Summer means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, outdoor grilling is an important part of enjoying the warmer weather.
But before you fire that gas or charcoal grill up, take a moment to consider what’s been going on with it since you last used it. It likely sat in the corner of your garage collecting dust, rust, and who-knows-what-pest all winter long. Just as you wouldn’t cook an egg in a dirty skillet, you shouldn’t throw that juicy steak on a dirty grate, either.
Whether you’re a charcoal lover or you prefer the convenience of a gas grill, here are a few helpful tips for cleaning your grill for another season.
Cleaning a Charcoal Grill
Nothing tastes better than food cooked on a charcoal grill, but that’s only if you clean and maintain it properly.
Begin by removing the grates and scrubbing them well with soap and water. Use steel wool for any tough, stuck-on bits. Rinse the grates well and coat with cooking oil.
*Note – Avoid using oven cleaner on the grate as it can damage the surface and leave behind toxic chemicals that can transfer to your food.
If any ashes remain in the bottom of the grill, dump them out and then use soap and water to clean the inside.
Cleaning a Gas Grill
Gas grills are extremely convenient as they heat quickly, and the temperature is easy to control for even cooking. It’s important to inspect and clean your gas grill regularly.
First, shut off the gas at the tank and remove the tank. Place newspapers under the grill to protect your deck or patio. Follow your owner’s manual for removing the venturi tubes off the gas lines and taking out the burner. Wash what you can with a soft cloth dampened in soapy water. Allow the grill to dry.
While the grill is drying, inspect the gas connections and ports for clogs. Pests can build nests or grease can build up in these tiny ports, causing the grill to not work properly. Use a toothpick or other small, pointy object to clean out the openings so gas can flow freely.
Follow the owner’s manual for reassembly once everything is clean and dry.
You can keep your charcoal or gas grill in great condition by taking time after each use to clean it. After you’ve removed the food, allow the grill to continue heating with the lid closed for another 15 minutes. This will “cook off” any food left on the grate. Using a wire brush, brush the grate well and season it with cooking oil, if necessary.
You should give your grill a good cleaning every six months, or at the beginning and end of the grilling season.