Whether you cook over a fire pit or a charcoal/gas grill, you should oil the grate before adding the food. It only takes a few minutes, but doing so offers several key benefits, some of which we’re going to discuss.
Protects Grate from Rusting
Grill grates — like all metallic objects containing iron — have a tendency to rust. This isn’t something that happens overnight. Rather, it takes months or years for them to develop any noticeable rust. Once this occurs, however, the corrosion can eat its way through the metal if left unchecked.
There are ways to protect your grate from rusting, one of which is covering your fire pit or grill so it’s not exposed to the rain and elements. Rust occurs when iron “oxidizes” with oxygen or moisture. So, covering your grate is an simple and effective way to prevent this from occurring. Furthermore, you can protect your grate from rusting by applying oil to it. Oil acts as a barrier between the metal within the grate and the moisture in the air.
Prevents Food from Sticking
In addition to protecting your grate from rusting, applying oil also keeps food from sticking. As any backyard barbecuer knows, food shouldn’t stick to the grate when grilling. If it does, the outer layer — along with all of the delicious seasoning — will be ripped off. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to oil your grate before adding the food. With a coating of oil over the grate, there’s a significantly lower risk of your food sticking.
How to Oil Your Grill Grate
Before we begin, it’s important to note that you should only oil the grate before starting the fire. Do not attempt to oil it if the coals are burning, as some cooking oils are flammable.
Assuming your grill is cool, you can oil your grill in one of several ways: one of the easiest is to apply a spray-based cooking oil. Simply spray the oil over the grate, after which you can add your food. Alternatively, you can brush the oil over the grate using a cooking brush. You don’t need a lot of oil. Place a small amount in a bowl, dip the brush into the bowl, and rub it across the grate until there’s a nice, even coating throughout.
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