WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SEASON A GRILL?
Before we dive into the nitty gritty, what does it actually mean to season a grill? And before you ask, no, it doesn't mean sprinkling your favorite herbs and spices onto the grates.
'Seasoning, also known as ‘curing’, is usually done by heating the metal grates, adding oil, then allowing it to cool and absorb, 'Doing so will protect your grill from rust and extend its life.'
The process of heating and oiling the grates will keep your barbecue operating at its best while also making it easier to clean your grill after cooking. It's recommended that you find time to do this after every use but, just as you'd season a brand-new frying pan before cooking, it's especially important to season a gas grill the first time you use it.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO SEASON A GRILL BEFORE YOU USE IT FOR THE FIRST TIME?
If you haven't used your brand new grill before, neither has anyone else. This means the grates won't have been oiled, heated, or have cooked any food until now. Seasoning a grillfor the first time, therefore, is a bit like training it in preparation for its first meal.
'In some cases, cast iron and carbon steel cooking grates will be very vulnerable to rust if heated and cooled down multiple times,' explains Dan. 'Seasoning an uncoated cooking grate will lock in protective oils that will help extend the cooking grates life and help it to work better.'
Besides making your grates last longer, seasoning is also essential for that smoky outdoor barbecue flavor we all crave. 'It's important to season a grill before using it for the first time not only because it helps protect the grill grates from rust, but it also improves the flavor of the food, Seasoned grates will also help you achieve those perfect grill marks, too.
HOW TO SEASON A GRILL FOR THE FIRST TIME
1. PLACE YOUR CLEAN GRATE ON THE BARBECUE OVER A MEDIUM HEAT
Even if they're brand-new, it's always a good idea to give your grates a quick clean in the kitchen to remove any dust or debris that's collected from being sat in storage. If you're seasoning a grill you've used before, you'll need to clean the grates with a wire brush. Once clean, place your grates on the grill and turn it up to a medium heat.
2. WHEN HOT, APPLY A SMALL AMOUNT OF OIL
After ten minutes (or once the grill is sufficiently hot) apply a small amount of oil - just enough to cover the entire surface. 'Use your brush to spread the oil over the grates, making sure you apply a thin, even layer,' says Dan. High-smoke point oils such as canola and peanut oil work best, but coconut oil or standard vegetable oil will work just as well. Turn the grill to high heat for around 15 minutes to allow the oil to cure. Make sure you wear protective gloves for this step.
3. LET THE GRATES COOL
When the oil reaches its smoking point (around 15 minutes) turn off the barbecue and let the cooking grates cool. You might want to repeat the oiling process again for a brand-new grill.
4. WIPE AWAY EXCESS OIL
Finally, once your grates are cool, wipe away any excess oil from the surface using a cloth or rag. You are now ready to start grilling.
Now you've seasoned your gas grill for the first time, the alfresco dining can officially commence. Those long evenings cooking feasts for friends in your outdoor kitchen are just around the corner... At last!