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Thursday, September 21, 2023

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How to Prevent Food from Sticking to Gas Grill Surfaces

When it comes to barbecuing, there are few things that people hate more than food sticking to the grill grates. If you’re grilling something delicate like fish or softer vegetables, simply attempting to flip the food when it’s stuck can cause it to tear and make a mess. It can even ruin the presentation of a perfect meal.

Thankfully, there are several different tips that you can use to prevent your meat and vegetables from sticking to the grates. Many of these tips are best done with a gas grill – primarily due to how easy it is to use one – but charcoal grills can use them as well. 

We’ve put together this article to show you a few great ways how to stop your food from sticking to grill surfaces. If you’re looking to replace an old grill or want to get a new gas barbecue, you can click here to check out this catalogue of grills and accessories.

What causes food to stick to grates?

When it comes to why you find that your food sticks to your grates, three main factors typically come into play. The first is that your grates are dirty. The food you put onto the grates can form a chemical bond with the metal of the grates. When you skip cleaning them before a grilling session, the charred and stuck-on bits of food can stick to the new food, causing the food to tear when flipping it.

If your grates are clean but your food keeps sticking, the next most likely cause is that your grill isn’t hot enough. In order to properly prevent the chemical bond your food has with the grate, the food needs to denature and firm up before it forms. The only thing that can allow this denaturing to happen is a high enough heat to properly sear the food wherever it comes into contact with the metal grates. If your food sticks to an otherwise clean grate, try increasing the heat.

However, there are still some cases where the meat and veggies still stick to your gas barbecue’s grate, even though the grate’s clean and the heat’s high. If that’s the case, the solution is simple; there’s not enough oil on the grate or the food. A proper amount of oil on either surface acts as a non-stick barrier between them, preventing any sticking from happening. This also allows you to move your meat and veggies around while allowing them to cook well.

Preventing chicken from sticking to grates

After taking into consideration why food sticks to the grates and other grill surfaces, grilling meat and veggies can be quite easy. However, some meat like chicken can be quite prone to sticking to the grill, especially when you barbecue certain cuts of it. There is one incredibly easy way to grill the chicken without having it stick, regardless of how you prepare it.

Many people suggest keeping the chicken’s skin on when you prepare it since the skin can also act as a barrier. However, this method works both with and without the skin, leaving it up to you whether you want to keep the skin on when preparing it. While you’re doing your seasoning and marinating, remember where the skin is usually – especially if you remove it.

When you go to grill the meat, use oil and place the chicken with the skin side down. Even if you’ve removed the chicken’s skin, that side is much smoother than the others. This makes it so that the grate has less rough contact with the meat and prevents sticking. If it does stick though, simply wait another minute or so before trying again.

Keep fish from sticking

Grilling fish works much the same way as grilling chicken does, though it’s highly recommended that you keep the skin on when grilling. Due to how the fish is, it needs a high amount of heat and a bit more oil than when you grill other types of meat.

When you start to grill after seasoning the fish, oil both the grate and both sides of the fish to help prevent any sticking. Place the fish with the skin down and let it cook for two to four minutes. When the fish is ready to flip, the edges of the skin should pull away by itself. However, you can try flipping or moving it earlier. If it doesn’t release after roughly four minutes, wait for another 30 seconds before trying again.

Tips to reduce food sticking to grill surfaces

Besides just using higher heat and a proper amount of oil to reduce the chance of the food sticking to the grate, you can also try a few other hacks to stop the food from sticking. Many barbecue lovers also recommend using raw potatoes to stop food from sticking. The starch from the potato’s juices acts as a barrier and prevents the chicken or fish from binding to the grate. 

You can also try using cooking spray instead of oil to add a non-stick layer. However, to prevent fire hazards, it’s important to use the spray before you start the grill. Much like cooking on a pan, the spray will act like oil to prevent your food from sticking to the grate.

Finally, you can always give your meat and veggies a quick fry or boil to prevent sticking. Hotdogs are one of the many foods that are best grilled if you boil them for a few minutes before barbecuing. Much like how burgers won’t stick if you flip it again, giving your food a quick pre-cook allows the proteins to denature first before you start to grill. 


Preventing your food from sticking can be incredibly easy with just these tricks. Always clean after each barbeque session and use a sufficient amount of oil and heat when grilling. If you still find that your food sticks to the grate even after doing these tips, you can also try seasoning the grates before grilling to turn your grill’s grates non-stick.

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