When you’re done with all the grilling, at the end of the day, the only thing that remains is carbon deposits all over the grilling surface. Of course, you might not prevent them from building up, but you can certainly dispose of them.
Why Should You Clean the BBQ Grill Regularly?
The key to the longevity of the BBQ grill and tasty food is proper maintenance. First of all, not only it looks unappealing but also it’s a place where the grease builds up and harbors bacteria, or, at worst, causes a fire. Moreover, the carbon deposits can prevent the grill from heating evenly or reaching the full operating temperature. And most importantly, the food won’t have the desired tasty flavor when grilled on a dirty surface. That’s why it’s very important to clean your cooking appliance thoroughly, and in this article, we’ll show you how.
[alert style=”info”]Note: Make sure to clean the cooking grates after every grilling; clean the grill thoroughly every couple of months, depending on the usage.[/alert]
The cleaning process is the same for both gas and charcoal grills; the gas grills just have more parts. Below, we give you some tips on how to make your BBQ grill look like new once again.
Steam Clean Grill Grates
[alert style=”info”]You can use either a steam cleaner or clean the grate following the steps:
- Heat up the grill, then turn it off, or remove the heat source.
- Put a regular, metal tin can full of water on the grates.
- Close the lid and leave it for 30 minutes.
- Scrub the grease and dirt with a silicone sponge.
The Dishwasher Will Do Sometimes
[alert style=”info”]When your grill comes with metal grates whose size will fit inside, the dishwasher is an ideal option to dispose of the grease buildup and food leftovers. On the other hand, cast-iron or some specific parts should never be cleaned in the dishwasher, since the surface can be damaged by the spray, hot water, and high drying heat. Use elbow grease and food-grade cleaner instead and scrub the grates with a nylon grill brush.
Use an Onion
[alert style=”info”]Firstly, light the grill to heat, so it burns any food leftovers. Then, cut an onion in half, stick it on a long grilling fork, and rub the grates with it faced downwards. To have a better effect, spray the grates first with white vinegar or lemon juice.[/alert]
Vinegar Performs Well in the Cleaning Process
[alert style=”info”]The vinegar isn’t useful in cooking only. It does quite well in cleaning BBQ grills too. It takes only a few steps to get your grill spotless.
- Fill a spray bottle with two cups of vinegar and two cups of water.
- Shake the bottle, so the liquids mix well.
- Spray the solution onto the grill.
- Let it dry for 10 minutes.
- Refill the bottle with vinegar only.
- Spray on the grill and its interior, and scrub with a ball of crumpled-up aluminum foil or grill brush.
- Rinse off the grates.
If there’s still gunk left after taking these steps, try mixing vinegar with baking soda.
- Mix two cups of vinegar and one cup of baking soda in a garbage bag that’s big enough to fit all the grates.
- Put the cooking grates inside the bag as soon as you pour the ingredients there since the mixture will start bubbling up immediately.
- Seal the bag by tying a knot or with a rubber band, and leave it overnight.
- Take the grates out the next day and rinse them in the sink or with a hose. Scrub if needed.
Soak It in Coffee
[alert style=”info”]Believe it or not, the coffee doesn’t only taste and smell good, and work to keep you awake for hours; its acidic nature helps in loosening up the burned-on gunk on the cooking grills as well.
Firstly, brew a full pot of coffee, then pour it in a pot or container that’s big enough to fit the grates and soak them. Leave it for an hour, then scrub and rinse with hot water.
Pour some Beer
[alert style=”info”]Pour half a bottle of beer over the grates while the grill is warm. It’ll break down the grease, making it easier to scrub later.
Clean the Main Grill Chamber
[alert style=”info”]Before you start grilling again, it’s very important to clean the inside of the grill, where the grease accumulates and food particles fall. Start with removing the grates. Some of the gas grill models have metal heat diffusers over the burners. Before you continue, make sure to take them out. Then, use a metal or plastic putty knife to scrape the sides of the grill base. Speaking of gas grills, the burner tubes they come with happen to clog very often. So, clean the holes with a nylon or steel wire brush, starting from the center and moving sideways.
When you’re cleaning a charcoal grill, you should dispose of burnt coal and ashes that have accumulated in the coal tray in the first place. Dump them out in a bucket and pick up leftovers with a wet towel. But first, make sure the ashes have cooled completely. Finally, rinse the base with warm, soapy water.
Scrub the Outside of the Grill
[alert style=”info”]The outside of the grill is as important as its inside. Clean it with hot soapy water and elbow grease.
Heat the BBQ Grill
[alert style=”info”]Once you’re done cleaning the grill, heat it for at least 15 minutes to make sure any remains are burnt off.
Tip: Protect your BBQ grill between the grilling sessions with a weather-resistant grill cover.[/alert]
Try a Grease Remover
Although household items do the job well SOMETIMES, it goes without saying that a grease remove will do a much better job. It is recommended to clean the grill with water after applying the grease remover. Any residual chemicals can be dangerous.
There might not be a way to completely prevent the grease from building up, but there are some methods that might help. For instance, put some cooking oil on the hot grates right before grilling. Or, scrub them with raw onion, which supposedly breaks the grease down. Nevertheless, clean the grill thoroughly every few months.
When you don’t maintain the BBQ grill properly, it’ll probably rust over time. You can still cook on a rusty grill, however, it’s not the best idea. The rust, which is iron oxide, can get loose and stick to your food. In small quantities, it’s safe to consume. However, it can become harmful if you ingest it on a regular basis.
If left unprotected, the iron grates of the grill will rust when exposed to the elements. Hence, make sure to cover your grill when you don’t use it. Another effective way to prevent the grates from rusting is to keep them oiled before and after cooking. Never spray oil while the grill is on since it’ll flare-up.