How To Clean Your Grill
Knowing how to clean your grill is important if you want to keep it in the best condition possible for years to come. It’s natural and normal for grease and carbon to build up during use. And while you might have heard that these add flavor to your food, the opposite is actually true. Both grease and carbon can add an unpleasant, burnt taste to whatever you’re cooking, and can even be fire risks. It’s crucial then that you follow proper smoker grill cleaning practices—both for your safety and for the sake of whatever you’re making.
Whether you’re dusting off your grill in anticipation of the warmer weather to come or just think that your grill could use a refresh, we’ve got the grill cleaning tips you need to get it done. Let’s get to it!
How to Clean a Grill Top
Most of the buildup that happens on your grill occurs on the grates, so it’s crucial that you know exactly how to clean a grill top.
First, be able to identify what you’re dealing with. That black crusty stuff for example is carbon buildup, which over time can prevent your grill from obtaining high temperatures or heating evenly. Carbon also provides a home for grease to adhere to, meaning that when you take care of the carbon on your grill top, you help prevent other sorts of substances from sticking around.
There are a couple of options for tackling all this carbon on the grates. Start by blasting the heat on the grill and letting it run for a few minutes, then turn it off and use a wire grill brush to try scraping off the buildup. Wear grilling gloves to protect yourself from the heat, and clean out any residue that falls to the bottom of the cooking chamber. If scrubbing doesn’t work, use a product specifically designed to remove carbon from grills, or remove the grates from the grill and hit them with a pressure washer (just be sure to dry them completely afterwards).
How to Clean the Rest of Your Grill
You’ll need a few tools to tackle the rest of your grill, including a putty knife, a paint stirring stick, and two buckets—one filled with warm soapy water and another one that’s empty.
- Take off any small removable grill parts and place them in the bucket with the warm soapy water.
- Take your paint stirrer and use it to scrape off debris from inside the chimney.
- Use your putty knife to scrape off debris from the inside of the grill lid and cooking chamber (aside from the grates), you may need to use a grease cutting product if you’re having trouble removing it all. Keep a small broom brush and dustpan with you to clean out everything that you scrape off.
- Remove the grease catcher and pour drippings in the empty bucket. Dispose correctly (i.e. not down the drain).
- Take items that are soaking in the water bath and use one clean towel to scrub them and another to dry them. Then place them back on the grill.
- Finish up by spot cleaning the outside of the grill where necessary with soap and water and then lubricating any vents with vegetable oil.
As for how to keep a grill clean after all this work, your best bet is always going to be spot cleaning when the need arises. It’s a lot easier to deal with grease and carbon before they turn into sticky buildup, so keep a grill brush handy and give your grill a once-over after every use. Make a habit or emptying the grease catcher regularly as well, and re-oil your grill as needed to prevent rust.