Barbeque, steaks, fried sausages, smoked fish – all these delicious and precious words are not only warm summer nights, fragrances, and photos on your Instagram. With time, grilling will inevitably cause dirt, ash, and grease stains. In addition to being unaesthetic, a dirty grill can attract bacteria, leading to uneven heating and parts breakage. We don’t even mention spoilt food taste.
What Should I Clean In My Grill?
Most people pay attention to cooking grates only when it comes to cleaning. Indeed, this is the first and the most important part of cooking. Food contacts with grates and leaves small particles on them, which may spoil the taste and flavor during the next grilling cycles.
However, we highly recommend remembering about other grill parts! Unfortunately, grease and dirt stay not only on the grates, but reach the lid, bowl walls, fuel chamber (if you use a charcoal grill), and grease collection system. If you have no grease tray and the like, fat drops may dirt a cart.Thus, all these grill elements require regular maintenance. Only consistent cleaning will help you get perfect taste and flavor without unpleasant savors as well as prolong your grill’s life.
How Often Should I Clean My Grill?
As you can guess from the previous paragraph, the closer the grill part to food, the faster it gets dirty and the more frequent cleaning it requires.
Please clean the cooking grates after each cooking session. This makes up 99% of success in support of cleanliness.
Grease collection comes the next in importance. Many high-quality products like Weber Summit or Napoleon Prestige PRO use special grease collection systems that include trays, pans, bowls, etc. If you have some, cleaning will take seconds. Just remove your collection unit and wash it. By the way, the laziest of us can purchase disposable foil pans and set them on the original tray. Thus, we don’t have to clean anything at all. In this case, experts also recommend performing cleaning after every cooking.
If your grill offers no grease system, the process will take much more time and effort. Grease will drop on charcoal, wood, or simply to the bowl bottom. Still, this is a necessary procedure, and you’ll have to remove all fuel to clean the chamber itself.
Thus, charcoal and wood chamber are usually cleaned at least once per month, except for the ash cleaning, which should be conducted as necessary. You remove the grates, fuel, and ashes to get to the main part. Gas and electrical models are more convenient in this regard. If you have a gas or electric grill, this is not such a problem for you.
A grill bowl and lid are not subject to dirt that much. However, they also need your attention about once per month. Moreover, since the lid is located right above the grates, it catches more grease sprays. That’s why it’s better to clean it a bit oftener.
General cleaning is traditionally recommended once per month if you often use a grill (like almost daily). If you prefer BBQ from time to time in case of some occasions like parties and family visits, seasonal cleaning will be enough.
Seasonal cleaning means you should check your grill after a long break in cooking (like after the winter season) and prepare it for proper storage when the season is over.
Cleaning: Procedure and Tools
All you need for proper grill maintenance are:
Usually, manufacturers and experienced users don’t recommend the application of detergents. Wiping and scrubbing are the keys to success.After you finished cooking, let the grill cool till its temperature is safe for you but not completely low. Warm parts come off of sticky particles easier. Scrub the warm grates with a stiff wire brush. If you forget on the cooldown, scrub them after you’ve turned the grill on the next time but before you put your food on. Heat the grates and remove the dirt.
Please always consult with your manual and manufacturer’s recommendations on the possibility of brush usage. Some grate covering may come off after tough wire scrubbing. In such cases, wiping is a better option.
Thus, most of your regular grill cleaning is done.
Brushes will be your best friends with lid and bowl cleaning as well. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of cleaning products on the market for such tasks. We would only recommend you having separate brushes for grates/lid and ash removal from the grill bowl.
The last 1% of cleaning tasks include the use of detergents. While they are not the best way out for everyday cleaning, we can’t do without them during seasonal preparations. Please pay attention that since you’re going to clean a cooking unit that contacts food, all detergents must be non-toxic. You can also replace bought formulas with home-made solutions from vinegar, soda, etc.
During seasonal cleaning, remove and scrub the grates that make up the cooking surface. Then, scrub any bits off the flame shields, burner tubes, remove ashes from the inside of the main chamber.
The goal here is to get rid of all the particles inside – bits of food you’ve cooked, grease and grime that have accumulated, and otherwise get anything that could potentially catch fire and impart off flavors to your food.
Next, check the grease trap. Empty it and wipe it down. You don’t want that to catch fire!
Finally, give the outside and non-cooking parts of your grill a wipe down. Chances are you have some grease splatter, and it’s good just to give it a nice wipe to keep things clean.Remember, the key is consistency!
As you can see, a grill is not such a complicated thing for cleaning. The process takes almost no time and requires a minimum of tools if performed regularly. Please remember that 99% of keeping a grill clean is consistency. If you keep to this simple (though routine and tedious) plan, your grill will serve decades and please you with a shiny look. And a clean grill is nice to look at and nice to use!