To grease or not to grease? That is the question? You know there are conflicting ideas out there about whether or not you should grease your grill grates. If you happen to have a Weber grill you may have noticed that they have a section in their instruction manual which clearly states that one should never actually grease the grates. Instead, they urge us to oil the food that you are going to cook. On the other hand, BBQ masters like Steven Raichlen or the folks on America’s Test Kitchen always tell you to grease the grates.

Now who’s right and who’s wrong?

At the end of the day it might not matter who’s right or who’s wrong? The important question is why do you do one or the other?Personally, I always oil my grates. I grease them after the grill has come up to temp with about 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil rubbed on with a paper towel dipped into the oil. Then, before I grill I let it do its thing while the grill continues to heat up for the last few minutes and then I’ll cook on it.

But then again sometimes I’ll oil the food as well. Is this an oxymoron? It may be but you really have to think about what you’re trying to accomplish.

If I’m cooking at a high temperature and it’s going to sit long enough I really don’t have to worry too much about anything other than a well seasoned grill grate. But if I’m going to go ahead and grill something a bit more delicate at a lower temperature like a salmon, or even something at a high temp that needs to turn over soon after going on, then the last thing I want is to do is flip it over after two or three minutes in and have half the food meld to the grill. So in that case, I’ll also oil the food to have a higher likelihood of success that I can flip over and not have it completely disintegrate in the process

Mike’s Tips

  1. Don’t bother using expensive oil for either the grill or the food. No matter how good it is, it’s going to burn off. While something rancid wouldn’t be great, there’s no need to use your best EVOO here.
  2. Calories shouldn’t be a concern when oiling food before grilling either (see above).
  3. After you finish grilling, let the grill cook off and then scrape the grates clean while they are still hot. It’ll be so much easier than before you cook next time and it’ll extend the life of your grates.
  4. Don’t use a spray oil to grease the grill. I find it may be wicked cool to have a flare up to your eyebrows, but your simply wasting more oil than you’re using, and it just won’t season as well as rubbing it in with a paper towel.