Photo Credit: Ferrier’s Hardware
It’s that time of year when you start thinking about summer barbeques and outdoor grilling. If you already have a grill, you’re all set! But you may find that your grill has begun collecting dust throughout the long winter and fall months, especially if you keep it outdoors. Your first thoughts might be somewhat filled with disgust at the thought of cooking ready-to-eat food on your now filthy and weather-beaten grill. Not to mention what your guests might think when they see you cooking their lunch or dinner on the shabby looking instrument. So, how can you clean your grill and get it back to like-new condition for summer?
Burn of Excess Food and Grease
As with most things that can rise in temperature, it’s a good idea to start your grill cleaning by burning off any excess food and grease. Put the grill heat on high and let it burn for about 20 minutes or until the grill is no longer smoking or giving off food odors. Leaving the grill burning will allow force any remaining food particles to turn to ash and make the grill easier to clean.
Complete Routine Checks
Before you can really start cleaning your grill, it’s vital that you check the ignition system and make sure that the gas is disconnected. Check the pressure regulators to makes sure that using your grill will not create a fire hazard, and that temperatures are evenly distributed throughout the grill to prevent only one side of your meat from grilling properly and safely. Check flame tamers, heat tents, and/or vaporizer bars and brush off any debris that has accumulated on the wire brush.
Clean the Grilling Grates
Possibly one of the areas that need the most cleaning, the grates will most likely need to be scrubbed clean. If possible, we recommend removing the grates from your grill and soaking them in hot soaping water for as long as possible. The hot soapy water will loosen any burnt residue or grime off of the grates, and then you can scrub the remaining debris with a tough scrub brush until your grilling grates start to look like new.
As a reminder:
Gas Grills – Burners MUST BE OFF before cleaning! If using a grill stone, no water is required — the stone will remove residue. After you have cleaned the cooking grates, spray them with cooking oil.
Charcoal Grills – Clean surfaces when the grill is still hot. Use a grill brush that dispenses water to steam-clean the grates. If your brush does not have that feature, a little water sprinkled onto the brush produces the same effect.
Chrome Wire Grates – Coat with vegetable oil after cleaning to prevent rust.
Cast Iron Grates– Coat with a vegetable oil after cleaning to prevent rust.
Porcelain-coated Steel Rods and Porcelain-coated Cast Iron – No coating is required unless porcelain is missing. Coating prior to cooking will help prevent food from sticking.
Clean the Interior of the Grill
The grates are not the only part of the grill that needs scrubbing. This is also the time scrub under the hood and clean the inside walls. Loosely cover the heating elements with a large piece of foil to protect them from damage and resist creating a fire hazard. Soap and water is are the best cleaning tools for the inside of the grill, as you want to avoid anything with hard chemicals that could possibly contaminate food.
Clean the Exterior of the Grill
To clean the exterior of the grill, make sure to use products that are stainless steel friendly. Soap and dishwasher water or stainless steel wipes often do the trick. Be careful to use a soft material to wipe down the grill so that you can prevent scratches to the stainless steel outer face.
Keep Your Grill Covered
Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your grill, you’ll want to make sure that it is protected from dust and debris so that you don’t have to go through this process every time you want to use it. Most grill manufactures will include a grill cover when you purchase a grill, but if you don’t have one, there are many hardcore grill covers than can be purchased for about $25 from your local home and garden store. These grill covers normally come with a thick undercoating to keep your grill protected from the harshest of conditions. However, if you have a garage or an outdoor shed, then you might consider keeping it indoors to further prevent harm from the weather.
Get your grill clean and get ready for summer! Do you have any special tips or trick to use when cleaning your outdoor grill? Leave your suggestions and feedback in the comments below and let us know what works best for you.