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How to Season a Gas Grill: Secrets for Enhanced Flavor and Durability

If you’re new to grilling, you might hear the phrase “seasoning your grill” and immediately think of sprinkling paprika or garlic powder onto the grates.

While seasoning doesn’t actually involve seasonings, it can help improve the flavor of your grilled foods in the long run — plus many other benefits.

The seasoning in question here involves adding oil to your grill’s cooking surface and interior, just like you would season a cast iron skillet or grill pan.

In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about how to season a gas grill, from the supplies you’ll need to the steps you’ll want to take to create that coveted non-stick coating that will make your life a whole lot easier.

If you have followed any of our gas grill buying guides, you know we’re all about improving your shopping and grilling experience — and that applies to helping you preserve your new purchase too. This guide will walk you through the steps you need to take to protect your investment and get as much excellent grilling performance out of it as possible.

We’ll also cover the types of oils and fats you can use to season your grill, how to maintain your seasoning over time, and how to even use seasoning to bring an older grill back to life.

If you’re ready to discover the secrets of seasoning and the benefits it can bring to your grill, keep reading!

What Does It Mean to Season a Gas Grill?

As we mentioned, seasoning a gas grill has nothing to do with actual herbs and seasonings and everything to do with protecting your grill’s cooking grates and interior from rust and wear.

Seasoning is a process that consists of heating your grill, adding oil, and allowing it to absorb and cool back down, creating a protective coating that offers many benefits to your overall grilling experience.

To keep your grill in tip-top shape and easy to clean, it is recommended to heat and oil the grates after each use. This is similar to how you’d treat a new frying pan before its first use. This is especially important to do when you use a gas grill for the first time.

How to Season a Gas Grill

So how do you season a new gas grill? To season your grill, first, rinse the grill grates with water and let them dry.

Then using a basting brush, a new paintbrush, or even a paper towel, give your grates a good wipe with a heat-resistant oil like vegetable, peanut, or canola oil. You can also use a spray bottle filled with your oil for this step or even a can of Pam in a pinch.

In addition to the grates, you’ll also want to wipe your oil of choice on the inside of the grill lid, the inside of the pit, and the emitters if your grill has them. The concept here is to heat and seal the inside of the grill and its grates.

Next, you’ll turn on the gas and light the burners, cranking the heat up as high as possible. This will help the oil seep into the grates and essentially bake in, creating that coveted non-stick coating.

Let your grill go for 30-40 minutes. You’ll know you’re done when the inside of the grill and its grates have changed slightly in appearance — either discolored or darker for stainless steel and slick and black for cast iron. Once you see that, turn your grill off and let it cool completely.

Seasoning Grill Grates

Why Do You Need to Season a Gas Grill?

Safety First! | It Makes Cooking Easier | Easier Cleaning & Maintenance | It Adds Better Flavor | Longer Lasting Grills

So why do you need to go through the seasoning steps with your new gas grill instead of diving right into cooking?

Like cast iron pans, seasoning a grill is the best way to create the perfect cooking surface for outdoor food creations. Seasoning a grill before use does two things: it creates a nonstick surface that stops food from sticking to the grates and adds a protective layer that helps stop rust from forming.

Seasoning delivers several benefits and impacts everything from grill maintenance to your cooking experience.

Below I expand on the many reasons why you need to season a gas grill.

Safety First! Seasoning Gets Rid of Manufacturing Remnants

Your new grill could have dust, chemicals, oils, paint, and other contaminants left over on it from the manufacturing or shipping process.

In other words, not something you would want to be grilling on!

Seasoning will eliminate those impurities, burning them off and sterilizing your grill so it’s safe and healthy to cook on.

It Makes Cooking Easier

There are few things worse in the grilling world than food sticking to your grates.

Seasoning helps prevent that by making the grates slicker and creating a natural non-stick coating that helps food flip right off.

Backyard chefs looking to use cast-iron grill grates will be amazed at how much easier cooking becomes when they are properly seasoned.

Easier Cleaning & Maintenance

When food doesn’t stick to your grill as often, you won’t have burned-on food to scrape off when cleaning!

