Food & Drink

How to clean a grill

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How to clean a grill and helpful grilling tips

Grilling is a time when you can get together with friends, family, and loved ones to cook, eat, and be merry. The steak sizzling on the barbeque. The smell wafting up, in through the screen door, past the slobbering dog, and into the kitchen. 

And what a mess. Come to find out there are a variety of ways in which to keep your barbeque clean. Some even involve "dirtying" it up. We'll explain in the coming paragraphs how to clean a grill.

It's All About the Grate

The grate may be one of the most important parts of your barbeque. It's what the food touches every time you lay the prime rib, steak, corn, fish, and burgers onto as the flames lick up from below.

It's important to keep the grate clean.  To do this:
  • Heat the barbeque to a high heat
  • Allow the grate to soak up the heat for a few minutes
  • Around five minutes should do to burn away chunks of remaining and burned on food from your last bbq adventure

Take your grill brush and take care of anything that remains, cleaning the grate of the burnt offerings still stuck. Use a brush with a long handle and sturdy design that will last on repeated uses.

For grate care after the season ends, take it out and place it in the sink. Soak it for a few hours in water and dish soap -- or use a cleaning spray on it -- and then scrub off the remaining build-up with a brush. Do not use bleach or other such abrasive chemicals on the grate when you clean.

Preparation for Cooking

Oil will be a necessity for certain meals on your barbeque. A light olive oil rub can do wonders for you. Instead of pulling off the steak and the grate that it's stuck to, you'll be taking just the steak onto your plate. Put a little bit of olive oil on a paper towel -- using tongs -- and rub the grate, evenly distributing the oil. As you probably don't want to blow up your backyard, use just a little bit of oil in your preparation.

What?  I Shouldn't Clean After Each Cooking Session?

The ribs and vegetables were delicious. But the barbeque looks like it just went through a war zone. No problem. The gunk on the barbeque can actually help to protect it between cooking sessions. Rust will be kept at bay.

Just pick up the larger food chunks and leave the blackened mess for the next barbequing session.

What If I Cook with Charcoal?

For charcoal, it will be important to clean out the ash that has compiled in your barbeque. If you don't do this crucial step, moisture can collect, which will create a moisture/ash hybrid that is almost like cement. Thus, you'll be spending a lot more time cleaning in the long run if you don't clean out the ash in the short term. Head over to the Serious Eats webpage in order to find out more about cleaning the ash from your charcoal barbeque.

Cleaning Routine

Try for around once a month to clean the outside of the barbeque in order to keep it looking sharp. The grate and the ash are the most important parts of the interior of the barbeque that you need to clean. A dirty inside will actually help with overall temperature control, which means it will hold specific temperatures better than a newer and cleaner variation of barbeque. It actually pays dividends to have a somewhat dirty barbeque to call your own. Thus, it's not necessarily about how to clean a grill but how best to dirty it up.


Serious Eats: Guide to Grilling: Keeping a Grill Clean.

TLC Cooking: How to Clean Your Grill.

Above photo attributed to Marion Doss

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