We cannot overemphasize the importance of using a clean grill. You see, the gunk and grease from your last barbecue can very well affect the taste of your food. Plus, caked grease and food bits can cause nasty flareups and even full-on infernos. So, this is the question today; how to clean a grill. And not just any kind of cleaning, deep cleaning.
What Do You Need?
As I have already mentioned, this is a deep clean. Which means you need an array of grill cleaning gadgets to help you along.
Here is a general list.
It’s quite a list, don’t you think? Now that you got all your gizmos in order, let us get to cleaning!
How To Clean A Grill?
Step 1: Burn the Gunk
Before doing anything else, you need to fire up your grill, cover it, and run it on full temperature for about 30 minutes.
Why? This burns off all the grease and food bits.
Step 2: Scrub the Grates
Once you have signed the grease and food particles, scrub the grates. First, use your wire brush sans water and then dip the brush in warm soapy water and scrub away. Ensure you have your heat-resistant gloves on to prevent burns.
If you have a gas grill, turn off the gas and disconnect the tank.
Tip: Chances are not all the food particles come out at this stage. While the grill is still warm, dip a newspaper in water and cover the grates. Replace the lid and give it a few minutes. The moisture on the papers steams the grates making it easy to dislodge the stubborn food particles.
Wait for the grill to cool completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Soak the Grates
Remove the grates, bars, and hot plates (if any). Soak them in a tub of warm soapy water. These need to soak for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, detach everything that is detachable from the grill. We are talking burner knobs, warming racks, grease pans, and in some cases, burner tubes.
Look at it this way; the more exposed the firebox is, the easier it is to clean.
For the burner tubes, check for a cotton pin or single screw on one end of the tube.
Step 4: Use a Vacuum
Now that your firebox is all open, start by placing an empty bucket beneath the firebox. You want the bucket to be directly under the grease tray opening. This bucket is supposed to catch all the water and dirt that comes from the firebox.
Using your plastic putty knife, scrape off any stubborn food particles stuck on the firebox. You can use a scouring pad if you do not have a putty knife.
Tip: Lay some aluminum foil on the exposed burners to protect them from the gunk falling off the firebox.
Use the vacuum to pick up all the loose debris. You may want to use a dry-wet vacuum in this case. This is because you can always rinse it out with a garden hose later.
Step 5: Get Back to the Grates
By now, your grates must have soaked up. Use your wire brush to scrub the grates thoroughly. If you come across caked food that lingers, spritz a little of the white vinegar and baking soda mixture directly on to the gunk. This should help in dislodging the particles.
Rinse the grates well. You want all the cleaning chemicals to wash off. Next, using your micro-fiber towels, dry the grates, and all the other parts thoroughly. This step is crucial to avoid rusting.
While you are at it, inspect the grates for any chips. Especially if you have porcelain-enameled grates, any chipping irrespective of the size can begin a rusting cycle.
Also, inspect the burners for signs of corrosion. You want to pay attention to the row of holes from where the flame originates. Pick up your wire brush and run the bristles back and forth across the line of holes.
Further, pick up your wire bottle brush and scrub inside the burner tubes. You see, whenever you go for a while without using your grill, spiders make homes inside the tubes.
Step 6: Wash the Exterior
For this step, you need a bucket full of warm, slightly soapy water and a soft sponge or cotton rag.
Clean the entire exterior of the grill. Do not under any circumstances use a metal sponge, steel wool, or any rough scouring pads. These scratch the surface of the grill.
Afterward, use your microfiber towels to dry the exterior well.
Step 7: Use your Stainless-steel Cleaner
Notice that this step is only for those who have a stainless-steel grill. The stainless-steel cleaner gives that final touch to make your grill shine.
Spray a little on the surface, wait a couple of minutes and then wipe it off with a clean, dry towel.
Tip: If you do not have a stainless-steel cleaner, use concentrated white vinegar to wipe the exterior.
Step 8: Reassemble the Grill
Now you have a clean grill.
Go ahead and reassemble everything. If you have a gas grill, ensure you reconnect the tank well.
Soak a paper towel with some vegetable oil and use it to wipe down the grates.
Step 9: Fire it Up
Once you are done wiping down the grates with vegetable cooking oil, turn on the grill, crank up the temperature, cover with a lid, and let it burn for at least 15 minutes.
Why? One, you want to burn off all the cleaning chemicals. Two, you are seasoning the grates. And three, this is the only way to know if you have reassembled everything correctly.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Whenever you clean your grill, avoid harsh, toxic chemicals. They can later impart on your food.
- If you have hotplates, check if you can wash them in your dishwasher. This takes a whole chunk of cleaning off your plate, and the hot plates come out sparkling.
- For some reason, it is better to clean a stainless-steel grill on a cloudy day. The sun tends to make gunk stick even harder.
- Whether or not you keep your grill indoors, invest in a weather-resistant BBQ cover.
A good deep cleaning can save your food and add years to your grill. What are some of your grill-cleaning practices? Let us know in the comment section below.