During cooking or grilling, food may get charred and stick to the grill, making it hard to clean off. But with a properly seasoned grill, fewer food bits will cling to it, making the cleaning process simpler. Surfaces that are non-stick always make cleaning up quick and easy.

The protective coating created by seasoning also helps repel moisture and prevent rust, so you won’t have as much maintenance to worry about.

It Adds Better Flavor

You know that cast iron skillet that’s been in your family for generations, and you swear makes everything taste better? The same goes for a well-seasoned grill!

Over time, the fat and juices from your food will slide off the seasoned grates and get vaporized, coating the inside of the grill and baking into your grill just like the oil did the first time you seasoned it.

Every time you light your grill, that flavor will continue to bake in and lend that signature grilled taste to your food.

It Makes for a Longer Lasting Grill

A regularly seasoned grill will last longer than one that isn’t seasoned. That’s because rust can eat away at your grill, causing it to deteriorate faster.

But when you take the time and care to season your grill, the coating you create will help ward off moister, rust, and peeling for years of fantastic grilling.

What Is the Best Oil to Season a Grill With?

To season your grill, you’ll need an oil that has a high smoking point and can resist the heat of the grill.

These are some of your best options:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Almond oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Saffron oil
  • Refined olive oil

The reliable go-to’s are vegetable, canola, and peanut oil.

Here is a handy Cooking Oil Smoke Point Chart:

Smoke Points of Different Oils & Best Use

Refined avocado oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
520F
Best Used For
Deep-frying, searing, stir-frying
Refined or light olive oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
465F
Best Used For
Grilling, sautéing, stir-frying
Refined peanut oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
450F
Best Used For
Deep-frying, stir-frying
Ghee or clarified butter
Smoke Point (degrees F)
450F
Best Used For
Sautéing, stir-frying
Corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
450F
Best Used For
Sautéing, searing
Refined coconut oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
450F
Best Used For
Sautéing, stir-frying
Refined sesame oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
410F
Best Used For
Stir-frying
Canola oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
400F
Best Used For
Baking, grilling, sautéing
Grapeseed oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
400F
Best Used For
Sautéing, stir-frying
Extra virgin olive oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
375-400F
Best Used For
Baking, salad dressing, sautéing
Duck fat, chicken fat, lard
Smoke Point (degrees F)
375F
Best Used For
Baking, frying, sautéing
Vegetable oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
400F
Best Used For
Baking, deep frying, roasting, searing
Unrefined virgin avocado oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
375F
Best Used For
Roasting, searing, sautéing
Unrefined virgin coconut oil, unrefined sesame oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
350F
Best Used For
Sautéing
Unrefined walnut oil, unrefined peanut oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
320F
Best Used For
Drizzle for salads and vegetables
Walnut oil
Smoke Point (degrees F)
300-350F
Best Used For
Drizzle for salads and vegetables
Butter
Smoke Point (degrees F)
300F
Best Used For
Baking, searing

Maintaining Your Gas Grill – How Often Should You Season It?

Aside from the first time when your grill is new, you should aim to season your grill every few months. This should be long enough to prevent rust from forming and keep that non-stick coating intact.

If you see food start to stick or rust appearing on the grates, you should season your grill as soon as possible.

Can I Season an Older Gas Grill?

Yes, you should absolutely season an older gas grill to help prolong its life and restore its function. You’ll just need to take a little extra care and a few extra steps when seasoning.

First, scrub any buildup from the grates, inside the grill lid, and the inside of the pit with a scrub brush and a specialized grill cleaner or soapy water.

Next, light your grill without any oil on the grates and let it burn on high heat for 20 minutes. This will further loosen up any remaining debris or buildup so you can scrub it off with your brush again once it’s cooled a little.

Once you have all of the buildup off of the grates, then you can proceed with seasoning as usual and enjoy your grill for many more years to come!

Tips for Adding Flavor While Seasoning a Gas Grill

You can also take the opportunity to add a bit of flavor during the seasoning process with things like lard, bacon grease, a piece of bacon, or a chunk of fat from your meat.  Just be careful to only use these if you grill frequently or plan on re-seasoning soon as they can actually go rancid over time.

