Use A Wire Brush Every Time You Cook
The idea when you cook on a charcoal grill is to taste the food and the fire, not the rack upon which you cook the meal. The residue remaining from the last time you grilled results in unwelcome flavors and unsanitary cooking conditions. Remove that residue before it gets a chance to set in, and your food and family benefit.
A pass with a metal brush keeps the build-up off your grill and away from your food. Keep a stiff-bristled wire brush next to the grill, and get it ready to go whenever you cook.
Give the grates a quick brush before you begin cooking and brush away any burnt food or grease after you finish. A little attention and elbow grease keep impurities and bad flavors at bay. Wire brushes are also ideal tools for deep cleaning a cast iron grill.
How To Clean A Grill
To keep your grill ready for cookout after cookout, you do have to give it a quick clean. Heres how to clean a grill to keep it ready for a summer full of barbecues.
- Brush the grates: After youre done cooking and while the grate is still hot, use a grill brush to clean the grate of any major debris. The heat will make some of the baked-on mess easier to remove.
- Clean the grates: If the grates are still a bit grimy after brushing, you can give them a serious clean by soaking them in hot water and dish soap. Use a good dish scrubber to get rid of any extra dirt.
- Remove the ash: When the grill is completely cool, remove the grates and empty out any ash or leftover coals into a metal container.
- Clean the interior: If you notice the bowl of your grill getting a little grubby, use a wire brush or steel wool to get rid of any stuck-on mess. For a deep clean, scrub the interior with warm water and dish soap, then rinse.
- Wipe the exterior: Keep the outside of your grill looking shiny by giving it a quick wipe with warm water and soap.
You dont need to complete every step every time you grill, but its a good practice to at least make sure youre starting with clean grates each timethis will prevent any flame flare-ups. And if you want your grill to keep looking its best, be sure to store it in a garage or shed when not in use. You can also invest in a grill cover.
How Often One Needs To Clean A Charcoal Grill
Well, it depends on how often you use your grill. If you are an avid grill lover and put your grilling gloves on every other weekend, then you should do a little cleaning touchup after every use. By little cleaning touchup, we mean rubbing the grates with sandpaper or a boar bristle brush after every use.
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Clean The Grill Inside And Out
Remove coals and ash from the inside by dumping them into a trash bag. If your grill is equipped with an ash catcher, you can use it, but you may still need to remove some ash by hand. Wipe the inside and outside with a rag. Wash the grill using dish detergent and hot water. After cleaning by hand, hose down the grill and grates and let them dry.
Keep A Safe Temperature
Step 3: Soak the Grates
Once youve scraped off as much of the stuck-on food debris and carbon buildup as possible, remove the grates, place them in a bucket full of warm, soapy water, and allow them to soak for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4: Clean the Burner Hoods
While theyre usually not as dirty as the grill grates themselves, the burner hoodsthe plates located directly above the burnersneed to be kept clean, too. To get started, dip a sponge into the hot, soapy water and use the scouring pad side of the sponge to remove all of the grease and grime from each of the burner hoods.
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Brush The Grate One More Time
To get rid of the last bits of food that may still be there.
The grate is the part of the grill that you place food on. Thats the only part of the grill that comes in contact with the food, hence its important to keep it clean and well-kept. Its also for your own safety, clean grate means less chance of grilling flare-ups. You can skip this point if you were cooking your food in a pan.
Use the included handles to remove the grate safely.
Make Sure You Have The Right Tool Kit
The first thing to take care of before you start cleaning your charcoal grill is your toolkit. You need a few cleaning supplies in order to keep your grill in pristine condition, but most of these are basic household items you may already have on hand.
The most important tool to have on hand is a grill brush. Brushes with tough bristles are the most effective at scraping away grease, ash, and other particles you dont want in your food.
They also dont decompose as you use them, like some sponges or rags.
Your charcoal grill may have come with its own grill brush. If not, you can easily purchase a solid brush online or through a local supplier. Opt for quality here rather than a lower price tag, as youll be using this brush frequently in the future.
In addition to a solid grill brush, make sure you have thick rubber cleaning gloves, plastic bags, a putty knife, dish soap and a basin, and aluminum foil.
You also want to clean your grill in a safe area. If youre cleaning your backyard grill, clean it to the side of the yard or even at the foot of your driveway.
If youre cleaning a grill youve taken camping, make sure you clean it away from any public areas, walking paths, or other sites that animals might visit.
