While cleaning your grill is an important way to preserve your griddle before and after use, it is equally important to prepare your space for cooking by seasoning. But what does this process involve? These are five tips that the professionals are following this season. 

How to season a griddle grill for the first time – according to the experts

Before knowing how to season a griddle grill for the first time, you will need to brush up on how to clean grill grates, as this is the first step in the seasoning process. Here’s what you need to know. 

1. Clean your griddle grill

Expert Shawn Hill (opens in new tab) has spent over 2.5 decades behind the grill, but every seasoning process starts the same way – with a clean. Shawn recommends using a washcloth, warm water, and soap to remove dust and pieces of styrofoam that stick to the surface of the griddle.  ‘I like to start the seasoning process with a nice dry surface. So grab another washcloth or paper towel and wipe it down, so it’s dry,’ he says.

2. Season with heat 

Once the griddle has dried, Shawn suggests turning on the heat to its highest setting.  ‘After a few minutes, you’ll notice that it is starting to turn colors – this is a good thing,’ he says. ‘As it turns brown, it’ll start getting darker and darker.’ The expert suggests keeping the heat on high for around 15 minutes. At this time, most of the griddle will be the same dark brown color, but likely not the whole griddle. 

3. Apply vegetable oil to your griddle 

While it is tempting to use a lot of oil in this step, Shawn warns against making the layer too thick. ‘If you go too thick, you’ll end up creating areas that will flake off later and make using your new flat top grill a lot harder,’ he says.  Instead, you should use a paper towel with just enough oil to apply a thin coat over the entire cooking surface. This includes the side, as the food will touch these areas too.  After oiling, you should turn your burners back to high ‘After about 20 minutes; you’ll notice the griddle is smoking and the surface is turning black. This is exactly what you want. You’ll continue to let it smoke until it has completely stopped smoking,’ he says. 

4. Repeat the oiling process 

Shawn recommends repeating the oiling and heating process again (or maybe a few more times, depending on your satisfaction).  ‘You’ll be even more tempted to do a thicker layer of oil now that you have to repeat it, but if you do it right, it’ll last significantly longer,’ he says. However, it is important to remember to let the griddle cool down before applying additional layers of oil. ‘This is definitely a process, but it’ll be worth it,’ Shawn adds.

5. Prepare for cooking 

Whether you’re planning on cooking on your grill for the first time – or you’re planning on storing your griddle until you’re ready to cook – Shawn suggests applying a final coat of oil to the surface. This will help against rusting if storing and help against sticking if you’re cooking. Because that all-important taste comes down to more than investing in one of the best grills – it comes down to the prep too.  Now you know how to season a griddle grill for the first time; the only thing left to do is experiment with your BBQ favorites.