You’ve got your platter of marinated chicken breasts and seasoned veggies ready to throw on the grill, but is it ready for them? Cooking food on a grill laden with old chunks of stuck-on food and burnt matter not only makes your food taste nasty but may contaminate your meal. Here is how to clean a grill for a better BBQ experience.
It’s easy to think that your grill doesn’t need cleaning. The high temperature kills away leftover germs, right? The answer is both yes and no. Burned meat forms chemicals at high heat, and while preheating your grill to kill germs may clean char off the grates, the debris remains at the bottom of the grill.
While you must clean your grill after each use, it may also need a seasonal cleaning to prepare it for upcoming summer cook-outs. Performing regular maintenance on your grill not only produces healthier and better-tasting food but ensures the longevity of your BBQ.
Cleaning a BBQ Grill
Cleaning a grill is easy if done regularly, whether it is a gas, electric, or charcoal grill. We’ll show you how to clean the inside and outside of the BBQ using a little elbow grease.
Ways to Clean a Grill
There are different ways to clean a grill, and it all comes down to whether you have a charcoal, gas, or electric grill. Other factors to consider when cleaning is the material. Is yours made with stainless steel? Does it have cast iron grates? Different types of materials require specific cleaning ingredients and techniques.
Charcoal grills are the most basic and straightforward types of BBQ. While these grills are high maintenance, they provide food with a char-grilled, smoky flavor. You cook the food over charcoal briquettes or wood chips that turn to ash while grilling. Therefore, there is more clean-up required with a charcoal grill than the gas or electric styles.
A grill that is ideal for on-the-go grilling is the electric grill. These portable grills are more compact than the charcoal and gas grills, but they do require a power source. They are one of the easiest to clean since there is no charcoal ash.
Gas grills are the most efficient and easiest to use over other grill types. They use either liquid propane or natural gas for cooking food, so there is no ash to clean up when the cooking is complete.
The two most common materials in grills are stainless steel and cast iron. It’s important to know what material your BBQ consists of before cleaning it to ensure that you don’t cause damage to the surface.
How to Clean a Grill that Uses Charcoal
Charcoal grills need regular cleaning to remove leftover ash before cooking your next outdoor meal. Cleaning a BBQ grill that uses charcoal as its heating source takes a little more time and effort on your part but is well worth the flavor it gives your food.
Place charcoal briquettes into the grill and light them as you usually would while preparing to grill. Place the lid on, and let the fire burn down and allow it to cool before removing the cover.
Pour hot water into a large tub or bucket and add a few drops of dish soap. Dunk a sponge into the solution and agitate it to create suds. Wipe the grill cover with the soapy sponge, rinsing, and dunking the sponge as needed. Rinse the lid with a water hose and dry it with a clean towel.
When cleaning grill racks, use a grill brush to scrub the grill grates using as much elbow grease as necessary. Scrape parallel to the grid and move along in sections.
Flip it over and repeat on the other side. For stubborn areas, add a bit of dish soap to the wire brush while scrubbing. Be sure to get into the corners on both sides. Spray it down with clean water and dry.
Remove chunks of charcoal and ash from inside the grill, and discard accordingly. Scrape the interior with a steel wool pad. Use back and forth strokes to remove grease and gunk. Use a clean and wet sponge to rinse away residue and pat dry with a towel.
Using a large bucket of soapy water or the bathtub is also the easiest way to clean oven racks that need some extra attention. Take the racks out of the oven, let them soak for a bit in the soap and water and scrub them down. Rinse and dry and replace.
How to Clean a Gas Grill
The gas grill is one of the most popular types for backyard barbecues. It’s easy to use and maintain and takes little time at all to prepare a meal. Use a homemade BBQ grill cleaner to clean charcoal, electric, and gas grills.
Turn the grill on high heat and close the lid for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and close the propane tank gas valves. Use a plastic scraper or grill brush to scrub the grates vertically to remove grease and food bits.
Remove the grates from the grill and set them aside. Scrub the inside roof of the lid with a hard bristle brush. Don’t worry about the bits that fall to the bottom of the grill. Use a damp cloth to wipe away the remaining residue from the lid.
Once the grill is sufficiently cool, use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck away loose dirt and debris from the bottom of the barbecue. Remove the grill bases and dump the ashes into the garbage, and set it aside.
Use a nylon brush to scrub the bottom portion of the grill. An old toothbrush cleans hard-to-reach areas around the burner tubes. Finish up by using a vacuum cleaner hose to suck up ash and dust. Be careful not to bump the gas line or burners while cleaning.
Remove the grease tray from beneath the grill, empty it into the garbage, and wipe it down with a damp cloth before replacing. Give the interior a once over with a clean, damp cloth and paper towels and replace the grates.
