Everyone loves to grill their favorite BBQ, but when it comes to the cleanup, the enthusiasm kind of falls to the wayside. BBQ grills tend to take the brunt of the abuse that cooking and inadequate cleaning can bring. Not properly cleaning your BBQ grill parts can lead to loose food particles being burnt on and your BBQ having a bad taste to it. In some worst case scenarios, a lack of cleaning can even cause your grill to cease functioning. Regardless of what type of grill you cook on, every surface needs to be cleaned, in order to keep your grill in top shape year in and year out.
When it comes to charcoal grills, they are by far the easiest to clean out after use. Unfortunately, most people elect to simply dump the used briquettes and ashes out when they’re done. The cleaning needs to be a bit more thorough than that. Use a wire brush to thoroughly sweep out baked on remnants after cooking, being sure to scrub out the stuff that tends to collect at the bottom. Even if you have an ash catcher attached, it’s still a good idea to get in there and scrub the charcoal grill out. To keep your grill looking its best, grab a bucket of soapy water and wash it out at least once a year.
Gas grills are a bit harder to clean, and with most grills being sold with a “clean” function, a lot of people mistakenly believe that these grills are “self-cleaning”. The “Clean” feature on most grills is actually a preheating feature that helps with cleaning, but it doesn’t do all the work itself. Like a charcoal grill, you’ll have to get in and brush it out after use. At least once a year, do a thorough cleaning of your gas grill. This means you’ll have to take it apart to an extent. Disconnect the gas and start by removing the grill parts one by one, inspecting and cleaning each part as you go along. When you see the burners, inspect them to make sure that there is nothing blocking the flow of gas. Clean the burner off with a wire brush if you can. If it is too clogged up, you may have to replace it. If your gas grill uses ceramic briquettes, inspect these to make sure they are not heavily caked on with cooked food. After you have everything out of the grill, wash it down with soap and water.
The grates on any type of grill require the most attention, as this is where food has the most direct contact on. Therefore, grates should be cleaned thoroughly after every use. The best time to clean a grate is shortly after you’re done grilling, once the grill itself has cooled down a bit. Then you can take a wire brush and scrub away food particles that are still on the grate. If you want to do a more thorough job, you can use any number of cleaning products made for cleaning BBQ crates. If you are cleaning cast iron grilling grates, clean them thoroughly with a wire brush, and then rub it down with a rag soaked in olive or vegetable oil, to prevent rust from forming.