We are in the home stretch of summer and you can use these tips to get your grill sparkling.
A well-organized refrigerator and regular cleaning of your washing machine are all good things, but a thorough cleaning of your grill will disproportionately affect its performance and greatly extend its lifespan.
Even if dirt and debris don't completely ruin your grill, who wants to use a dirty, rusty grill? Leave it sitting long enough and you'll reach a point of no return. As grilling season progresses, it's a good time to give your grill a thorough cleaning to prepare for the second half of summer. And all the grease, grime, and dirt that builds up can cause dangerous kinds of fires and flare-ups. See my TikTok video below:
@grillmarkco I’m not sure this is in the manual. 🤔#bbq #grillmarkco #grilling #fyp #grillporn #grill #bbqfunny ♬ original sound - 🔥Grillionaire🔥
If you want to know how to do it, here are some simple steps outlined below.
Open it Up, Pull it Apart
First, you need to open the grill and take out various parts. This will give you access to the main grill chamber. Usually under the grates is where food particles and grease drippings tend to live.
Start with a cold grill. Open the lid or chamber, remove the grill grates and set them aside. Some propane models also have one or more metal heat deflectors that sit above the burner. If your grill has them, take them out as well.
Clean the Inside
A lot of fat and food residue collects inside the grill, also called the “grill box”. Get yourself some “Citrus Safe” grill cleaner and spray the entire grill box. Let it sit for around ten minutes. This will help cut through the grease and build up. Next, use a cheap spatula (metal or plastic) or an old spatula to scrape as much dirt off the sides of the inside of the grill as possible.
Grillionaire Pro Tip: Any thin or flat tool will work. Just make sure it provides a good surface or grip. You should also consider having work gloves as this will be dirty work.
On charcoal or wood pellet grills, ash collects in the fire pit. This restricts airflow and ultimately affects cooking performance. Also, in pellet grills, ash can cause the pellet system to misfire. Igniting too much fuel at once can result in an unstable over-ignition condition.
Avoid this by regularly removing ash deposits from the grill. Allow the ash to cool completely, before doing this. I have a small trash can I dump all my ashes into. I also like to take a shop-vac and get out all the ash from any crevasse I can reach.
Clean the Burner Tubes
Burner tubes are a common clog area on gas grills. A dirty burner will reduce the size of the flame. They can also fire orange instead of the usual blue. Both issues show abnormally low temperatures and poor performing grill.
Gas grills usually have multiple burner tubes, but some have only one. Use a nylon or steel wire brush to gently clean the small holes in the tube. Be sure to brush outward from the center of the tube and move sideways (not up and down). Otherwise, dirt can be pushed in instead of cleaning the tube or hole itself.
Clean the grates
Reassemble the grill, then turn on the high temperature setting and close the lid. Some grills may also have a cleaning setting. After a few minutes, open the lid and vigorously scrub the grates with a bristle-free metal grill brush. The one I personally use is the Grillaholics Bristle Free Grill Brush. This brush has multiple surfaces and edges to attack and remove dirt from your cooking grates.
A nylon brush can also be used, but only when the grill is cold. Other options include the $19 Grillaholics Essentials Nylon Brush and the $25 Easy Function Wood Grill Scraper. The wood grill scraper is a great option because it has no bristles and can be done on a hot grill.
Inevitably, perhaps at the start of grilling season, the time will come to deep clean your grill or smoker. To loosen stubborn, carbonized gunk and grime, soak the grates in soapy water overnight. Another option is to treat the grill grates with a grill cleaner like Citrus Safe.
Preventing Future Deposits
Certain practices help prevent dirt and grease build-up in the first place. One method is to apply a small amount of cooking oil to the hot grill grates just before grilling. Similarly, scrubbing the grill grates with raw onions is another method you can try. If you're using a bristle-free grill brush or the wooden scraper, I would recommend scraping the grate before and after grilling.
Another tactic is to rub the open side of a sliced (cut in half) onion over the hot grill grates. The idea here is to flavor the grates while adding moisture. Organic compounds supposedly are released, too, which break down stubborn grease and dirt. I've found that it's not as effective as scrubbing, but it certainly creates a wonderful smell.
Of course, performing a full cleaning every few months is the best method to enjoy a grill that's spic and span. A little elbow grease goes a long way.
Until next time, eat well and do well!