The amount of time that you need to devote to maintaining your grill is actually not that great. The time that you do spend can add years to the life of your grill. One of the most important aspects of grill maintenance is keeping it clean. How do you clean your grill? It doesn’t matter if you are using a top-of-the-line grill or using a fairly inexpensive kettle grill; the process is significantly similar. You should clean your grill surface both before and after each time you cook, and you should also clean the insides of the grill a few times a year to keep the insides clean and healthy.
Just How Typically to Clean a Gas Grill
How to Clean Gas Grill Grates and Racks
Grill grates and shelves– as well as every other area that comes in contact with food — should be cleaned after each use. For the absolute best results, you should clean both before as well as after use. First, a word about wire grill brushes: we do like and use wire grill brushes because we feel that they clean the grill grates the best. We suggest that you use a combination wire brush, with a wire brush on one side and a scouring pad on the other side. Use a separate wire brush and scouring pad if you can’t find a combo.
1. Scrape with Wire Brush
While you are heating your grill, take your wire brush and scrape off any bits that remain on your grill grates from your last cook. It would help if you used a little elbow grease to make sure you get everything off.
2. Wipe with Scouring Pad
The problem with wire brushes is that they can leave a small piece of wire on the grill, and that can get into someone’s food, and they could become seriously ill if they swallow it. This is why we do a second pass with the scouring pad. Some people rub an oiled paper towel or an onion over the grill after using their wire brush. Whichever method you are comfortable with is the one you should do. I use the scouring pad for this as it can also do a good job of removing any leftover grease.
3. Rub the Grates and also Racks
It would help if you also cleaned off the warming racks and any other shelves inside the grill to remove any remaining residue from your previous cook. You may also want to run a damp cooking rag over the grill and racks before they get too hot to ensure they are as clean as possible.
4. Repeat the above procedures after you cook
We strongly suggest that you repeat the above three steps both before and after your cook. Different things are removed better from your grill grates when the grill is hot, and some are better removed when the grill is cold. Scrape your grill with your wire brush right after the last piece of food is taken off the grill and you turn your burners off. It doesn’t matter how long you wait; the important thing is to remove the food debris as quickly as possible, as this will make your pre-cook clean that much easier.
5. Mid-season clean up
A few times a year, it’s an excellent idea to remove the grill grates and clean the inside of the grill. When you cook, whatever it is that you put on your food and meat or vegetable or fruit drippings will get trapped inside the grill. All of the things that you scraped off the grill grates will likely still be inside the grill.
We typically perform this cleanup once a month since we use our grills almost every day in the summer and several times a week, even in the winter. We remove the grill grates and set them aside. We will use our wire brush to scrape the inside surfaces to remove anything that shouldn’t be there. We remove the flavorizors (we have a Weber gas grill) and scrape whatever we can get off. All gas grills have a little hole inside to help catch grease drippings. The Weber grill has a pretty big hole, so we push all of the bits through that hole into a bag that I put into catching them.
The inside cleanup of the grill is essential to help prevent any grease inside the grill from flaring up and burning the food that you are grilling. As previously mentioned, we do this once a month, but you should monitor what’s going on with your grill and do this as often as possible.
How to Maintain Charcoal Grills.
Charcoal grills, just like gas grills, should have their grates cleaned both before and after use. The difference between the two grills is that the charcoal grill needs to have its inside cleaned out with every use. This is because of the ash left behind by the charcoal or the ash from the sticks you burn.
1. Empty the Ash
After each use, you need to empty the ash from the bottom of the grill. You want to do this because leaving the ash in the bottom of your grill could scratch the inside of the grill. Scratching the inside of the grill will open the grill up to start rusting. Rust is the death of metal grills that we leave outside in the elements. Scoop out any leftover ash at the bottom into a bag or a bucket for disposal with each use.
2. Periodic (at least Annual) Cleanup
At the beginning of grilling season and several times during the year, you should give your charcoal grill a thorough cleaning. This includes removing the grill grate, giving it a good scrubbing with your wire brush, and possibly washing the grate with soap and water. You should do the same with the inside of the grill as well. This cleanup will maintain the grill to make it last a long time, but most importantly, it will keep it clean. Clean means good-tasting food without the potential for contamination from built-up grease.
Other Things To Keep in Mind
Keeping your grill clean can be a job in itself; it’s not the only thing you need to do to keep a well-maintained grill. Over time there’s other things that you should do:
1. Check all the Parts
When you are performing your annual cleaning, that’s a good time to check to make sure that all of your parts are in good working order, haven’t begun to corrode or rust, and that your grill will continue to last. This will allow you to replace the parts that need to be replaced before your next use.
2. Keep Your Grill Covered
Covering your grill is actually a necessary maintenance practice for any grill that you keep outside. I try to cover my grills as soon as they cool down enough not to melt or burn the cover. It’s good practice to cover the grill to keep dust, dirt, pollen, spider webs, and dead bugs off your grills. Most importantly, covering your grill will typically reduce the number of times that you need to clean off the outside of your grill. A good quality cover will add years to the life of your grill.
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