BBQ Tips to Stop Food From Sticking to Your Grill

You’ve spent hours shopping, prepping, and marinating your meat, so the last thing you want is food to stick to your grill. We don’t want that for you, either. We’ve put together a list of BBQ tips so you can flip your meat with confidence. 

How to Prevent Food from Sticking to Your Grill 

BBQ tips to prevent burger from sticking to grill

It’s happened to us all. But there are a few steps you can take to ensure your food never sticks again. Imagine if all of those deliciously tender and marinated meats actually came off the grill in one perfect piece?

It only takes three simple steps.

  1. Keep it clean.
  2. Keep it hot.
  3. Keep it oiled.

It’s that simple. Follow these steps correctly, and you’ll never have to serve a sad, skinless chicken breast ever again.

BBQ Tips #1: Clean your grill after every use

BBQ tip to prevent food from sticking is to clean grill.

It might be a no-brainer, but keeping your grill clean is essential to prevent sticking. All that black gunk on your grates? That’s all that sauces, marinades, oils, and juice that’s leftover from your last barbecue. And it’s coating your grates and causing your food to stick. 

We get it. After you’ve finished grilling, all you want is to sit down and eat your meal while it’s still hot. You could clean it after your meal is over, but the grill needs to be warm to clean it – so we recommend cleaning your grill beforehand. 

Let your grill heat up, so all the residue on the grates softens up and becomes easier to remove.

You can use a grill brush to scrape away the residue once it’s warmed up. If you have a grill with porcelain grates, you’ll need something a little softer to keep from damaging the grates. However, if you’re in a pinch, you can also use aluminum foil. Ball it up and hold it with a pair of barbecue tongs to scrub away all the grease. 

A nylon scouring pad, like the one you probably have in your kitchen for washing dishes, is also a great option. 

Or, you can use an onion. Yes, that’s right. Cut an onion in half, and use the inside to scrub the grates. The enzymes in the onion will work their magic and break down all the grease.

Want to learn more about cleaning your grill? Read our guide.

BBQ Tips #2: Make sure your grill is hot enough

BBQ tip to prevent kebabs from sticking to grill.

One of the reasons your food might be sticking to your grill is because it’s not hot enough. 

Make sure you give the grill time to preheat before placing your food onto it. It should take between 5-10 minutes for it to heat up completely – and make sure you’re turning up the grill to a high enough temperature. If it’s too low or not preheated enough, your food will take longer to cook thoroughly and will result in sticking when you try to flip. 

BBQ Tips #3: Don’t flip too early

BBQ tip to prevent burgers from sticking to grill.

Likewise, give your food enough time to cook before flipping. Flipping your food too early without giving it time to cook thoroughly will make it stick. 

Leave it on the grill for longer on the first side to allow it to cook thoroughly on that side, and then slide the spatula underneath it. If you feel resistance, leave it for another few minutes. When you flip it, the other side will need less time to cook. 

To be safe, always check your meat with a thermometer

BBQ Tips #4: Use oil

Raw salmon and seasonings on wooden board.

Another way to prevent your food from sticking is to make sure it’s adequately oiled. You wouldn’t throw a chicken breast on a frying pan without any oil, would you? The same applies to your grill.

Make sure to use cooking oil that has a higher smoking point. Safflower, sunflower, peanut, vegetable, and canola oil all have smoking points of at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

On the flip side, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil have a much lower smoke point, so they may be unsafe to use on the grill. 

Some may argue that oiling your entire grill is best; however, this uses an unnecessary amount of oil and could cause more buildup on your grates as the oil will stick and collect more residue. Oiling the food you’re about to grill is more efficient.

If you’re cooking meat or anything with moisture, dry it out with a paper towel before applying the oil. It will slip right off once it’s time to flip!

Bonus BBQ Tips: Use a grill mat

If all else fails and your food still sticks after following all of these steps, try using a grill mat. Typically made of a Teflon non-stick surface, you can place these mats on top of your grill grates. They’re affordable, easy to clean, and they never stick to your food! 

They may not give the same flavour as barbecuing directly on the grates, but that might be a sacrifice you’re willing to make. However, when heated to high temperatures, some can release harmful fumes, so read the safety precautions on the packaging before use. 

Ready to start grilling? Here are some delicious recipes to get started!

We have answers to your grilling questions! 

Need a new grill? More grilling tips? Call us or visit one of our store locations, and our team of BBQ experts would be happy to answer all your grilling questions. 

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