With Memorial Day weekend over, the barbecuing season is officially in full swing! Hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled veggies are a staple this time of year. But you want to enjoy the great outdoors—and the great food—without all the mess or cleanup.
It’s important to keep your grill clean in order to protect its lifespan and longevity and to ensure your food always tastes delicious!
Below you’ll find the simplest ways to keep your grill clean after every use this season!
After you’ve cooked your delicious meal, leave your grill on high for 15 minutes. This will turn any leftover food particles to ash, which is easier to clean than caked on food. Then, turn off the grill and let it cool down.
When it’s moderately warm, but not too hot, disconnect the gas and start step number 2. Ash can collect moisture and bacteria, so it’s important to continue on to the following steps to fully clean your grill.
You want to keep food, grease, bacteria, and debris from accumulating on the grates—the grates are what touch your food each and every time you use the grill! Clean the grill grates with a steel grill brush. The best grill brush will have firm bristles and a scouring pad. If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to invest! In the meantime, you can try a crumpled up piece of aluminum foil, but take care to not burn yourself.
If you had a heavier cooking day, you may want to spray the grates with a barbecue grill cleaner to help the scrubbing process along. Don’t forget to take out the grates and scrub the bottom, too!
Some people say that it’s not a good idea to clean your grill’s grates right after you cook because the build-up of food can fight against rust. However, this isn’t a great idea, as it could breed bacteria or damage the grates long-term. Rather than taking the lazy approach (as we all may want to), you should clean the grates thoroughly. Then spray vegetable oil on top to keep the grates slick and prevent rusting. You can also oil the grates before cooking to prevent sticking.
Note: do not spray oil on while flame or grill is on. If the grill is on, dip a wadded paper towel in a little oil and use tongs to wipe on the grate.
The burner protectors shield the burners from grease and debris—and it’s the protectors’ job to get dirty! But a protector that is too dirty can prevent your burners from doing their job and it can even introduce bacteria into your food. So they need to be cleaned often!
The best way to do this is to remove the burner protectors from the grill and sponge them in a bucket of soapy water. Rinse with a wet rag. Do this every few times you grill.
Two or three times a season, you’ll want to get really down and dirty to get your grill extra clean!
Underneath the burner protectors are the burners themselves. You may not want to remove these for fear of damaging your grill. Instead, just take a soapy sponge and clean off the parts that you can easily reach. Rinse with a wet rag. The burners usually have ash residue, not food, so it should be fairly easy to get the built up gunk off.
Under the burners are the plates. You can usually pull these out easily between the burners. Clean the plates with the grill brush. This will get rid of large chunks of grease and food to keep your air filtration in your grill clean. You want just the right type of smoky!
Underneath the plates and burners are the bottom tray that collects grease and debris. This tray can usually be taken out from the side, underneath your grill. This doesn’t affect the quality of food, but too much debris can clog up your grill. You’ll want to clean this a few times per season as well.
Some of the gunk will be loose and easy to dispose of, but a lot will also be caked on. Use your grill brush or a scouring pad to remove the debris. Wash the tray with soapy water, rinse, and dry. Put the tray back into position under the burners.
If you want to wow your guests with a great outdoor space, your grill needs to be spotless. But you don’t need any fancy cleaning methods—just a rag of dish soap and water will do the trick! Make sure that you always go over it with a wet rag afterward to remove any soap residue that could cause rust or stains. If you have a stainless steel grill, you should use a stainless steel grill cleaner to keep it looking its best.
Make sure you always keep your grill covered to protect it from the elements and critters. Most grills will come with an appropriate cover, so be sure to throw it on after each use. Even a sunny day can heat up your grill and damage the outer layers.
Protecting your grill with a cover is protecting your summer days.