When the weather is nice, you probably spend a lot of time grilling out with friends and family. Instead of dirtying pots, pans and countertops, you can use your trusty grill to revel in your outdoor kitchen. Regular grill maintenance helps ensure that your electric, gas or charcoal model lasts for many seasons to come. With these simple grill cleaning tips and techniques, you'll be able to clean your barbecue and keep it in top condition.
Before You Clean
Check the Grill to Ensure Safe Handling
Before you start cleaning, make sure that there are no hot coals remaining in the pit of a charcoal grill. If you own a gas model, remember to disconnect the fuel source before starting.
Remove all the Parts
For a major cleaning, start by lifting the grill parts out, piece by piece. Wear durable gloves to protect your hands as you pull out the grimy, heavy pieces.
Cleaning the Grill
In a gas model, clean the grill burners so they're not clogged with grease or food debris. If the burners are getting old, and you are unable to remove blockage or food particles, you can replace them with new parts.
The Grill's Base and Firebox Tray
Brush away remaining burnt food and ashes on the base and edges of the grill with a wire grill brush and scraper. With the grates removed, you'll be able to reach areas you may not regularly clean. Make sure to clean all areas of the base to avoid unpleasant smoke that could impair the flavor of future grilled dishes.
Make sure you alsp clean all the food debris and grease from the firebox tray at the bottom of your grill as well. This will help extend the life of the tray and may prevent flare ups.
The Grill Grates
Cleaning grates can be tricky depending on the type of grill grates in you have. For the best results, check the manufacturer's suggestions about your specific grill and grates, but if you can't access them, follow these simple suggestions:
Additional Grill Maintenance Tips
Do This at the Start and End of the Grilling Season
If you live in a locale where wintertime grilling isn't possible, it's important to thoroughly clean your grill before you start using it for the season and again before you put it away for the winter. If you grill all year long, you should still do this a couple times per year to keep your grill clean and well-maintained.
Grease the Food, Not the Grill Grates
To prevent food from sticking to the grates, use oil on the food itself instead of the grates. This will keep excess oil from dripping through the grates to the bottom of the grill, helping you to keep it clean throughout the season.
Clean After Every Use
If you want your appliance to stay in excellent condition for many years, it's necessary to clean the grill after each use. This doesn't have to be a complete scrub down, but you'll want to make sure that the grill is ready the next time you cook. It's important to remove any excess food, which can become dangerous if left on the grill over a long period.
It's also easier to clean your grill shortly after cooking than waiting until the food has caked itself to the grates. All you need to do is clean the grates with your grill brush and wipe down the exterior of the grill. If your grill grates need a little extra cleaning, wash them the same way you would at the beginning and end of the grilling season.