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Oil the food, or oil the grill?

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Post Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:12 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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Posts: 5839
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Now, those of us who have read Steven's books know his mantra for the grill: keep it hot, keep it clean, and keep it lubricated. I've even bought grill pads and I've got one of Steven's grill oilers for the purpose:
http://www.grilling4all.com/sm8131.html

I've been reading a few other grilling books lately (as there's still snow on the ground up here), and a few of them have been the excellent Weber grilling books by Jamie Purviance. He recommends that you oil the food rather than the grill grates, as oiling the grates creates bitter flavors as the oil burns off. I've tried this on my own cooks and it works, but there's always the danger of the food getting greasy - especially chicken, for some odd reason.

I clean my grill grates regularly and I always oil them after cleaning as they are cast-iron grates and they need the seasoning. High-temp grilling tends to burn that off on any grill whether it's charcoal or gas. But even if the grates are clean, seasoned and well-oiled the food sometimes tends to stick even if the grill marks are burned in (in cooking terms, the food sometimes sticks even if it's ready to "release"). As a result I sometimes end up oiling both the food and the grill grates, which works.

So I'm putting the question to the board - what works best for you? Oiling the food, oiling the grill, or a bit of both?
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:51 pm
jayeffel well done
well done

Posts: 337
Location: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Not sure I can give the definitive answer, but I oil the grates -cast iron- before grilling,and try to do so when done, I like the way the grates look when oiled.

Saying that, I don't actually get to use the grill very much due to the need to pay for other things before I can even contemplate charcoal and meat, etc.
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Post Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:04 pm
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2287
Location: Southern Californy
Interesting survey, Canada. If I'm trying really hard for grill marks, then I just grease the grate. If I grease the food, too, then I observe less of a mark effect. However, grill marks are not my specialty, so I usually don't care if I attain much of them or not. I'm a great fan of a balsamic/light olive oil marinade on a number of foods I make, so the food gets oiled that way. I, too, have noticed that the higher the grilling temp, the more the food tends to stick. I usually grill at lower temps, so I don't encounter too much in the way of sticky problems, and the extra time gives me a chance to finish sipping my beer. My one exception is grilling chicken, where I invite the flareups to get that lovely char on the skin going. :D
Got beer???

Post Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:21 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
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Posts: 7453
Location: Stoughton, WI
I have one of those iron grates with the "no seasoning needed" finish and have noticed that even after a good brushing there seems to be an oily sheen to the bars, so I haven't been oiling lately. No problems so far, and once the grill marks are firmly established the meat easily releases from the grate.

I still use the wire grates for longer cooks and sometimes give them a really light oiling if it looks like they might need it. If the meat's going to be in 1 position for a long time I'm really not too worried about sticking.

Post Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:03 pm
Ironside raw
raw

Posts: 3
Location: Eastlake, Ohio
Going to buy a Weber E-210 Gas Grill with cast iron grates. Says they don' need seasoning. I feel I should still oil them, any help would be appreciated.

Post Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:26 pm
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2287
Location: Southern Californy
Big welcome to you, Ironside!!! I do not know about the nature of those particular no need to season grates, but I am with you-- keep them oiled. Better safe than sorry. Then you are more assured to keep that seasoning. And congratulations on your new investment! :D
Got beer???

Post Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:44 pm
sroach well done
well done

Posts: 1160
Location: Warrington, PA
Great conversation.. depends on what I am cooking, lets say a steak, I will rub some olive oil on the steak so the salt and pepper stick. I will also oil the cast iron grill great. I get almost no sticking even when searing at 650 degrees.
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Post Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:12 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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Posts: 5839
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
I mentioned in another post that a lot of cast iron grill grates are triangular in cross-section (and no - not just the CharGriller anymore). This means you have a thick side and a thin side. I cooked a meal on the gasser tonight and flipped the grates to the thick side to try them out. The first thing I recalled was that any time I flip the grates over I need to have a brush handy because oil and food sometimes collects underneath. Tonight was no exception.

