This Hack Will Stop Meat From Sticking to Your Grill

Plus, tips for naturally cleaning grill grates and checking propane tank levels!

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and flowers are blooming—summer is nearly upon us! This means that we’re edging into one of the best times of the year: barbecue season. It’s time to stock the cooler and fire up the grill. But do you know how to properly prepare that grill before your guests arrive?

In her recent TikTok, everyone’s favorite grandmother Babs (@brunchwithbabs) showed outdoor cooks everywhere how to clean their grill and make it nonstick. Her hack requires no extra tools or equipment, just two basic vegetables: onions and potatoes. Here’s how you can use these veggies to prep your grill, as well as one more bonus grilling tip for the summertime.

Why Should I Rub an Onion on the Grill?

In Babs’ video on the dos and don’ts of grilling, she asserts that one should never start grilling season with a dirty grill. Additionally, “don’t use a wire brush,” she says.

Fortunately, there are numerous alternative methods to clean a grill, including Babs’ favorite. “Do use an onion,” she explains. “Just heat your grill, then take your onion and scrub away. Instead of eating loose metal bristles, an onion will add a little flavor to your food.” To use the onion hack, start by peeling an onion and cutting off one end to create a flat surface. Then, stick a fork into the onion so that you can hold it and rub the flat-surfaced side onto the grill.

@brunchwithbabs Grilling Do’s and Don’ts 🍔Don’t use an old wire grill brush to clean your grill. 🍔Do use an onion. Heat your grill to a high temperature. Pierce the onion half with a fork and rub the cut-side down along the grill grates. The onion’s juices will release and produce steam to remove the charred bit of debris on the grill grates. 🍔Don’t allow your food to stick to the grill and ruin your dinner. 🍔Do use a half of a potato to create a non-stick surface. Just cut a potato in half and rub the flesh of the potato on the hot grill grates. The starch from the potato creates a non-stick surface so your precious dinner won’t stick! 🍔Don’t let your barbeque be ruined by running out of propane. 🍔Do use my simple propane level check hack to make sure you have enough propane. To check the level of gas in your propane tank, pour a cup of hot water down the side of the propane tank. Now run your hand down the side of the tank. Where the tank goes from feeling hot to cool indicates your propane level. Hot equals empty and cool means it is filled with propane. 🍔 Happy Grilling! XO Babs #grillingseason #grillingtips #grillingtips ♬ original sound – everyone’s grandmother

Does Rubbing a Potato on the Grill Prevent Sticking?

Yes! And here’s why—the starch in the potato makes the grill grates non-stick.

Once Babs cleans the grill, she explains her second grilling don’t: “Don’t let food stick to your grill. It could really ruin your meal.” As an alternative, she suggests: “Do use a potato. Right before grilling, just rub those hot grates with the cut end of a potato. The starch in the potato creates a non-stick surface. Who would’ve thought? The potato saves the meal!”

To try this hack for yourself, simply cut off one side of the potato to create a flat surface, then stick a fork into it, as with the onion.

How Else Should I Prepare my Grill Before Cooking?

Finally, if you have a gas grill, Babs recommends checking your propane levels before you start cooking. To do this, she pours a few cups of hot water onto the side of the metal propane tank. The metal heats up with the water, except for when it is in contact with the propane. Therefore, Babs presses her hand against the side of the tank, moving it downward until she no longer feels the warmth. This reveals the level of propane left.

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Van Van Cleave
Van Van Cleave (they/them) is a writer and artist working out of Oakland, CA. The youngest in a long line of DIYers and creatives, Van fancies themself an encyclopedia of practicable knowledge for better living. They are passionate about all things food, home, garden, and lifestyle. If you've ever dreamed of befriending the Fab Five, Van gets you, and may just be the next best thing.