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Deep Cleaning Of A Charcoal Grill
Cooking food over an open fire is perhaps the oldest true cooking technique that we have as human beings. Charcoal grills can get buildups of carbon, rust, and ash that can get really gross and even pose a safety hazard for the food â or at the least an aesthetic hazard for anyone looking at the grill! You should deep clean your charcoal grill at least a couple of times a year if you use it pretty often. If you arenât grilling often, then you might be able to get away with only a single deep clean per year.
Cleaning a Charcoal Grill
If youâve got a basket, like the Kick Ash Basket, then it will be really easy to clean. Here are the tools and grill cleaning tips that youâll need to clean your charcoal grill:
After youâve gathered those supplies, youâll start by cleaning both the grill and charcoal grates. If you have a basket or grate that can be removed, definitely remove it to get some better leverage and angles with the brush. If you have a charcoal grill that has a grate for the charcoal as well, also scrub that. While youâve been giving your grill a quick scrub after each use with the brush, youâll want to give a little more elbow grease into this round of cleaning.
Next, put your hand inverse into a plastic bag and reach into the grill, wiping out any of the dirt or debris that is at the bottom of the grill. Finally, use soap and water to clean the whole outside of the lid and grill with a bit of soap and water.
Boil The Grill To Restore It
Boiling water is an underappreciated cleaner that takes on all sorts of grease and dirt without batting an eye. When you run across a filthy grill that requires a serious cleaning session to get it back to working order, give boiling water a shot.
This cleaning method doesnt use harmful chemicals and works like a dream on the worst-looking grills.
- Trash bags
Put on your safety gear to avoid burns, and bring the boiling water to the grill. Use scrubbers and other tools to apply the water and rinse the grill with more boiling water as you work to keep the grill free of debris. Continue until the grill is clean and food-ready.
We hope you had a fascinating journey exploring our grill cleaning recommendations. Charcoal grills provide tasty meals all season, but grease and soot build up and turn a relaxing outdoor activity into a nightmare. Our look at charcoal grill maintenance shows you the best ways to keep your grill happy and cookout-ready.
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Get Your Grill Clean With Oil
Oil and heat combine to create non-stick metal surfaces that are easy to keep clean. If you have stainless steel grates, clean them with oil once a month during the season to maintain them.
Spending a few minutes on your grill with oil and paper towels prevents food from sticking and makes your charcoal grates ready to take on the sloppiest meals without backing down.
Place charcoal in the grill, and light it. Wait until the coals are hot, then add oil to a paper towel and use the tongs to spread the oil onto the grill grates.
Use enough oil to coat the metal but not enough to cause them grates to drip. Too much oil leads to flare-ups. Wait a few minutes, and then cook your meal as usual.
How To Clean A Cast Iron Grill
Cast iron is super tricky. Like, how are you supposed to clean something without using soap? Quite the riddle.
- Itâs best to burn off any food built up on your cast iron grill by cranking the grillâs heat way up with the lid on.
- Once the grates cool, you can use a bristled grill brush to scrub the grates.
- Use minimal water on cast iron, otherwise it can develop rust.
- Coating your cast iron with a light layer of vegetable oil after and in between uses helps to protect the grates against rust.
Now youâre all set to fire up the grill, without having to worry about the grimy ghosts from last summerâs burnt bratwursts coming back to haunt this weekâs grilled romaine and black bean burgers. So set the clocks ahead an hour, pour yourself a Moscow Mule and bust out the bug spray. Spring has sprung, baby.
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Dispose Of All The Ash
Carefully remove the grates from inside the grill and rub them with sandpaper or any other abrasive to wipe clean all the ash powder. Also, empty out the ash catchers made below the bowl. Some grill models dont have them. In this case, your standard garden trowel or any other pointed scooped tool can come in handy for collecting and disposing of the ash buildup.
How You Know Its Time To Clean Your Grill
The easiest way to know when its time to clean your grill is by looking it over carefully. Chunks of food, greasy surfaces, carbon buildupthat layer of black crust that often formsrusty grates, and ashes are all sure signs that its time to clean your grill. Regardless, while you should wipe down your grill after each use, its recommended that you do a deep clean it at least twice a year, no matter the type of grill.
When you have lots of food crusted onto your grill grates or grease dripping down from them, you run the risk of having grill flare-ups. This is another big indicator that your grill needs a good cleaning right away.
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What To Do With Charcoal
All SE grilling recipes »
The end-of-the-day, just-ate-a-ton-of-meat laziness is kicking in, and with it, the total desire to ignore a problem at hand: the remains of spent fuel.
