Can You Use Parchment Paper On The Grill



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Tired of grilled potato sticking to the insides of an aluminum foil? It’s a pity to have crusty exteriors attach to grill grates or wraps. At a recent in-house grill party, a friend was surprised to see me use parchment paper on the grill. I am sure there are many like him who may think it’s weird to do so.

So, can you use parchment paper on the grill? Yes, you can, but there’s a catch. You cannot use it the same way as you do while baking a cake in the oven. The right position of the parchment paper is very important so you must ensure that it is always away from the fire or else it will burn.

The careful and planned use of this aluminum foil substitute helps me create a non-stick surface and safer for grilling potato and vegetables on the grates. It also useful at reducing the excess browning of grilled food at the bottom.

Grills are known to produce a lot of direct heat in order to cook the food so you need to be careful when using a parchment paper. With proper planning and care, it can sustain heat up to 450 degrees but you must keep it away from the burner when using a gas grill.

When using a round-shaped charcoal grill, you will need to make some preparations in advance. First, burn the charcoal to achieve the desired level of temperature. Make sure you use only as much charcoal needed to produce the right amount of heat.

When the temperature is reached, put the burning charcoals to one side of the grill and layer the parchment paper on the side that does not have hot charcoal. This can help you save the paper from burning and safely cook the food on it.

Other Side Of The Story

There are many people who will give you a plain ‘No’ to whether or not you can use a parchment paper on the grill. This leads to a different side of the story. Their argument is based on the fact that parchment paper is made of silicon-coated paper.

The coating is capable of sustaining a maximum temperature of 450°F or 230°C. Hence, they believe it is unsuitable for grilling that typically uses very high temperatures for cooking food. So, they prefer to stick to aluminum foil or using an excess of oil on the grill grates to prevent sticking.

While they are not wrong in their side of the story, a creative and seasoned barbeque enthusiast knows the benefits of using parchment paper. It all lies in the right way of using them as mentioned above. If you are a beginner struggling to get a hang of the grilling basics, I would rather tell you to not use parchment papers for now.

For those who have experience in grilling and want to give aluminum foils a miss to save their food from sticking on to them, read on. Here are the steps to help you use parchment paper on your grill.

7 Tips To Use Parchment Paper on Grill

If you must use the parchment paper for grilling then here are some of my tried and tested tips to help you. However, bear in mind that things may change slightly depending on the size of the grill, quantity of food, and so on.

  • You may use it in a similar way as you put in an oven. Make a nice little wrapping package with the paper and put potatoes, vegetables, or other delicate ingredients in it. Keep the package away from direct fire.
  • Remember to close the grill lid in order to ensure that the ingredients are properly cooked. When done, the paper will turn brown from outside indicating that the food is grilled to perfection.
  • The parchment paper helps in providing a pretty similar effect as the oven when using the grill. When you use the parchment paper to cover the ingredients, this will speed up the cooking process and also make it easier.
  • You need to use common sense when grilling with a parchment paper because after all, it’s a paper and can take heat only as much. It cannot help you cook food that takes a lot of time.
  • So, while potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and veggies are a good fit, you may still need to use aluminum foil when grilling a chunk of meat for better heat transfer.  As meat takes significantly longer to cook, using a parchment paper will turn it into black charcoal and impact the flavor.
  • As mentioned above, a parchment paper can sustain a maximum temperature of 450°F, and anything above this causes it to burn. So, we suggest that you keep the cooking temperature of less than 350°F to avoid burnouts.
  • As a general rule, the paper will fare well when you do any long, time-taking grilling or smoking at low flame, without letting the temperature go off the limits.

Other Options To Save Food From Sticking

If you prefer not to use a parchment paper fearing that you may not be able to control the heat from burning the paper then it’s perfectly alright. You still have a lot of other options to save your food from sticking on the grills.

Apply oil

When you don’t want to risk flare-ups due to using parchment paper wrongly, we suggest that you stick to applying a thin coat of oil. Take a small brush and coat the meat with some vegetable oil or olive oil prior to putting them on the hot grill.

You may also use a cooking oil spray to lightly spray on the grill grates to season them before putting marinated meat. However, be very careful when using oil spray and never use directly on the flame, or else it will result in flare-ups.

Spray cooking oil on the grates before you ignite the fire. You must also use a generous amount of salt on vegetables and meat to lock-in the juices.

Aluminum Foil

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned barbeque user, you have probably seen or used aluminum foil for grilling meat and vegetables. It comes in a wide range of standard and heavy-duty varieties. It has the ability to sustain high temperatures, also conduct and distribute the heat without getting too hot.

The foil can be used when you are roasting in the oven or grilling at a temperature higher than 420 degrees. Wrapping meat in aluminum foil helps in catching the debris that otherwise falls on the flame through the cracks and causes flare-ups.

Wrapping firm vegetables like a potato in aluminum foil before putting them on hot grill keeps the food tender. It also works great when roasting delicate meat like fish, chicken, or turkey. Some people also use them to wrap leftovers before keeping them inside the fridge.

There are some people who use aluminum foil only for resting the grilled meat after cooking. This helps in locking the juices and allowing the meat to slowly cool down.

5 Reasons To Use Parchment Paper

1. They are non-stick

All types of parchment paper you get from the market are non-stick in nature. However, not all aluminum foils are non stick, except the ones that come with a special coating for sticky and starchy baked foods. The regular and heavy-duty aluminum foils are not non-stick but they can be seasoned with cooking oil if needed.

2. They provide insulation

When you wrap up meat, fish, or poultry in parchment paper before putting in the oven or grill, it creates a type of steam pocket that cooks meat slowly and gently. This results in a tender and moist texture of meat, which also rules out overcooking.

3. They let your food breathe

Aluminum foil and plastic wraps tend to seal out the air, preventing your food from breathing. So, your food runs the risk of turning soggy. However, the parchment paper still lets your food breathe when wrapped. This pocket of ventilation allows food to stay crisper and crustier on the top.

4. They make cleaning easier

Do you hate cleaning up after grilling? Wrapping up the food in parchment paper can save you a lot of time and effort spent in removing the stuck food from the grill grates. This also saves the burners from getting clogged up due to sauce and marinades dripping on them. Just throw away the parchment paper and rinse the grates and grill pan for quick cleaning.

5. They are safer

If we consider health grounds, using parchment paper is a safer and healthier option than the aluminum foil. Recent studies and researches published in the International Journal of Electrochemical Sciences indicate that overuse of aluminum foil while cooking at high temperature may risk aluminum leaching into food.

Taking high levels of aluminum leached into food is linked to various neurological and nervous system problems. Hence, while some amount of aluminum in food is inevitable, you may want to reduce its use when grilling.    

Do I need to oil the parchment paper

Oiling or not oiling the parchment paper may vary depending on the recipe for baking cookies or cake in the oven. However, when using them for grilling your food, you don’t need to grease them up.

Can I use wax paper for grilling

This type of paper is called so because it features a thin coating of wax on either side to prevent food from sticking. However, they are not heat resistant hence you should never put them in a grill or oven. Basically, wax paper is capable of all things that parchment paper can do, expect to sustain heat.

See Also: Can You Use Pots On The Grill?

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