How To Use Parchment Paper On The Grill? The Ultimate Guide

Jim Bob

Jim Bob

A long-time contributor to GrillBabyGrill. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.

chicken in parchment

One of our favorite kitchen tools is parchment paper. It is a handy accessory when you are baking, or roasting foods. Not only does it keep foods from sticking to pans, but it can also be used to steam delicate items like veggies or fish, in your oven without making a mess. And, frankly, parchment paper is really handy if you just don’t want to have to wash a ton of dishes.

As much as we love parchment paper in the kitchen, we are often asked if parchment paper can be used on the grill. It makes sense right? When you’re running your grill burners and the lid is down, your grill functions very similarly to an oven. 

The basic answer to this question is “yes”, you can use parchment paper in your grill. However there is a lot more that you need to know, before you start throwing parchment paper into your grill.

1. Safety First

safety parchment

We know, it seems silly to mention this, but it never hurts to state the obvious. While parchment paper can be used in fairly hot conditions, it is not fire resistant. That paper thing, really does make a difference in how you use parchment paper on the grill. Parchment paper is first and foremost, paper. And paper is flammable.

Never use parchment paper directly over the flames of your grill. First of all, it’s not safe. Parchment paper will catch fire, and that can be dangerous to your health. Second, no one wants their steak to taste like burnt paper, so keep the parchment paper away from the flames, and your grilling experience is sure to be safe and tasty.

2. Using Parchment Paper on the Grill

Now that you know that parchment paper should avoid the flames, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “well, now what?” To be fair, we get that, and it took us a while to learn the in’s and out’s of using parchment paper on the grill.

The first thing that we would say about using parchment paper on the grill, is to think of your grill like an oven. When you’re cooking in your kitchen with parchment paper, you don’t just slap it down on the rack and go crazy. 

The same thing applies to using parchment paper in your grill. If you want to use it closer to the flames, make sure that you are using it inside a pan or in combination with some aluminum foil. This will keep it from catching fire.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use parchment paper in your grill as a standalone. If you are cooking in a gas grill, consider putting parchment on your upper rack, away from the heat, or consider only using flame on half of your grill. The other half, with no open flame can be used for steaming veggies in a parchment packet or making perfectly poached fish.

If you love to cook on a charcoal grill, you can also use parchment paper. Just make sure that you move your hot coals to one side of the grill, and then place the parchment on the opposite side. You’ll get the benefit of the heat, without the direct flame.

3. Parchment Paper as a Grilling Tool

Parchment paper is a handy tool to have when you’re grilling. It can really help you make amazing foods, especially those items that tend to be a bit more challenging to grill, like some fish and vegetables.

Did you know that parchment paper can tell you when your food is done? This is handy when you’re grilling things like baked potatoes. Wrap your potato in parchment, and put it on the upper rack, or on the grill, away from the flames. When the parchment turns brown (not burnt, there’s a difference), this is a good indicator that your potato is done.

Steaming foods in your grill is another way you can use parchment. Folding parchment into “packets” can give you a nice way to steam vegetables, fish or potatoes without making a mess. The parchment will allow good heat transfer, while also holding in most of the moisture. This means you get perfectly grilled veggies or fish, without too much extra juice.

As a non-stick coating, parchment can be used a couple of ways in your grill. First, if you are using a pan or cookie sheet in your grill for roasting potatoes or veggies, placing a layer of parchment will keep your pan clean, keep your food from sticking to the pan, and help with even distribution of heat. If you like to use foil as a way to steam or cover foods, but get frustrated when foods stick to the foil, add a layer of parchment in the foil to help keep food from sticking.

Helpful Hints

Here are some helpful hints to get you started when it comes to grilling with parchment paper:

Low heat is best – Parchment will burn at 450 degrees, so keep your grill heat lower.
Keep paper away from fire – yes, we said this earlier, but just a reminder, keep your parchment paper away from direct flame. If using parchment paper, place on the upper rack, or in a location for indirect heat.
Perfect for smoking – If you’re smoking foods, parchment is a great tool. The lower heat and longer time is perfect for parchment paper.
Use parchment as a liner – this applies to both pans and foil. Parchment makes a nice non-stick coating, and creates an even transfer of heat, so foods won’t stick to pans or foil, and should cook more evenly.
Jim Bob

Jim Bob

Final Thoughts: Using Parchment Paper on the Grill

Parchment is a handy tool that we don’t often take out of the kitchen. However, if you are willing to take the time to experiment, parchment can also be a great tool for grilling.

As you are perfecting your grilling skills, parchment can help you make amazing side dishes, and keeps food from sticking to foil and pans. Just remember, be safe, and cook with parchment away from the flames.

If you follow this one simple rule, using parchment paper on your grill can bring you amazing results that will wow your friends and family.