Maintain and Clean Your Grill

Maintain and Clean Your Grill

Cooking on the grill is one of the best parts of warm weather. Get the best from your grill. Learn how to properly clean and maintain your gas or charcoal grill.

Cleaning Gas or Charcoal Grills

There is much debate as to which type of grill cooks better: Charcoal or gas. But one thing they have in common is how easy they are to clean. To maintain a gas or a charcoal grill all you need is a rag, a wire brush and some cooking oil.

Routine Maintenance

Routine brushing of the grates prevents food and bacterial buildup. A brass wire brush is best for clearing and cleaning off surfaces. After each use, wash and soak your brush in hot soapy water. Then hang dry it with the brush upside down on a grill hanger. Drying the brush naturally ensures the bristles will last a long time. After your brush is dry, keep it indoors to reduce weather exposure to the bristles.

After you've brushed down your grill and the grates are at a cool temperature, spray it down with some cooking oil. This prevents your grill from rusting and ensures a long life. If you don't have cooking spray, another option is to pour some oil on your rag and wipe down the cast iron grates.

Cleaning the burners is also important as burners can accumulate grease and food, leading to uneven temperatures along your surface. After the burners have cooled, scrub with a wire brush evenly and clean around the ports to ensure food and grease have not amassed.

Cleaning out grease traps is important because grease is highly flammable and can cause a fire or heat up all surfaces, including the handles.

For charcoal grills, it's important to dump all used charcoal or ash after each use. After dumping out the remains, clean the insides with a wire brush. Ash catchers also need to be cleaned. By keeping the bed of your grill clean, you'll cut down on excess smoke and bad flavors.

Semi-Annual Cleaning

Several times throughout the year, it's smart to dismantle your grill and give it an extensive cleaning. If you have a gas grill, disconnect the propane tank before beginning the process. Then, soak the grates in soapy water and scrub. If the racks are especially dirty, you can use a steel wool pad. After cleaning your grill, turn it on and let it cook for 10 minutes. This will allow any residual cleaning supplies to burn off.

It's also a good idea to check the chassis for rust. Rust easily comes off with a stiff wire brush or a steel wool pad. The joints, connectors and fasteners should also be inspected to ensure they aren't corroding. And re-tightening fasteners, replacing grill appendages (wheels, knobs and handles) and checking hinges is a good idea.

Polishing Your Grill

To polish your grill, sprinkle some baking soda on a sponge and clean off all exterior surfaces. Aluminum foil gently rubbed along your grill can help remove grime and buildup. If you notice any missing paint, grill-safe paint is a good option.

Cleaning Infrared and Rotisserie Burners

After every use, turn on your infrared burner on high for 10 minutes. To cleanup of bigger messes, mix water and lemon juice together and spray on the grates. Then run the infrared burner for 10 minutes. For extra stubborn pieces, uses a sharp razor blade after the burners have been turned off and remove the material. After burning off the remains, wipe the grates with a clean rag or cloth.

For rotisserie burners, the best cleaning method is to burn off excess grease and debris. To do this, just turn the burner on for 10 minutes and cook the remainders.  After burning off the remains, wipe the grates with a clean rag or cloth.

When cleaning the exterior of your infrared grill, follow the suggestions for gas or charcoal grills.

Cleaning a Stainless Steel Grill

The key to cleaning a stainless steel grill is being gentle. Mixing a mild dishwashing detergent with water and scrubbing the surface is a perfect solution.  It's also smart to let the mild detergent sit on the grill for a few minutes before scrubbing it off. Afterwards, rinse with warm water and a clean cloth or rag. To remove finger prints or minor stains, use a standard glass cleaner and wipe in a circular motion. Rags or paper towels are suggested as wool pads will harm the stainless steel surface.

Tips on Maintaining Your Grill

To keep your grill in tip-top shape, follow these tips.

Tip 1 - Since most grills are left exposed to the great outdoors, you should always cover your grill. Grill covers are available in all shapes and sizes.

Tip 2 - If your grill sits on pavement, place a tarp or a grill matt underneath it to catch debris, grease and food.
Tip 3 - Replacing your grill parts is important. And many manufacturers come with a lifetime guarantee on certain parts. Save your book and any warranty information.
Tip 4 - Give your grill a thorough cleaning every five to 10 uses.
Tip 5 - Clean the venturi tubes. Venturies are the tubes that mix air and gas and feed to the burners. They need to be clear to work properly. The tubes make good homes for spiders and insects during the off-season. Even a small blockage can become a fire hazard. Remove the entire burner/tube assembly and clean with soapy water. Clean the holes with a wire brush, paper clip or toothpick. Replace when dry.
Tip 6 - Never place a grill in a garage, breezeway, carport or under any surface that is flammable. Keep your grill at least 10 feet from the house.
Tip 7 - When storing LP containers, always store upright in a secure position. And never store them in your car.
Article by Lowes
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