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Properly Clean and Maintain your Grill

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1-grilling some chicken-flickr-camknows
Photo credit: camknows / Flickr

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A clean and well-maintained barbecue grill will eliminate the risk of the food not prepared correctly, and it will extend the lifespan of the grill. Depending on the type of grill you have, electric, gas, charcoal or a smoker, there may be a specific type of maintenance required.

Therefore, it is important to carefully review the manufacturer’s instructions. However, the general cleaning and routine maintenance is the same for all barbecue grills.

Routine Maintenance

The most important thing you can do to keep your grill in good condition is to clean it after each use. When grease, burnt food particles and dirt accumulate on the grates, it can reduce the number of years you can use the grill, and it will have an effect on the taste of the food.

After grilling, allow the grill to cool down before cleaning. Using a brass wire brush, remove any grease and food particles, wipe the grates with damp cloth and dry with a soft cloth. Once the grates have been cleaned off, remove them from the grill, and spray a light coating of cooking oil on it. Replace the grate and close the lid.

Deep Cleaning

Typically the grill should be deep cleaned after about 7 to 8 uses, depending on what you cooked, and the amount of grease that has built up. The grill should also be thoroughly cleaned before storing for the winter, and before the first use in the spring.

It is important to use the proper cleaning equipment, which includes a stiff wire brush, steel wool soap pads, a sponge, dish-washing soap, baking soda and a can of spray cooking oil.

Charcoal and Smoker Grills

Before you begin cleaning, empty all of the ashes and leftover charcoal from the grill. Use a wire brush to loosen grease and food particles that has fallen into the coal bin. If there is a buildup that cannot be removed with the wire brush, lightly scrub with a wet steel wool pad, wipe the bin out with a wet cloth and dry.

Cleaning the Racks

The racks are the steel grates used to cook the food on, so it is important to clean them correctly. Use the wire brush to loosen food and grease from the racks.

Remove the racks and lightly scrub with a soapy steel wool pad and warm, soapy water. Rinse the racks completely to remove all of the soap and dry with a soft cloth. Set the racks aside until you have cleaned the rest of the grill.

Cleaning the Small Parts

Wet a sponge with warm, soapy water and sprinkle baking soda on the sponge. Use the sponge to clean around the hinges, handles, knobs and burner surfaces, rinsing the sponge and adding more baking soda frequently.

Rinse the sponge out and use clean water to remove any excess baking soda from the grill. Dry the parts using a soft cloth.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel scratches fairly easily, so do not use a metal brush, steel wool or abrasive cleaners on the outside surface of the grill. Instead, use a wet sponge, dish-soap and baking soda to gently scrub the outside surface of the grill. If there is food or grease stuck on the stainless steel, use a rubber scraper to remove it. Rinse the outside surface with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.

If the stainless steel is polished, use a soft cloth and vinegar to polish the steel after cleaning. After the entire grill is cleaned, replace the racks and spray with cooking oil.

It is recommended that you invest in a grill cover to protect the grill from the elements. The grill cover should fit snug around the grill, and it should be long enough to cover the entire body of the grill. Keep the cover on the grill and store in a cool, dry place for the winter.

When spring arrives, thoroughly inspect the grill to make sure there are no nests, critters or pests that have taken up residence in the grill during the winter.


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