Electric Grill Easy Cleaning
Electric grills are a convenient way to grill food on the go and indoors. While they are easier to use than charcoal and gas grills, they require different cleaning techniques.
Unplug the grill and remove the thermostat. Before cleaning the electric grill, make sure that it is completely cool. Use dry paper towels to clean the thermostat and set it aside.
Fill the kitchen sink with hot water and add a squirt of dishwasher soap. Remove the grill’s heating surface and plate and place it into the warm soapy water. Use a sponge to clean away grime and gunk. Rinse the heating surface with clean water and set it aside to air dry.
Hold a sponge under warm water and wring it out. Use the wet sponge to clean the body of the grill using circular motions to prevent water stains. Replace the heating surface and thermostat in their places. Use a soft brush to apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to the grate and wipe with a paper towel.
Cleaning Cast Iron Grill Grates
Cleaning BBQ grill grates seems like a chore, but cleaning them routinely after each use makes the job easier. If it’s been some time since you last cleaned your cast iron grates, we’ll show you how to remove grease and grime while seasoning your cast iron grill.
Scrub the grill grates with a wire brush or hard bristle brush to remove any dried food particles and crud. Fill a bottle sprayer with water and apple cider vinegar and shake well to mix. Remove the grill grates and set them on a flat surface.
Spritz the vinegar sanitizer onto the iron surface and wipe away all residue with paper towels. Flip them over and repeat cleaning on the other side.
Apply a few drops of dish detergent onto a wet sponge and scrub both sides of the grates to remove any leftover grime. Spray the grill grates with clean water and dry with a towel.
Apply a small amount of vegetable oil to a soft brush and use it to coat both sides of the grate to protect it from rusting. Wipe the oily residue away with paper towels and replace the grates to the grill.
Fire up the barbecue and close the lid. Allow it to heat for ten minutes before turning off the heating element. Apply one more coat of oil to the grate.
Outside Cleaning of a Stainless Steel Grill
While stainless steel is generally stain-resistant, it still requires routine barbecue grill cleaning to remove grease spills and stains from outdoor elements. This stainless steel cleaner is simple to make and works wonders for cleaning the outside of a grill.
To clean away grease stains from stainless steel, apply a small amount of dish soap to a damp sponge and add a sprinkling of baking soda. Wipe the stained area clean with the sponge.
After removing tough stains, perform an overall cleaning by filling a bottle sprayer with white vinegar and spraying it onto the steel surface. Use paper towels to wipe away all of the dirt and vinegar residue.
Make sure to clean with the grain rather than against it. Use a new paper towel to dry the surface.
Removing Grease Stains from a Grill
Grease spills and stains are almost inevitable when it comes to grilling. You are grilling greasy foods on the grill, after all. Here is the best homemade grill degreaser to dissolve and lift away grease stains from grill surfaces.
Combine a small amount of warm water and baking soda to form a pasty substance. Use a paper towel to apply the paste to the greasy stains on the outside of the grill. Fill a bottle sprayer with vinegar and spray the liquid onto the paste.
Wait for a few minutes as the two ingredients work together to dissolve away tough stains. Use paper towels to wipe away the greasy residue and wipe the area clean with a damp sponge.
Maintaining a Grill for Easy Cleaning
It’s a lot easier to maintain your grill throughout the grilling season than to deal with a filthy one. A dirty barbecue not only makes food taste unpleasant, but the decaying food and grease cause flare-ups on the grill grate. Here are a few steps to make grilling a cleaner and more enjoyable experience.
Place a splatter mat or grill pad beneath the grill while cooking to prevent drip pan grease from getting on your patio. Keep the BBQ placed in a well-ventilated space that is approximately ten feet from the side of your home or other structure.
Heat the grill to 550°F to burn food debris into ash and use a grill brush with hard brush bristles to scrub down the surface of the grates. After using a gas grill, remove the bottom tray from beneath it and empty the scraps into a garbage can. Use a scraper to remove grease if necessary.
Cover the grates with aluminum foil while grilling to prevent food from sticking and season your cast iron grates regularly. Empty the ash pan of charcoal grills after each use to prevent premature rusting of the parts.
Regular cleaning of your grill during grill season is just as important as keeping a clean kitchen. Scrubbing the grill grates free of gunk and food particles ensures that your food tastes good and doesn’t get contaminated.
Keeping the right grill cleaning tools handy and using proper cleaners is the key to easy cleaning. Now, go fire up the clean grill and enjoy a BBQ with your family.
We’re happy that we could show you how to clean a grill so that your summer-time BBQ tastes as good as it looks, and we’d love it if you’d share our grill cleaning tips with your family on Pinterest and Facebook.