How To Season A Brand New Grill

While many consider Memorial Day the unofficial start of summer, for backyard barbecue enthusiasts it also marks the beginning of an equally momentous time of the year: grilling season. Whether you're a BBQ novice or a certified pitmaster, many cooks erroneously skip over the very important step of seasoning upon upgrading, or reusing, their equipment. 

As with cast iron pans, seasoning a grill is the easiest way to ensure that you have the optimal cooking surface for your steaks, burgers, grilled veggies, and other backyard favorites. According to Taste of Home, seasoning a grill prior to use not only creates a nonstick surface that prevents food from sticking to the grill grates, but also forms a protective barrier that keeps rust from forming on the grates.

Another benefit of seasoning a grill prior to first use is eliminating any potential chemicals, contaminants, dust, or other materials lingering on the grill following the manufacturing, shipping, and distribution of the outdoor appliance.

Luckily, seasoning a grill is a quick, simple process that grillers of all levels will be able to pull off successfully. The first step in the seasoning process is selecting your oil. Since grills are operated at high temperatures, it's important to use an oil with a high smoke point (the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke, infusing foods with an unpleasant burnt, acrid-tasting flavor).

Seasoning a grill eliminates contaminates and prevents food from sticking

Saber Grills recommends using canola oil and peanut oil, which both have high smoke points, for seasoning. Other good options include vegetable oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, and corn oil. Before turning on the grill for the first time, coat the grill grates with a light layer of your oil of choice, using a rag or spray bottle to apply the oil. Then, turn the grill on to medium high heat until the oil begins to smoke, about 15 minutes. This technique works for seasoning gas, charcoal, and pellet grills with both steel grates and cast-iron grates (via Taste of Home).

To keep your grill in optimal shape throughout grilling season, season the grill after every use. Simply let the grill cool down, use a brush to remove any debris from the grill grates, and apply a light layer of your high-heat oil between each grilling session — your grilled chicken and perfectly charred street corn will thank you.

Check out our grilling guide for recipes, tips, and tricks for making the most of your cookouts all summer long.