I implore you, overcome your meat coma and clean out that ash. See, a pile of ash left in the grill can collect moisture, and ash plus moisture can equal a cement-like substance that can become your biggest challenge to cleaning your grillif you can manage to clean it out at all.
To make quick work of this, I keep a big bucket by the grill where I can dump ash at days end. Not only am I more likely to complete this annoying chore if it’s that much easier, but I can also safely move still warm coals out of the grill to finish extinguishing. I store that bucket somewhere where it won’t get wet, then trash the collection of ash when it’s full and I’m positive there’s no coals still burning.
Ash disposal becomes even easier if you opt for lump charcoal, since it creates relatively little ash when compared to briquettes.
Clean Your Grills Interior With Oven Cleaner
It might seem fruitless even to attempt to clean your grills interior. Coals burn in your grill every day, so why bother cleaning the metal when a new load of ash arrives all the time?
A clean grill performs better, though, and ash and grease buildup often block ventilation holes that help your firebox or propane outlets burn clean. Using an oven cleaner on your grill once a season keeps the dirt away and your meals tasting their best.
- A small shovel
To take care of grill cleaning with oven cleaner, don your safety gear, and remove all ashes from the ash catcher and firebox. Use scrapers and scrubbers to dislodge any debris that may be stuck to the grates. Apply the oven cleaner and let it sit for a minute.
Clean it off with paper towels or a cloth. Never let the cleaner sit for more than a minute or so, as prolonged exposure damages the grill.
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At The Start Of Grilling Season
If you put the grill away dirty at the end of the previous grilling season, don’t feel bad. You might’ve thought you’d be grilling again that year, then the weather took a turn, one thing led to another, and now it’s next year.
Don’t worry! If this happens, the best way to start the grilling season is to build a fire in your grill to bake off any gunk. This is also a good way to deal with any spiders or insects that may have taken up residence in there.
- After about half an hour of cleansing fire, use the scraper side of your grill brush to remove heavy debris, then use the brush side to thoroughly clean the surface and between the grates of the grill.
- Don’t have a grill brush? Get one! They’re a must for keeping your grill clean. In a pinch you can use a ball of foil held with a pair of long grill tongs.
- Don’t have grill tongs? Get some! And make sure they’re long. Ordinary kitchen tongs are too short and can cause you to burn yourself reaching across a hot grill.
Clean Grates And Racks After Each Use
Cleaning chores are much easier if they are done often, after each use of the grill. This is critical with gas grills since the high temperatures can bake on grease and foods, making it challenging to clean the grates and racks once they cool and the grease hardens.
Make sure to clean these parts after every cooking session.
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Coffee And Coffee Grounds
Coffee is also rich in acids like vinegar that can help in softening out the old grease buildups on grates. So coffee and its grounds can also be put to use as an improvised cleaning agent. Collect the grounds from your everyday coffee brewing instead of throwing them away and use them just like baking soda to clean those dirty grates.
We are pretty positive that all these hacks will help you in keeping your grates all shiny, clean, and ready for grilling a perfect panini, salmon or bacon. While we are at it, lets also answer some of the frequently asked questions about charcoal grill cleaning.
Prep Your Grill Grates
Before you grill, its a good idea to season your grill grates. That means cleaning the grates and then giving them a spritz with an oil with a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil.
This quick coating of oil will prevent food from cooking and will help season the grates the same way youd season a cast-iron skillet.
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How To Light A Charcoal Grill
Taste of Home
Just like there are different charcoals to choose from, there are plenty of methods for lighting a grill to choose from, too, including many different charcoal starters.
Color is a great indication of how hot the coals are. Aim for white to glowing red for cooking .
You can also tell if the grill is ready by hovering your hand about four inches over the coals. If you can comfortably hold it there for more than five seconds, your coals still need to heat up. If you can keep your hand hovering for about two or three seconds, thats the sweet spot for grilling.
Also when youre lighting your grilland cooking and cooling it downbe sure to follow these grill safety tips.
First Heres How Often You Should Clean A Charcoal Grill
If you own a charcoal grill, you should give it a deep clean at least once during the grilling season, or even twice if you grill often. Why? You dont want carbon or ash buildup in your grill, or rust buildup on the grill grates.
Cleaning out public grills before you use them is also recommended, as you dont know who was there before you, what they made, or how long its been since the grill was last used.
Gather your cleaning supplies
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