Grilled meat and veggies are enjoyable all year round. For most people, summer fun includes at least one barbecue party. These fun moments can only be successful if you observe good hygiene and safety. Although many grill masters assume that firing up the grill keeps it clean, the truth is you’ll need to do much more to avoid ruining your BBQ party and your grill.
The sugary sauces and grease that stick on the grill’s surfaces can attract bacteria, causing infections, leading to serious health issues, as well as a flare-up or even potentially dangerous grease fires. Furthermore, grilled steak produces carbon deposits that settle on the grill’s grates, firebox interior, hood, and burner tubes.
Once the carbon builds up in the port holes of your burner, it will cause more gas to flow through the remaining holes. Eventually, this added pressure will cause the portholes to develop cracks and metal fatigue that causes large gaping holes in the burner, rendering it useless. The excessive buildup of soot can hinder the grill’s efficiency by causing inconsistent heating.
Not cleaning your grill will also cause the parts in your grill to corrode much more quickly. The first part of a grill we see deteriorate is the heat disbursement system. This can be in the form of heat plates, briquette trays, flavor boards, etc. Many grill manufacturers name them different things. It does not matter if the grill is a luxury grill or a less expensive grill, this part is always the first to fall apart as it takes the most abuse. This is because you have direct fire below the part and sauces and grease dripping on top of it. The more the grease and sauces get cool and reheated, it will cause any metal to deteriorate if these are not periodically cleaned. To combat that, you need to clean your grill more thoroughly. Every few uses, just brush off the debris build-up. If you have ceramic briquettes, you never want to use water or any cleaning liquid as it will cause these to crumble.
Many people are surprised when we ask them if they clean their grill and parts. Grill owners often don’t realize that you need to clean your grill periodically to have optimal grilling results. It also may be the answer to many issues you may be having with your grill.
If you own a grill but do not know how to clean it, you don’t have to worry. Read on to learn the various ways to clean your grill and the recommended grill cleaning products and equipment to use.
Quick tips on cleaning your BBQ grill
- Don’t use your grill if there is grease buildup on the grates or your heat disbursement system. This can not only cause flare-ups and char your food, but it can also cause a grease fire which can potentially be more dangerous.
- We recommend you Deep clean your grill at least every six months (If you use your grill several times a week, use a lot of sauces or grill with fatty meats, you may want to consider doing a deep cleaning every three months)
- Spot clean your grill after every use or at least every third use
- Before grilling, burn it off for about 5-10 minutes to remove excess gunk
- When not using your grill, you can keep it covered to avoid the accumulation of dust, dirt, and other environmental debris. We recommend removing that cover after any moist or wet weather conditions (such as rain) that may trap moisture under the grill. Excess moisture can cause mold to grow in your grill.
- We always recommend checking the manufacturer’s manual and instructions before removing or replacing grill parts.
How to properly clean your BBQ grill?
If you're using a charcoal grill, it is one of the simplest grills to clean. Once you have identified a suitable cleaning space for it, you can follow these steps:
- Use a wire grill brush to remove dirt from the grate and then remove the grate from the grill to ease your cleaning. Use a glove when you are removing it to avoid staining your hands with grease or ash.
- Remove grease deposits from the grill lids using a grill brush or a stainless steel brush before grilling, and ensure that you wipe them with Dawn dish soap water solution after every grilling to prevent future buildup. But don’t apply excessive force while brushing as that can damage the coating of the grill and affect its performance.
- Clean the bowl’s interior using mild soap and a steel wool (or stainless steel scrubber) pad to remove any remaining residues.
- Then, move to the cooking grates and begin by heating the grill with all the vents open for about 10-15 minutes to loosen the sticky residues and then brush them off using a stainless steel bristle brush to prevent sticking food in the next grilling.
- Wait for the charcoal grill to cool down, then wipe down the lid and the bowl using a mild detergent soap to get rid of any remaining dirt and make the grill’s liquid glass look brand new.
- Finally, clean the ash catcher by removing all the ashes and place them into the plastic bag for disposal. If the ash catcher is detached from the grill, slide it from the grill and dump the ashes in the disposal bag.
If you use a gas grill, you can follow these steps to clean it properly:
- Close the hood and heat the grill for about 10 minutes to loosen up the sticky grease or stuck-on food; let it cool, then remove all the “guts” of the grill and use a grill degreaser to emulsify the grease inside the hood and firebox. We prefer not to use any chemical cleaner on any grill parts that cook your food unless you have a pressure washer to remove the chemical degreaser fully.
- Grab the grill grates you removed and dip them in a mild soap water solution and let them soak for about 30 minutes. Remove warming racks, burner-control knobs, and grease trays to allow you to clean the grill easily.
- Clean your heat diffusers with a stainless scrubber such as one made by Scotch Brite. If you have briquette trays, remove the briquettes before cleaning the tray. You do not want to use any liquid on the briquettes as they will absorb the liquid and crumble quicker.
- We do not recommend using any cleaning solutions on the burner or even soaking them in a soapy water bath. We clean them with a stainless scrubber or bush and then get a small drill bit to clear the port holes that surround the burner. If your grill has a tube, you will want to shake out any debris that may have fallen in the burner. You can also use a pipe cleaner or venturi brush to remove any spider or cobwebs that may be in the burner as well
- Place an empty bucket under the firebox right below the grease tray opening and use the soapy water to flush out dirt. A plastic putty knife can help scrape off sticky deposits in the firebox.
- Use a portable dry vacuum to collect remaining residues and use a garden hose to rinse them properly.
- Once the panels and grates have soaked off ideally, remove them and scrub them with a scrubbing brush. But if the grease is sticky, you can apply household vinegar on the affected area and use aluminum foil to scrape them off.
- Refill the bucket with clean water mixed with little dish soap and scrub the whole external surface of the grill using a large kitchen sponge. Don’t use steel because it can scratch and damage your grill layout.
- After washing, use super-absorbent microfiber towels to dry all surfaces.
- To maintain the new look of your steel grill, use a stainless metal preservative, eliminating the need for regular cleaning and polishing.
No matter the type of grill you’re using, the whole procedure can take approximately 10 minutes if you clean it regularly. However, a heavy cleaning can take hours, depending on the amount of build-up in your grill. It is important to note that clean grills will give you the ultimate desired taste, prevent cross-contamination and keep harmful bacteria and dirt at bay, as well as increase the lifespan of your grill parts and keeping them working safely. You will also keep rodents and bugs from trying to get in the grill as an added benefit.
We care about your BBQ moments and endeavor to provide the best Barbecue Grills, BBQ replacement parts, and outdoor kitchen accessories. Whether you’re looking for a quality BBQ grill to buy, replacement parts for your grill, or information about outdoor kitchens, we are your best bet. Call or message us today at 1-877-983-0451to speak to one of our BBQ experts.
by Tracy Holander