Vegetable skewers on grill

Using a Paint Scraper to Grill Veggies

If you’re a grill enthusiast, you’ll likely have a collection of barbecue tools to help you make the juiciest burgers, kebabs, and steaks. But when it comes to grilling tender vegetables, there’s a brilliant tool that can elevate your veggie skewers even further: a paint scraper. Yes, this DIY favorite also moonlights as a nifty gizmo for easily flipping veggies that have stuck to the grates of your grill.

So why is a paint scraper such a handy instrument to barbecue vegetables? And wouldn’t an ordinary spatula or a pair of tongs achieve the same purpose? Here’s the lowdown on this hardware store staple; a paint scraper has a sharper, stiffer edge (to remove dried paint off walls and smooth cracks in masonry) than flexible plastic spatulas, making it perfect for getting under vegetables, like sliced zucchini and mushrooms, that have begun to char and stick to the grates of a hot barbecue. The angled, fine metal edge can snugly horn itself in between the grill and the food so you can scoop up and flip produce easily. Those deliciously smoky, charred spots on the veggies are imbued with heaps of flavor, so you don’t want to lose them to the grates. Regular spatulas, on the other hand, have a thicker edge, so you have to work harder to get underneath stuck-on veggies, causing them to break into small, unsightly pieces that could fall through the grates onto the coals beneath.

Long, narrow paint scrapers are ideal for flipping veggie skewers

Paint scraper on flooring

To use your paint scraper, wedge it between the grill and the veggies when they start to stick, flip them over, and move them to a cooler area of the barbecue so they can cook through without burning. Paint scrapers are also longer than regular spatulas, making them ideal for picking up and flipping lengthier skewers in one fell swoop. This is particularly useful if the handles of your metal skewers have been placed too close to the glowing coals and have become too hot to turn over by hand.

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If you don’t have an unused paint scraper, a baker’s bench scraper, primarily used to cut through dough but is also useful for prising dried food off counters, is another excellent alternative. However, most bench scrapers don’t have that ultra-thin edge that makes paint scrapers perfect for loosening charred vegetables off a grill. So, if you can invest in a new paint scraper from the hardware store, we’d recommend including one in your barbecue kit to be used solely for grilling. It’s an easy addition that will keep your delicately grilled produce looking appetizingly Insta-worthy.

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