Grilling With Olive Oil: The Definitive Guide

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I’m a big fan of grilling, especially when hanging out with my friends. And one component I can’t grill without is extra virgin olive oil.

Since I’ve seen many people asking questions about whether olive oil is good for grilling or not, I decided to write you a thorough guide on grilling with olive oil. I’ll show you all the little tips and tricks I know and answer many FAQs.

As I already told you, I’m a big fan of grilling, but I prefer simple and easy methods, so everything in this guide will be as simple as possible, even for complete newbies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is ideal for grilling and adding Mediterranean flavors to food.
  • EVOO is used for marinating meat, fish, and vegetables and for oiling food post-cooking.
  • Avoid using olive oil for oiling grill grates; better-suited oils have higher smoking points.
  • Marinate meat and vegetables with two tablespoons of olive oil per 1kg; fish slightly differently.
  • Post-grilling olive oil enhances flavor, especially for vegetables and seafood.
  • One teaspoon of olive oil per bread slice improves grilled bread taste.

Can You Use Olive Oil For Grilling?

using olive oil for barbecue

Before we dive into actual tips and tricks, I want to answer the most common question people ask: can you use olive oil for grilling?

Yes, you can use olive oil for grilling. It’ll add Mediterranean flavors to the food that everyone will enjoy. The best way to use olive oil when grilling is for marinating meat, fish, and vegetables, and also to oil food when it’s cooked.

However, it’s important to always use high-quality extra virgin olive oil, that way, you’ll get the best taste. I recently bought this Iliada Extra Virgin First Cold-Pressed Olive Oil , and I can tell you that it has fantastic taste and is so delicious.

iliada extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressed,
Iliada Extra Virgin First Cold-Pressed Olive Oil

There’s only one thing I don’t like to use olive oil for, oiling the grates on the grill. Heating olive oil isn’t unhealthy, as some people think. There are other types of oil that have higher smoking points than extra virgin olive oil. Here’s a quick guide on oiling the grill grates. However, if you prefer grilling at medium temperatures, then you can use extra virgin olive oil for oiling the grill grates.

Grilling With Olive Oil: Tips and Tricks

grill grates full of meat and vegetables

Finally, let’s see how I like to use olive oil when grilling. It is important to mention that I only use high-quality extra virgin olive oils, so keep that in mind!

Also, even if you don’t like the taste of olive oil, it’s good to use it because of its health benefits. Here’s a quick guide on neutralizing the taste of olive oil.

When grilling, I mostly use extra virgin olive oil or even flavored olive oil for these things:

  • Marinating the food
  • Oiling the food after it’s cooked
  • Grilling the bread

Related: Best Garlic Infused Olive Oil

Marinating Food With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Adding extra virgin olive oil to your marinade is one of the best things you can do to add fantastic Mediterranean-like flavors to it.

I generally like to use two tablespoons of olive oil per 1kg (2.2lb) of meat or vegetables. When it comes to grilling fish, I do it a little bit differently (which I’ll show you below).

Marinating Meat With Olive Oil:

  • Olive oil is fantastic for marinating chicken breasts, drumsticks, turkey breasts, pork neck, pork chops, beef stakes, ramp steaks, veal stakes, and all other types of meat.
  • Not only will olive oil add some additional spices, but it will also help with heat transfer, meaning that the meat will cook more evenly.
  • When marinating the meat, I always add two tablespoons of olive oil per 1kg (2.2lb) of meat and other spices.
  • After I mix everything, I always let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours before grilling.

Marinating Vegetables With Olive Oil:

  • I prefer using olive oil to marinate paprika, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and potatoes. It’s just a fantastic addition that’ll give them an incredible taste.
  • When marinating vegetables, I usually add 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil per 1kg (2.2lb) of vegetables and then add the spices that I want. It mostly depends on the people I grill with, like olive oil or not.
  • I always marinate vegetables just a few minutes before grilling. Vegetables don’t need to rest in the refrigerator (at least, I don’t do that).

Marinating Fish With Olive Oil:

  • Olive oil is fantastic when grilling sea bream, bass, salmon, tuna steaks, trout, etc. However, marinating is a little bit different when I grill fish.
  • Before grilling, I just lightly brush the fish with olive oil and add some salt and black peppercorns.
  • While grilling, I put a few ounces of olive oil into a bowl and use a rosemary branch as a brush, and the whole time while the fish is grilling, I’m oiling it with olive oil.

Before we continue, I want to mention one product that I can’t live without, and it’s Vegeta . It originates from my country, Croatia, and the brand is Podravka. In my opinion, it’s the best seasoning mix in the world, especially when you’re in a rush and don’t have the time to add plenty of different spices to your food.

Podravka Vegeta Gourmet Seasoning And Soup Mix, 1 kg Bag
Amazon Prime

I prefer using Vegeta for grilling chicken breast, drumsticks, turkey breasts, pork neck, pork chops, and especially potatoes. If I’m not adding any other spices, I add 1.5% of Vegeta of the total weight of the meat (15 grams per 1kg of meat). I’m sure that once you try it, you’ll continue buying it for the rest of your life.

Oiling The Food After It’s Cooked

When I grill fish and vegetables, oiling them after they’re cooked is a must. I always add additional olive oil before serving them to my friends.

Oiling Vegetables: when they’re cooked, I just pour a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over them. That way, they’ll have fantastic taste. It’s especially important for grilled paprika, zucchini, and eggplant.

Oiling Sea Fish: if you don’t pour some olive oil on the sea fish after it’s grilled, it won’t be so delicious. I always add a bit of olive oil to cooked fish. Here’s how to do it: Mix olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley into one bowl, and when the fish is cooked, apply the mix to the fish. That way, you’ll get the best taste possible.

Grilling Bread With Olive Oil

I don’t know how many people use this method, but in my opinion, grilled bread is 10x better than fresh bread. Whenever I grill any kind of food, I always grill some bread. It’s crispy, delicious, and goes well with grilled food.

To make it even better, I always oil the bread with extra virgin olive oil. You don’t need to use a lot; one teaspoon of olive oil per slice of bread is more than enough. Then, you can add some salt and pepper, and you’re good to go.

Here’s a simple yet fantastic grilled bread recipe you can follow. I’ve tried it, and it tastes fantastic.

My family adores that, and I’m sure you’ll like it once you try it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to grill with olive oil?

Grilling with olive oil is completely safe. However, if you add too much olive oil, it can cause a few flames here and there.

Does olive oil burn on the grill?

If the grill temperature is too high, olive oil may reach its smoking point and start to burn. That’s why I don’t recommend oiling the grates with olive oil. Use olive oil for marinating and oiling the food on the grill.

Should I use olive oil for grilling chicken?

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most important ingredients I use when grilling chicken. So, go and use it for marinating the chicken a few hours before grilling.

Should I put olive oil on my steak before grilling?

Some people like to put olive oil on steaks before grilling, while others put olive oil on grilled steaks. Either way is good, it just depends on your preferences. Personally, I like to oil the grilled steak.

Can you use olive oil to marinate?

Olive oil can and should be used to marinate all kinds of food: fish, meat, and vegetables. I even put it on the bread and then grill it.

How long can chicken marinate in olive oil?

I suggest you marinate the chicken and all other types of meat for around 4-12 hours before grilling. However, anything up to 2 days should be fine if kept in the refrigerator.