seasoning Your Grill Grates
Seasoning your grill grates is an important part of any grill maintenance routine. This will allow you to grill without your food sticking to your grates. Noting is more frusturating than flipping a piece of meat and having the whole underside get left behind.
For cast iron grates, seasoning them can also help prevent rust. Cast iron grates have tiny pores that liquid can seep into. If water gets into those pores it would cause your grates to rust. Seasoning your grates will seal those pores with oil. That way no water will get into the pores and you will prolong the life of your grates. If you want more tips on preventing rust, check out our article on how to prevent rust on your grill.
First Time Use
If you’re grill has not been used before, there is going to be some first time maintenance you will want to do. The first couple of times you grill, your grates will be especially sticky. Doing some seasoning beforehand can help alleviate some of the sticking. After the initial maintenance, I would still season your grates after each use.
The first thing you will want to do is remove your grates from the grill. Then, give them a wash in warm water and soap using a microfiber cloth or something that won’t scratch them. After that, make sure you dry them completely and preheat your grill. For stainless steel grates, place the grates back on and season them with a high temperature oil. Some examples of high temperature oils are vegetable oil, canola oil, or Crisco. After that you are ready to cook.
The process for cast iron grates is just a little different. You’re still going to wash them in warm soapy water and dry them completely. The difference is, you’re going to preheat your grill on low (below the smoking point of the oil) and season the grates before placing them on the grill. You’ll want to season them the same way you would season stainless grates. After that you can place them on your grill when it has finished preheating. After placing the cast iron grates on the grill, let them bake for at least an hour. Lastly, turn your grill off so they can cool down, and you are ready to grill on your cast iron grates.
Seasoning With Oil
The initial seasoning is important, but regular maintenance of your grates is going to be more important. I would recommend seasoning after every use, while your grill is still warm. This will prolong the life of your grill grates and prevent future sticking. You’ll thank yourself next time you grill for doing this ahead of time.
Right after you are done grilling, you’ll want to burn off everything that was left behind. All you have to do is turn the burners to high and close the lid of the grill. Let it burn off for about 15 minutes, this let you easily scrape everything off. After 15 minutes, you can turn the burners off and scrape off the grates with your grill brush.
Once you have scrapped everything off your grates, it’s time to season them. Like you would have with a the initial maintenance, you’re going to apply some high temperature oil. You don’t have to use a lot, just enough for a light coating. Also, don’t use oil from a spray can because the aerosol cans are extremely flammable. You could use paper towels to brush the oil on, but that can get messy. I think the best thing to use would be a grill grate oiler brush. These brushes are fairly cheap and you’ll get a lot of use out of them. If you’re going to be seasoning your grill after each use, it may be worth to get one and save yourself the hassle of using paper towels.
Seasoning With An Onion
Another option for seasoning your grill is with an onion. When onions react with metal, they form a nonstick surface that is stable at home up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a higher point than the high temperature oils you are currently using. If you want to try something new, give this a try.
Seasoning your grates with an onion is incredibly easy. Same process as you usually would, you’ll want to do a 15 minute burn off. After that, scrape everything off before seasoning. Take one large white onion and cut it in half then rub it on the grill face down. I would attach an onion to the end of a long grill fork so you don’t burn yourself. You’ll want to rub the onions really aggressively against the grill. For best results, go over the grates over a few times. The end result should be some nice non-stick grates.
Don’t overlook seasoning your grill grates this grilling season. You’ll thank yourself when your food doesn’t stick your grates next time you grill. Seasoning your grates will also allow you to get more use out of your grill.
If it is your first time using your grill, don’t neglect the initial one-time maintenance. After that, be sure to clean and season your grill after each use while it is still warm. If you follow all the steps above, it’ll make grilling that much better.
Seasoning your grill is super easy to do and a part of grill maintenance you definitely don’t want to skip. If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out some of our other articles on grilling!