Season Grill Grates Directly For Amazing Flavor Results

Grilling is a fine art, and amateur and professional chefs are constantly looking for new ways to enhance their meats' flavor profiles when working with a live flame. One of the best ways to do so is with seasoning. Meat, without different seasonings to help add depth and complexity, can disappoint in the flavor department, and while most people typically add the seasoning directly onto the meat, "Chopped" judge Scott Conant has a different approach. Rather than rubbing the herbs and spices onto your ribeye or chicken breast alone, Conant makes a case for also adding it to the grill grates for an extra punch of flavor.

"I throw herbs and garlic heads and other seasonings directly onto the grill with the items I'm grilling," Conant told Insider. "I love the flavor transfer and the slight char of the herbs and seasoning." A mix of oil and seasoning can infuse the food with unique flavors, enhancing the natural flavors of the grilled veggies or meats. And you can't forget the basics like simple salt, which will tenderize the meat right on the grate, or pepper, which will add heat and earthiness. Depending on which spices or herbs you choose to cook with, you can infuse your dishes with sweetness, spiciness, smokiness, or all of the above, adding more depth to a simple cut. Here's how.

How to season grill grates

There are different seasoning approaches depending on what kind of grill you have. If you have a gas grill, it's best not to be too liberal with the oil, as it can gum up the elements. Instead, you can lay heads of garlic or sprigs of herbs directly onto the grates. Place your vegetables and meat directly on top of the herbs, allowing them to become infused with their flavor and scent.

If using another type of grill, you can season the grates directly with an oil-based marinade. To create it, just add your desired spices to canola or vegetable oil, which has a high smoke point. If you want to add fresh herbs in as well, consider pulsing them in a food processor before including. Then take a paper towel or basting brush, and glaze your grates directly with it. You can also rub them with raw onions or lemons to help transfer those flavors to your meats and veggies.

If you have a charcoal grill, you have the added option of putting herbs directly into the charcoal rather than over the grates. To ensure they don't simply catch fire and have time to add some earthy smokiness to your dish, bundle up your desired herbs and soak them in water. Once your grill is going, place the bundle directly on top, and cap on or off, the smoke will become infused with its pleasant smell.