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Sticking to the Grill: The Myth of Coating Foods With Oil

Sticking to the Grill

Do you need to coat foods in oil to keep them from sticking to the grill?

​Problems with food sticking to the grill? Some people will tell you the only way to solve the sticking to the grill dilemma is to coat foods in oil. Of course, this is unappealing to many people who enjoy grilling because of its low-fat features.

​Fortunately, there are alternative ways to keep food from sticking to the grill, and several of them don't involve oil at all.

​One basic way to keep food from sticking to the grill is to clean the grill regularly. If you allow food residue and grease to build up on the grill, a sticky coating will form, making it difficult to flip or remove burgers, fish, and other softer menu items. In addition, studies show that the charred materials may contain carcinogens, which if consumed regularly could prove to be unhealthy.

​Many people rub the grill rack with oil before cooking, rather than spreading the oil on the food. Another alternative is nonstick cooking spray.

​Typically, a grill grate that is cleaned after each use and treated occasionally with oil or other lubricants will become seasoned, and you will have far fewer instances of food sticking to the grill. This approach is similar to curing cast iron pans and works best if the lubricant is applied while the grill is still warm. If you prefer to cut out the oil or sprays altogether, consider the three alternatives below.

​Foil the Sticky Situation

​An easy and inexpensive way to keep food items from sticking to the grill is to place them on a layer or two of aluminum foil. Typically, this doesn't increase the cooking time and it makes food easy to remove. Just simply use oven mitts to lift the foil off the grill. Obviously, cleanup is a snap.

​You can poke small holes in the foil to allow fat to drip away, but this might cause items to stick to the foil instead. Flipping can also be tricky because the foil does not provide a solid surface for leverage.

​Top That

​A more sturdy alternative is to use a grill topper, which is a cooking tray, usually coated in porcelain or other nonstick surfaces. They come in different sizes and prices, and although they may increase grilling time, they are an effective way to reduce or eliminate the need for oils.

​Basket for Your BBQ

​A grill basket provides a third alternative means of keeping foods from sticking to the grill. Consisting of a metal cage and a handle for turning, grill baskets are great for hamburgers, veggies, and other small items and can also be purchased in custom sizes for fish fillets, corn, hot dogs, steaks and other popular grill foods. The handle makes turning easy and the open design allows fat to drip away from the food.

​If you have problems with food items sticking to the grill, don't buy into the myth that you have to coat them in oil to avoid the problem. There are several easy and healthy alternatives that help keep food from sticking to the grill.