How to Season Grill Grates

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Ready for cookout season? You'll want to learn how to season grill grates before you start flippin' burgers.

It’s time to fire up the grill! But before you do, ask yourself, when was the last time you seasoned the grates? Like seasoning a cast-iron skillet, it’s possible to use this oil-and-heat process to keep your grill nonstick. Plus, the oil protects the grates from rust and makes them easier to clean.

The Best Oil to Use

Seasoning your grates involves using very high heat, so it’s important to use the right type of oil. Most grill manufacturers recommend canola or peanut oil because they have a smoke point over 450° F. You can also use vegetable oil, sunflower oil or avocado oil. The high smoke points of these oils ensure that the oil won’t burn; which can ruin the seasoning process as well as the taste of your food.

How to Season Grill Grates

Tools You Need

  • Cooking oil
  • Spray bottle (for coating the grates with oil)
  • Paper towel
  • Grill brush

Step 1: Start with a cool grill

If you just used the grill, allow it to cool completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Clean the grates

Use a grill brush to clean the grates, brushing away stuck-on food and other debris.

Step 3: Spray the grates with oil

Fill a spray bottle with high-heat oil. Spray the grill grates with the oil, making sure to get full coverage.

Then, use a paper towel to wipe off any excess oil. Your goal is to have the grates completely coated in a thin, even layer of oil.

Step 4: Turn the grill on

Turn the grill on high heat, and allow it to cook the oil for about 30 minutes. The grates should start to darken as the oil and smoke work their magic. The darker the grates get with each seasoning, the more that signature grill flavor will develop over time.

Is Seasoning Your Grill the Same for All Types of Grills?

Yes. You can follow the same simple steps for seasoning charcoal grills, gas grills and pellet grills. Both cast-iron and steel grates will benefit from seasoning. But keep in mind, porcelain grates do not need to be seasoned.

Want to switch-up your grill game? Check out our guide to the benefits of different types of grills.

Do You Have to Season a New Grill?

Yes! You should always season a new grill. Oiling and heating the grill will create a protective barrier that prevents rust. Seasoning is also what creates a nonstick surface on your grates so that you don’t end up with a frustrating mess of stuck-on food the first time you try out the grill. Plus, the high heat process of seasoning will burn off any dust or other contaminants that are left on the grates during the manufacturing process.

Remember to use this seasoning process every time you use your grill. A well-seasoned grill is the best way to maintain the performance of your grill for many seasons to come.

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Erica Young
Erica is a freelance lifestyle writer with a bachelor's degree in Journalism. Her favorite recipes are quick, easy and something her kids will actually eat. When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, roaming the aisles at Target or nursing her third Diet Coke of the day.