Get your Grill on!
Summer is fast approaching, this means the start of the grilling season. Even if you are the die-hard “I’ll-grill-in-a-snow-storm” type, in order to get the best performance from your grill, you need to keep that grill clean! Continue on with this post for some great tips on how to keep and get your grill ready to BBQ!
Now I know all of you have been really, really good keeping that grill clean all last summer, right? We all know, the best way to clean a grill is to not let greasy, charred bits build up and I know you have been diligently cleaning your grill after each use. Wait, you haven’t? It’s ok, I am guilty of grill neglect this past summer (as seen in the photo). As you read these tips remember to always consult your manual & follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific grill.
Clean grates = good eats
If your grates are full of burnt food, chances are your food will pick up that burnt flavor and not taste very good, no matter what you prepare, so starting on a clean surface is imperative. The key to cleaning the grates sucessfully is to scrape them while the grill is still warm. This will make removing those charred bits much easier.
Some people will resort to using harmful chemicals such as oven cleaner to tackle a dirty grill. This is not necessary at all! There are many different ways to clean that burnt on mess without using a single chemical. The first method uses the residual heat from the grill to burn the mess off. Once you are finished cooking, lay a sheet of tin foil on the grates to help turn any remaining food into ash. After about 30 minutes, remove foil and use a stiff wire brush (consult your manual first as to what type of grill brush is recommended) or wad up the tin foil and place between a pair of tongs to gently scrape grates until clean. You can supercharge the cleaning power of your grill brush by dipping it in a solution of 3 parts of baking soda with 1 part water before while cleaning the grates. Once clean, wipe down with a damp cloth.
If you have neglected your grill for awhile you might want to get yourself a Grill Daddy. It performs like an ordinary wire brush but it also releases water on the grates, creating steam which speeds up the cleaning process. Speaking of steam, if you happen to own a steam cleaner with a concentrated nozzle or even better, a grill brush attachment, you can steam clean your BBQ. If you are a steam junky like us, you will love how we can clean your entire home with our chemical free cleaning system.
If the grates have a heavy build up or you are breaking out the grill after an extended vacation you might want to soak the grates. Fill your sink or a large pail with hot water, 1/4 cup of Dawn (a powerful de-greaser) and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Let it sit for about hour. Remove from water and scrub clean with a non-scratch nylon pad.
Don’t have Dawn? Try using this baking soda method. Make a soft paste of 1 part baking soda to 1 part water and coat the grates. Leave on for 15 minutes then scrub throughly with a non-scratch nylon pad. This can be done right on the BBQ if you don’t want to remove the grates. Wipe clean with a damp cloth then turn on the grill to burn away any baking soda residue.
Cleaning the interior
Using steam is a great way to clean the entire inside of the grill as well. If you don’t want to take apart the inside of the entire grill to in order to use your steamer try this handy little tip. First scrape of as much caked on food as possible as soon as you are finished cooking. Soak a newspaper and place it on the warm grates and close. Wait up to 45 minutes (do not let the newspaper dry out) to allow the steam to loosen the burn food remnants. Most of the stuck on food should be easily removed with wire brush. Finish by wiping the inside with a damp rag and warm soapy water. you don’t need to clean the interior of your grill every time but I would consider doing it every 4th or 5th time just to keep clean-up a easier for the next go around.
After you have scraped, steamed and scrubbed your grill you will want to direct your eyes to that little collector pan underneath the grill. Once you are finished cooking and the ashes have cooled, this should be emptied each time you grill (or at least every second time) Allowing these ashes to collect in the bottom of the grill over time will impede air flow and can collect moisture, causing your grill to rust.
Don’t forget the outside!
After your grill has cooled you can clean the exterior stainless steel and chrome components of your grill with baking soda. Simply sprinkle the baking soda onto a damp sponge and gently rub over the exterior surfaces to remove those greasy cooking spatters. Rinse with water and buff to a shine.