Some gurus of grilling claim that leaving a well-used grill—as-is—contributes to the flavour, but a clean BBQ grill is a healthy grill. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to clean your BBQ grill.
Greasy debris left to linger on a grill turns rancid. Insects and mold can gather inside a neglected grill. That’s not very appetizing. Give your BBQ a thorough cleaning at least once a year, twice if you use it regularly. A BBQ is an investment, and proper maintenance will prevent flare-ups and help it last longer.
You’ll need heat for some of the steps but remember to close off the valves and disconnect the tank or hose before removing any parts. Your BBQ’s manual will guide you through part removal.
Step-By-Step BBQ Grill Cleaning Tips:
- Gather your supplies
- Clean BBQ briquettes
- Clean BBQ grates
- Clean BBQ heat plates
- Clean inside the hood
- Keep the exterior looking like new
Gather your supplies
Before you clean your BBQ grill, make sure you have everything you’ll need to get the job done:
- grill brush
- cooking oil
- soft cloth or brush for oil application
- toothpicks or paper clips
- grilling gloves
- paper or garbage bags
- BBQ grill cleaner
Clean BBQ briquettes
Ceramic briquettes or lava rocks at the bottom of a gas grill are designed to last for years, but they can also gather everything from grease to mold. If they’re visibly moldy, throw them out and replace them. Mold spores are dangerous if inhaled.
The fix is pretty simple for greasy briquettes. Turn them over, so the grease is facing down and fire up the BBQ on high for 15 minutes. Any briquettes that come clean can stay. If they don’t, toss and replace them. You should also remove any briquettes or rocks that are cracked or broken.
Clean BBQ grates
Once again, heat is your friend. Turn the BBQ grill burners on high. For a charcoal grill, use double the usual amount of charcoal. Leave the grill on high for about 15 minutes to burn off any charred bits of food and built-up grease. Scrape the grates with a wire brush. Once all particles are removed, season with a light coating of cooking oil. A little oil applied before each cook (with a cloth or brush) will also help prevent build-up.
Clean BBQ burners and heat plates
Heat plates distribute the heat evenly to the grill. They also catch whatever falls through. Once your BBQ has cooled, remove the plates and scrub them with a wire brush. Cracked plates should be replaced. If you have a charcoal grill, kiss your ash goodbye! Ash buildup affects performance and the taste of your food. Sweep, scrape and even vacuum out the ash. Left to collect, it can cause corrosion.
Clean inside the hood
The black scaly stuff trapped under the hood is produced by carbon build-up, soot, and other grilling residues. To remove this scaly built-up guck, first, cover the cooled-down grill with paper or a garbage bag to catch falling residue. Put on a pair of grill gloves, grab your wire brush and scrape off the flakes inside the hood that, if not removed, could end up on your food.
Keep the exterior looking like new
Here is where the wire brush gets a rest! Wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth and then clean and polish with a good quality BBQ grill cleaner. Never use a cleaner that has an abrasive agent—and never use brushes or any other abrasive material to clean the exterior of your grill.
Harsh oven cleaners should never be used in—or on—your BBQ. Instead, use a product that specifically says it can be used on BBQs, like this cleaner by Weiman. It leaves a streak-free shine on your stainless-steel surface. This formula also leaves a protective barrier to help prevent future fingerprints and dust. Suitable for indoor and outdoor stainless-steel surfaces.
It’s a great time to give your BBQ a once-over. Make sure the lid closes properly to keep out mold-inducing moisture and critters. Check that other outside parts, such as wheels, are intact and working well. Remember to also clean the meat thermometer probe and other utensils and accessories.
In all, you’ll spend about an hour per season making sure your BBQ is clean, and all its pieces are ready to go. Regular maintenance will keep your BBQ looking good, and producing great-tasting food, for years to come.
See also: Best BBQ Brands at Walmart