Grilling is often one of the best ways to cook a meal, whether it’s for breakfast, dinner or even for dessert. Grilling your food is actually quite healthy for you and your family, since all the vitamins that you want to get from these foods are quickly trapped inside the meat and vegetables’ cells thanks to the higher heat used. Barbecuing also infuses smoky flavours into your food and gives it a light char that makes dining so much more enjoyable.
Even if you have experience with cooking or barbecuing, one little problem can entirely ruin the otherwise wonderful dining experience that comes with barbequing; having your food stick to the grill. When you flip it, the layer that touches the grate can tear away, completely ruining the dish. With some vegetables, sticking isn’t too big of a problem since you’re more than likely using it as a side dish’s ingredient.
But many cuts of meat, fish and vegetables – like zucchini and eggplants will shred, leaving bits stuck to the grate. On some even worse occasions, the bits that are torn off can fall into the charcoal or onto the burners, making a much bigger mess. So, to help you prevent your food from sticking, we have some of the best hacks to do just that. You might also learn more about the different tools and accessories that can help you.
How to keep the food from sticking
When it comes to making sure that your meat and veggies don’t stick to the grates, there are actually many more ways than many realise there are. Some of these hacks are more or less typical, while some others are completely unexpected but just as effective. It’s recommended that you try some of these, especially if one of these tips doesn’t help quite as well.
Oil both the grill and your food
One of the most well-known ways to make sure your food doesn’t stick to the grate is to use a good amount of oil. Many different sources say to only oil the grate or only the food but in both cases, that oil, while still quite healthy when used in the right quantities, can still get absorbed and cause a bit of sticking.
To make sure that it won’t stick to the grate though, brush oil onto both it and the food you’re grilling. The oil acts as a barrier between the two surfaces, effectively reducing the amount of friction the food has. However, as mentioned, oil frequently gets absorbed if not enough is used and the food then bonds with the grate. Oiling both the food and the grate provides a proper amount of oil to maintain that barrier and further reduce the bonding and friction created.
Use higher heats
A possible reason your foods sticking to the grate is that the heat you’re using isn’t high enough. When food cooks, its cells start to dry out and denature, sticking to and forming around the surface it’s cooking on. If your heat is too low, the food slowly bonds to the grate instead, making it stick.
The higher the heat is, though, the less time there is for the food to mould itself to the grate and stick there. The heat quickly sears the outer layer and denatures the food before the heat penetrates to the inside. In simpler terms, the outer layer of whatever you’re grilling cooks much faster than it can droop and stick to your barbecue’s grates.
Use some mayonnaise
One of the more outlandish ideas for preventing your food from sticking is to use a bit of mayonnaise. As off-putting as it can seem at times, mayonnaise is great to use since many brands often use oil as one of the many ingredients. When exposed to the heat of your grill, the oil separates from the mayonnaise and acts the same way as it would if you just brushed on oil. The flavour of the mayonnaise might be ideal for seafood and fish, but it could also be quite a great addition to chicken or other similar types of meat.
How to make the grates non-stick
Just like there are many ways to make your food less likely to stick to the grate, there are also different ways to make the grates themselves non-stick.
Use half a potato
A great budget-friendly option that you can get out of your own pantry is a potato. If you’re making potatoes as a side dish, this trick can make use of the raw starchy juice before you actually cook them.
All you need to do is set the grill to whatever temperature you’re planning to use and let it build up. Then, cut a potato, loaded in nutrients, in half and poke a fork into the rounded end of it. If your potatoes are a little drier, poke a few holes into the cut side. Once the grill’s hot enough, rub the cut side onto the grate where you’re planning to cook. You can also substitute the potato for an onion or a lemon, but those will more than likely affect the taste of the food.
Cooking spray is also a great choice if you want to make your grates non-stick. Much like with pans, the spray creates a barrier between the two surfaces, allowing food to move over the grate without sticking. Depending on the brand of the cooking spray and how food or metal safe it is, you could also use it to season the grill, especially some of the flavoured ones. Many dollar and grocery stores today sell cooking spray for a budget-friendly cost, making them a much better option now.
Making sure that your food doesn’t stick is one of the vital parts of barbecuing. If the food sticks to the grate, there’s a higher chance that it’ll tear and shred when you go to flip it. However, many of these tips are incredibly handy to prevent sticking. There is one guaranteed way to prevent sticking, though; cleaning the grate of charred bits and grease regularly.