James Brown of Grill Nation, who tracks his grilling activity on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, says the best way to keep a grill in good condition is to keep it easy to use. It’s usually the ones who neglect people who don’t make it very long because of fire and heat? It’s good for a grill. ”
Fire and heat are indeed good for a grill and are essential elements in keeping a grill clean. But fire and heat alone won’t clean a grill, so we reached out to Brown and Jason Pruitt, grill masters and instructors at the Weber Grill Academy, to inquire about proper cleaning of charcoal and gas grills. Brown and Pruitt have outlined the steps to keep your grill clean and in good condition. (If you’re looking for a charcoal grill, check out our guide to the best models on the market.)
“For optimal performance, it is important that your grill stays clean,” says Pruitt, “regardless of whether you use a gas or charcoal grill. A clean grill means better performance. Better performance means better food. Better food means smiling faces and full stomachs. ”
Step 1: scrape the grids
Clean the grill grates with a grill brush. This is usually done before each use, while the grill is preheating to remove any residue from the last grill. This should be done before and after each use. Check out more of our most popular grill brushes here.
- Grill Style Grill Brush and Scraper ($ 13.59, originally $ 29.95; amazon.com)
Grill type grill brush and scraper
Step 2: check for rust and other damage
Pruitt emphasizes the importance of inspecting your grill for rust before each use. “You should replace anything that has a hole or a crack,” he says. Surface rust, which is often found on welds, is easy to remove with an acid-free oil such as WD-40. According to Pruitt, the grill should be cleaned thoroughly at least every three months to prevent rust.
- WD-40, 2-pack ($ 18.49, originally $ 19.99; amazon.com)
Step 3: clean the lid
When the grill has cooled, use a grill brush to remove any coal that has built up on the bottom of the lid. Steps three to five should be done at least every three months, according to Pruitt. Brown recommends frequent grills to thoroughly clean their appliances every six to eight uses.
Step 4: clean the bowl
Remove any accumulated ash and old charcoal from the bottom of the bowl and ash pan. Then scrape out the inside of the bowl with a plastic or rubber scraper to clean the top of the cleaning system blades and the rest of the bowl; Pruitt recommends that people who do not have a blade cleaning system scrape the bowl more regularly.
Original pan scraper set
- Weber Grill 1 Touch Cleaning System Kit ($ 19.99, originally $ 22.99; amazon.com)
Weber one-touch cleaning system kit for barbecues
Step 5: clean the outside
Use warm soapy water or an outside grill cleaner and microfiber cloth to clean the outside lid, side tables, china enameled, and plastic surfaces outside of the grill. Avoid using stainless steel and other abrasives or polishes on the outside of a grill.
- Weber outdoor grill cleaner ($ 8.49, originally $ 9; amazon.com)
Weber outdoor grill cleaner
- General Purpose Microfiber Cleaning Wipes, 12-Pack ($ 15.95.); amazon.com)
All-purpose microfiber cleaning wipes
Step 1: scrape the grids
Clean the grill grates with a grill brush. This is usually done before each use, while the grill is preheating to remove any residue from the last grill. This should be done before and after each use.
Step 2: clean the lid
Before you thoroughly clean a gas grill, disconnect the gas tank from the grill. When the grill is cool, use a grill brush to remove any coal that has built up on the bottom of the lid. Steps two through seven should be done at least every three months.
Step 3: clean the flavorizer bars and burner tubes
Brush or scrape the Flavorizer bars with a grill brush or silicone scraper. Then, with a grill brush, clean the burner tubes by brushing towards the portholes.
All-clad silicone scraper
Step 4: clean the screens and heat deflectors
Using an old toothbrush, gently brush the air flap screens until they are clean. The heat deflectors can be cleaned with a grill brush or a silicone scraper.
Step 5: clean the cooking box
Clean the cooking box by using a scraper to remove any debris on the sides and bottom. Push any debris into the fat drip tray.
Step 6: clean the grease drip tray
Remove the fat drip tray and scrape any residue into the disposable drip tray. Reinsert the drip tray after wiping off the fat tray. This should be done at least once a month for optimal performance.
Step 7: clean the outside
Use warm soapy water or an outside grill cleaner to clean the outside lid and side tables.
Cleaning a grill is just one aspect of keeping it in tip-top shape. The experts we spoke to shared some tips and tricks for caring for a grill and for restoring a grill that has seen better days.
Carbona 2-in-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner ($ 13.08; amazon.com)
Carbona 2-in-1 oven grate & grill cleaner
If you’ve neglected your cooking grids, cleaning them with a grill brush may require more elbow grease than is appropriate. Enter: Carbonas oven grate and grill cleaner. To use it, pour the entire bottle along with your grill grate into the bag provided, seal, and shake to make sure the grids are coated. After a few hours, remove the grids and rinse them clean.
Mastaek Drip Pans, Pack of 30 ($ 9.99; amazon.com)
Mastaek drip pan
Brown points out that some foods are tougher on your grill than others and offers a helpful tip. “Something like bacon fat will cause a lot more havoc,” he says, “if you don’t use a proper drip pan.”
He likes a foil pan with at least 3-inch sides and cautions against using aluminum foil for the job. “I would avoid making any kind of ‘boat’ out of aluminum foil because they are so thin. If it’s not on a flat surface, these are [drippings] will prefer a corner or a side, tilt and catch fire, ”he says. Brown also recommends cleaning a grill thoroughly after cooking anything high in fat, regardless of when it was last thoroughly cleaned.
Weber bamboo grill brush ($ 10.99; homedepot.com)
Weber bamboo grill brush
When choosing a grill brush, Pruitt recommends looking for models with a handle long enough to keep hands, arms, and clothing away from the open flame and heat of the grill. “A long brush is also helpful for reaching different areas of the grill when doing deep cleaning,” he adds.
Check your brush for damaged or loose bristles before each use and replace the grill brushes at least every season (more often for those who grill a lot). Brown swears by this Weber grill brush, which, as he says, “has a good wire brush and then has a small groove at the very top that slides around the grids and helps remove that crust.”
For more grill brush recommendations, check out our guide to the best grill brushes.
Weber Premium BBQ Gloves ($ 39.99; homedepot.com)
Weber premium grill gloves
Another safety tip for both cooking and cleaning is wearing grill gloves for extra protection. “I also like to wear grill gloves when preheating and cleaning to protect myself from extreme heat,” says Pruitt.
Rust-Oleum NeverWet Waterproof Grill Cover ($ 57.46; homedepot.com)
Rust-Oleum NeverWet waterproof grill cover
When it comes to storage, a good grill cover is a must. “Use a tight-fitting grill cover to protect your grill from moisture when not in use,” advises Pruitt, adding that for extra protection, it is best to have a special place to store the grill. “If possible, place the grill in a covered area such as a garage or shed.”
Brown also recommends keeping a grill in a covered space and offers this tip in preparation for the off-season. “After cleaning, coat the grates with cooking oil with a higher smoke point and then light them [the grill] Again. “That heat and oil work together to create a non-stick coating on the grids, Brown explains, much like using cooking oil to flavor a cast iron pan. Brown recommends doing this from time to time during your active grilling season, and suggests that people who store their grill in the off-season should oil and heat the grids for two to three rounds before putting the appliance away for the winter.
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