Other options for infusing flavor without worrying about the oil going rancid include a mesquite wood chip dipped in oil or an onion slice dipped in oil.

Things You’ll Need to Season a Gas Grill

To season your grill properly, you’ll need the following items:

  • A grill brush
  • Water
  • A high heat-resistant oil
  • Grill gloves
  • Paper towels or a clean cloth

You can also choose between a basting brush, a clean (aka unused — you don’t want paint in your food) paintbrush, or an oil spray bottle for actually applying the oil to your grill.

Why Regular Maintenance Is Important

You shouldn’t have to completely re-season your grill after each use. But there are a few things you can do to help maintain your seasoning and extend the life of your grill between full seasonings.

After each grill session, use a grill brush to wipe away any drippings when the grill is still warm. For those of you that are interested, here is an in-depth guide on How to Clean Grill Grates. Then you can take a pair of tongs and a paper towel to rub the cleaned grates with a layer of your heat-resistant oil to build up the seasoning.

Just close the lid to let the grill cool, and then you’ll be greeted by a clean and well-seasoned grill next time.

Gas Grill Seasoning FAQ

If you still have questions, we have answers.

Below you’ll get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to seasoning a gas grill.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, leave your question in the comments below or send me an email and I will get back to you.

Who knows, I might even add your question to this guide.

For a more in-depth frequently asked question guide, you check out this article: The Ultimate Gas Grill FAQ

Can I Use Any Type of Oil to Season My Gas Grill?

While you can technically use any type of oil, it’s best to use oils with a high smoke point like canola or vegetable oil. A “smoke point” is the temperature at which an oil begins to produce smoke and can start to degrade and produce unwanted flavors.

These oils can withstand the high heat of the grill without breaking down.

How Do I Know if My Grill Is Properly Seasoned?

A properly seasoned grill will have grates that appear glossy and dark, almost like they’ve been varnished. This is the result of the oil polymerizing, or forming a hard, plastic-like layer on the grates due to the high heat. Food should easily slide off without sticking.

What Should I Do if Food Is Still Sticking to the Grill After Seasoning?

If food is still sticking to the grill after seasoning, it could mean that the seasoning layer wasn’t thick enough, or the grill didn’t get hot enough during the seasoning process. Try re-seasoning with a bit more oil and ensure the grill reaches a high heat.

How Does Seasoning Prevent Rust on My Gas Grill?

Seasoning prevents rust on your gas grill by creating a protective barrier between the grates and the elements, which can cause oxidation. Rust is a common problem for grills, especially those exposed to the elements. Over time, this can cause significant damage and reduce the lifespan of your grill.

What Temperature Should I Reach When Seasoning My Gas Grill?

The exact temperature for seasoning a gas grill isn’t set in stone, but it’s generally agreed that a high heat is necessary to properly season the grates. The grill should be hot enough for the oil to smoke and create a protective layer on the grates.

Final Thoughts on Our How to Season a Gas Grill Guide

Like a cast iron skillet that’s been passed down for generations, seasoning your grill will help infuse it with flavor and non-stick properties that enhance just about every facet of your grilling experience.

Long story short, if you feel like skipping the seasoning process and jumping right into grilling — don’t. Seasoning helps protect the grates from rust, burns off any impurities left over from manufacturing, makes cooking and cleanup easier, and helps add to that signature grilled taste we’re all looking for from our food.

It’s a few extra steps, sure, but a bit of preventative maintenance goes a long way in protecting your grill investment. If you take the time to season your gas grill now, you’ll enjoy enhanced durability and flavor (not to mention shorter cleanup times) for years to come.

Have a question about seasoning gas grills? Let us know in the comments!

Cheers,

Pat G.

Next Steps:

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DisclosureAt The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.

Patrick Ginise

A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!

I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!

I have personally tested over 150+ Grills and Smokers and hundreds of grilling thermometers, temperature controllers, grill brushes, grilling tools, fire starters, and other BBQ products.