How to Clean a Grill Properly
You can’t beat a home-grilled meal, char-cooked to perfection on the barbecue or grill and eaten outside on a warm summer night. Or even a not-so-warm winter’s day if you’re lucky enough to be able to grill all year! Social, rustic and delicious, if you are the one wielding those BBQ tongs then you’ll have the whole family eating out of your hands. But while home grilling is fantastic way to create amazing meals, all those fatty meats and oils can soon make your grill a cleaning and hygiene nightmare. And not to mention the flame flare up all that built up fat and debris can cause.
To keep your barbecuing safe and your home-grilled food super tasty, we’ve put together an easy, step-by-step guide on how to get your hardworking grill clean.
What You Need to Clean
Before you get started with your grill cleaning mission, it’s a good idea to get your cleaning kit together. You don’t need anything complicated – your ‘power tools’ will be a wire brush, a decent sized bucket, some gloves and a handful of sponges and cleaning rags. Oh, and a liberal dash of elbow grease. Always avoid any harsh chemical cleaners, as they can affect the flavor of your food. Opt for more natural grease busters instead – dish soap and a homemade paste of baking soda and vinegar can work grill cleaning wonders.
Whether you prefer charcoal or like the convenience of gas, you should get into the habit of cleaning your grill after every use. Keeping on top of the grime means you can prevent major gunk forming inside your grill. Cleaning each time also means your food tastes full of the right flavor every time you cook.
- Tackle those grates
Your first step is to remove the cooking grates as these must be thoroughly cleaned after every use. When it comes to how to clean a grill grate, a handy tip is to burn off any major food residue first so fire up those gas burners or leave the charcoal simmering for a little bit longer and if you have one, pull over the grill hood and let the flames do their job. Now let the grates cool until safely warm and, using your wire brush, scrape off the food residue. Wipe the grates down with soap and water, then rinse and if your grate is cast iron, wipe on a little oil with a paper towel to keep them in top shape.
So, what if you have a solid cooking surface on your grill, such as a flat top? For the best solution to how to clean a grill top, we say repeat the above, but use a flat scraper to clean off the food residue, before wiping the surface clean, once it is cool.
With the grates removed and cleaned, you can now get to grips with the grime in the rest of your grill. We look at how to clean a charcoal grill, and also what else you need to do if you are grilling with gas.
- Remove all the inner debris
With the bulky heat source of wood charcoal, you now need to remove any inner debris from the grill or barbecue pan. First up, responsibly dump the charcoal ashes – either bag up and place in the garbage or if you are a gardener, they can be used as fertilizers. Now sweep clean not just the grill pan but if you have an ash-catcher tray, this too. For ease, if you have an old vacuum cleaner, these are ideal for sucking up all the old ash dust. You can do this too, on a gas grill. A dry wire brush will help to loosen any stubborn grit, and for caked on dirt, go to it with the brush and some soapy water. Rinse out with fresh water to get the pan clean and leave to dry.
How to Clean a Gas Grill
With a gas grill, you have a more controlled, piped heat source and with that comes a few extra cleaning tasks than a straightforward charcoal grill. Keeping your gas grill clean will not only keep your food flavorsome but also your cooking safe and easy. As well as cleaning out the grates and the grill pan, you need to also focus your cleaning attention on the gas burner tubes and controls. The burner tubes are vulnerable to clogging, which can restrict gas flow, giving you a lower heat and an underpowered grill – not the best for cooking. A sure sign of a dirty burner is a reduced flame, which may also be orange instead of blue. To prevent clogging, use a wire brush to gently clean the small holes on the tubes, brushing from the center outward so as to not push the food debris further into the tube.
Don’t Forget That Deep Clean
While cleaning after every use will help to keep your grill clean, you should not forgo a deep clean every so often, to keep your grill cooking on all cylinders and extend its grilling life by preventing future build up.
With a gas grill, it will mean carefully taking it apart, so always ensure you have disconnected the gas supply first. As you clean, also inspect the various parts of your grill for any rust, wear and tear. Now soak everything in clean, soapy water, using a wire brush to scrub any ingrained grime until it is clean. Rinse, and allow to fully dry before reassembling and, with a gas grill, checking all the connections are good to go.
One final tip with a deep clean is to then fire it up so it heats completely before you use it to cook, so you burn off any residue soap and can check all is working as it should. Then get those steaks out of the refrigerator and pop open a beer – you have some serious grilling to do!