Turns out the thick side of the grill grate holds oil a lot better, whcih makes sense as the oil runs off the thin side more often. And the grill marks are definitely a lot thicker, too. It's definitely more important to oil the thick side really well, though, as there's at least twice as much grill grate for food to stick to. :D
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:52 pm
Ironside raw
raw

Posts: 3
Location: Eastlake, Ohio
Thanks for the welcome CanadaBBQGuy. The grates that come with the grill are Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates. Should I use olive oil, like I read, or somthing else? I would assume pre-heat the grill, oil the grates and put them in for a couple of hours?
Want to make sure I do this right guys. Sorry for all the questions, but these things are not cheap like you know.

Post Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:15 am
CharredGriller User avatar
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Posts: 5839
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Ironside wrote:
Thanks for the welcome CanadaBBQGuy. The grates that come with the grill are Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates. Should I use olive oil, like I read, or somthing else? I would assume pre-heat the grill, oil the grates and put them in for a couple of hours?
Want to make sure I do this right guys. Sorry for all the questions, but these things are not cheap like you know.


My favorite oil is actually peanut oil as it has a higher smoking point, but I also like olive oil (I save the extra-virgin stuff for cooking). Porcelain grates normally don't need as much seasoning as they don't have pores like cast-iron. You will likely get away with oiling them when the grill warms up.

One other really big note about porcelain grates: use a brass brush for cleaning them. Stainless steel brushes are great for metal grills but they can scratch the porcelain-coated ones and this can even cause the coating to eventually crack off and get into your food.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:17 am
Griffin well done
well done

Posts: 3312
Location: Dallas, Texas

I used to oil my meat before I cooked it, but lately I've been experimenting with not oiling it and just oiling the grates. I do recall from somewhere that said to really sear your meat, you need to make sure it is dry, not wet. Of course, that was cooking in a pan, but I figured I would try it out on the grill for awhile to see what I thought.

Post Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:38 am
sroach well done
well done

Posts: 1160
Location: Warrington, PA
CanadaBBQGuy wrote:
Now, those of us who have read Steven's books know his mantra for the grill: keep it hot, keep it clean, and keep it lubricated. I've even bought grill pads and I've got one of Steven's grill oilers for the purpose:
http://www.grilling4all.com/sm8131.html



by the way, Canada. What do you think of the grill oil pan? I bought one and stopped using it, it seemed to get oil everywhere.
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Post Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:04 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
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Posts: 7453
Location: Stoughton, WI
Welcome, Ironside! CBG gave you good advice for caring for the enameled grates, especially the part about using a brass-bristled brush.

Griff, it's true (at least from I can tell) that the dry meat gives better grill marks so I've been getting away from oiling meats as well, although maybe I'll give it another try the next time I make some steaks.

Post Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:37 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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Posts: 5839
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Griffin wrote:
I used to oil my meat before I cooked it, but lately I've been experimenting with not oiling it and just oiling the grates. I do recall from somewhere that said to really sear your meat, you need to make sure it is dry, not wet. Of course, that was cooking in a pan, but I figured I would try it out on the grill for awhile to see what I thought.


Interstingly, that's also something Jamie Purviance mentioned - dry meat gets grill marks, wet meat steams instead. That's why most of the authors of grilling cookbooks advise you to pat the meat dry and then season it (and oil it sometimes as well).

But oil is different than water. I've found that the oil doesn't cause the food to steam - it actually "fries" it a bit and that makes better grill marks. But the fat on a well-marbled steak drips onto the grates as well, so that to me seems like oil wouldn't be needed for something like a good bone-in rib eye or a pork steak. Maybe a tiny bit of oil coating the meat would help the seasonings stick to it, but that would be all you'd need. So that's why I'm having a bit of difficulty with the "oil the meat, not the grill" idea.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:39 pm
Ironside raw
raw

Posts: 3
Location: Eastlake, Ohio
After reading your posts, I went ahead and ordered Steves Oil Tool;http://www.grilling4all.com/sm8131.html.
I want to make sure I take care of this grill, and keep it clean and well lubed. I just have one of Steve.s books. How To Grill. Will have to look into others later this year. Went and bought the grill today. Going to be deliered the end of the week. Thanks for all of the information guys. Looking forward to sharing information as i go along.

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