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BBQ grill grate sticking issue

  • m

Maybe everyone has this issue, but it seems that no matter what type of grate I have, SS, CI, or ECI the food seems to stick. I've read that the food will tell you when it's ready to be turned and release, but that doesn't always seem to work either, nor is it always when I want to turn the food. My new grill has SS grates that are about 3/8" diameter, so they are really heavy duity. They leave good sear marks, but there always seems to be some sticking. I've tried a little veg. oil before I start it up but it seems to burn off during preheating. It's too hot right before I put the food on to oil it, or at least I haven't figured out a good mtheod yet. Anyone have a method they use that works? Thanks,

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  1. My first thought is that you need to find a way to oil the grates only after they are really fully hot. Usual method for some folks is to take a bowl with oil, then use tongs to get oil all over a paper towel and then swab the hot grate with the oily paper. Stainless steel that thick will need a serious pre-heat, preferably 10 minutes with the lid closed. For my own part, I just swab with the paper in my hands, but I have asbestos hands, apparently.

    Next thought is that you don't say anything about the foods you cook. Some things, like lean chicken breast, pose greater challenges than fatty things like burgers or steak.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bada Bing

      Let's talk food, you hit it, chicken breast, pork chop, salmon, kabob with steak, but it's lean and trimed, all foods that are lean. Even the ground beef is lean for the most part but doesn't stick as bad. I haven't cooked a steak on the new grill yet. I do usually go for at least 10 min preheat. I'll give a soaked paper towl a try.

      Never thought I'd say it, but the new grill (KitchenAid but not the ones sold at Lowe's) is in many ways, as good as or better than my Weber Gen. BUT it was 15 years old and just not working like it used to. I seem to have much better heat control (control of the flame) with the new grill. Very sturdy all 304 stainless, lots of bells and whistels.

      1. re: mikie

        I find that lean meats like chicken marinated in an oil-based marinade tend not to stick, and those marinades add great flavor. You just have to watch the flame-up aspect and--where there's sugar involved--the increased scorching factor. I find that flames in my Weber grills are never a big problem so long as I grill with the lid down mostly....

    2. Dear Mikie - the food won't tell you smack - it doesn't talk or at least it doesn't anymore by the time it hits your grill - use a special high-temp grill spray - Pam makes one. Works a charm. Don't usually need to spray b/w flips.

      1. Once my grates get scorching hot I turn the flame off or down (to prevent flare ups) and begin oiling. Oil in a little dish with a paper towel rolled into a tube and tied with twine. This is swabed over the grates and then left for a moment or two then repeated 2-3 times more until the oil is polymerized. The meat should also be oiled. At this point you shouldn't have a sticking problem. You could also use a grill spray.

        1. I spray the grates and the meat with canola oil right before I put it on the grill. It its a marinated item we usually wipe the marinade off and spray before it goes on the grill.

          1. Don't ever spray your grill or oil it. Oil the food! Spray or brush on a little olive oil on both sides before putting on the grill. Trust me. This works and won't discolor your grill like PAM (yuck, did you ever read the ingredient list?).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chris B.

              I have read the ingredients list. It's pretty much oil.

            2. Yesterday I grilled pork chops, they were marinated and had some oil in the marinade. I tried a little oil on a paper towl, but I don't think I had enough oil on it. The directions called for 1 min on high, flip, 1 more min on high, flip and rotate and 3-4 min on medium then flip and rotate and 4-5 min on medium low to low. Both sides stuck some on the 1 min cycles, not bad, but enough to loose a little pork to the grill. Perhaps a little olive oil on the chops jsut before grilling would have made a difference or a little more oil on the grates. Thanks to all for the suggestions, I'm going to give them a try next grill night. Tonight was just hot dogs, it was the wife's turn to cook.

              11 Replies
              1. re: mikie

                Some marinades(esp BBQ sauce) contain sugar,causing the meat to stick to the grilling surface.The hotter the grill the better plus a little oil just before grilling is a good idea.Try not to move the meat to soon,it will lift off(naturally)when it's ready.That's one of the biggest mistakes people make when grilling or searing.

                1. re: petek

                  IMPORTANT: Make sure to let your food come to room temperature (or close to it) before putting on a hot, hot grill.

                  1. re: petek

                    "Try not to move the meat to soon,it will lift off(naturally)when it's ready."

                    That's what I was talking about with "tell you when it's ready to be turned". It's just sometimes the meat and the directions don't agree. But I have to agree with you, that is one of the biggest mistakes I tend to make when grilling. I also have to agree, that when I rub a pork shoulder for smoking, there's enough sugar that I don't expect it to release. This particular marinade was lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. Obviously just not enough oil. The chops were great, I'm just trying to improve my technique with the new grill and I knew there would be good advice and helpfull hints here.

                    1. re: mikie

                      mmmmm those chops sound delish.Visions of the Greek islands dance in my head.

                      Too much oil on the food will cause flare ups,better to use more on the grills.Nothing wrong with Pam either.

                      1. re: petek

                        Pam, For Grilling Cooking Spray:

                        INGREDIENTS: Liquid Palm Oil, Phosphated Mono And Diglycerides, Dimethylpolysiloxane and Propellant.

                        No thank you.

                          1. re: petek

                            I won't use it either, but for a different reason, I'm too friggin cheap to buy "Pam". I've also found now that I use charcoal and a different style of bbqing nothing sticks with no oil on anything. On amazingribs.com he showed 2 methods for doing steaks. Traditional "sear" on high heat, then move off to the side to finish on indirect heat or do the indirect heat first (till it's done to your preference) then flash it over the high heat to get the crust. I've been doing it the second way ever since with everything burgers,chicken,steak,sausage and it just doesn't stick . Oh and the charcoal is soooo much better, I also found hickory and mesquite wood in fist sized chunks at home sense for 7$ for 5lbs what a difference a couple of these make.

                          2. re: Chris B.

                            I love it when people start talking dirty. For the non chemist it would be helpfull to know either what these things are or what their danger is.

                            Liquid Palm Oil, well that more or less says it all, doesn't it. No more harmfull in PAM than in the plastic jar.

                            Dimethylpolysiloxane, a liquid defoaming agent, TOXIC, use in foods limited to 10 ppm, definately not good stuff. I hope none of the PFOA haters are using this instead.

                            Phosphated mono and diclycerides, essentially as best as I can tell, emulsifying agent for margarine, shortening, and other food products, probably not anymore of a health hazzard than using the stuff out of a tub.

                            Propellant, hopefully gone by the time it hits the grill, probably not a CFC at this point.

                            And people worry about butter?

                            1. re: mikie

                              But Pam is so convenient...what's a couple years off your life? :D

                        1. re: mikie

                          I don't think one min is enough even with a lot of oil.

                          I do the oil-on-a-paper-towel applied with tongs just before putting the food on, or I oil the food directly. I guess I tend to oil solid meats/vegetables but for burgers I oil the grates.

                          I have found that whle the food does "tell you" when it's ready to be turned, sometimes you have to interrogate it a little bit, gently tugging to release it and waiting a little bit if it does not respond. Depending on what I'm cooking (for instance flipping a pork chop after one minute) I find it works better to use a spatula since I can get under the meat and pull it off the grid.