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How to Clean Your BBQ Grill

Top Tips to Keep Your Grill Looking and Working Like New

Cooking outdoors is a great way of getting the most out of your outdoor space and reconnecting with nature while you whip up something flavourful and healthy for yourself, family or friends. However, in order to keep this essential appliance working at maximum efficiency, you'll need to clean it fairly regularly as you would an internal kitchen stove. Not only will investing a little time and elbow grease make your grill look better, it will last longer and your food will continue to taste as it should – delicious!

Many people wonder just how often they should scrub down their grills, and the answer will vary depending on how regularly you use your it. A thorough scrub-down should be performed at least once a year with some quick maintenance every time you use it. If you do not clean your grill regularly then a build-up of grease and grime can lead to food absorbing unpleasant flavours, parts clogging and corroding, and poor performance.

General Maintenance

  • Cleaning Grates: This prevents food from sticking on your grill making it much easier to cook on. There are a lot of products on the market for cleaning your grate, but really any good stiff wire brush will do. Before you start cooking you need to ensure you have a hygienic surface to cook on, and this can be achieved with some simple, regular cleaning.

  • Charcoal Grills: One of the great things about charcoal grills is that it's much easier to clean after every use. So try to clean the grate every time you use your charcoal grill and brush out the ashes and cooked on foods. This will cut down on excess smoke and bad flavours. Periodically, get in there and really scrape out all that stuff that just seems to develop on the bottom of your grill. At least once a year, get out a bucket of soapy water and give it a really good clean.

  • Gas Grills: As a rule, before you start cooking, you should heat up your grill to a medium heat for 5 - 10 minutes and then brush off any burnt-on food particles. You then know your grill is hygienic and ready to cook on. After a really big cook or if using lots of marinade, you may wish to give the grates a quick scrape whilst they are still warm as it's much easier to clean than when the grill has cooled and food has been allowed to harden onto the grate. Fairly regularly you should lift out the cooking grate and clean off the burner protectors (aka flavouriser bars).

Deep Cleaning your Gas Grill

We always advise that once a year you give your gas grill a thorough cleaning, so here is a step-by-step guide to help you:

1. Turn Off Gas and Propane

Whenever you do any cleanup or maintenance work on a gas grill, it's important to turn the gas off at the cannister.

2. Remove Burner Covers and Cooking Grates

Open your gas grill's lid and take out the burner covers, flavouriser bars, warming rack and cooking grates. These components can get pretty filthy, so you'll want to:

  • Soak them in warm, sudsy water
  • Scrub them with a scouring pad and dishwashing liquid
  • Check for rust and pits in the metal
  • Consider replacing rusty and/or worn-out covers and grates with: Porcelain enameled cast iron or Stainless steel

3. Thoroughly Clean and Inspect Burners

Now that you've removed your burner covers, you can thoroughly inspect the burners. If they've been well protected by the cover bars, they may just need a bit of tidying up. Scour them with a wire brush or steel wool. Next, spray them liberally with a degreaser and scrub away the grit with a wire brush. Take a close look at the burner holes to make sure they're clear, too. If the holes appear clogged, use a nail or straight pin to unclog them – clogged burners will give you uneven heat and make for poor grilling.

If your grill uses ceramic briquettes you need to make sure that these are not too heavily encrusted with cooked on foods. If they are then you should replace them to avoid bad tasting smoke that dirty rocks can produce.

4. Scrape Your Grill

A putty knife can be used to gently scrape the inside of the hood and grill to get rid of as much build-up as possible - never jab at the grill as you may damage the porcelain coating. Take an all-purpose cleaner/degreaser and spray it over both hood and grill. After it's had time to eat away the gunk, take out the garden hose and spray everything down. (What can look like paint peeling is likely to be just a film of grease so just rub down with a scourer).

5. Rinsing

After your grill is scrubbed, scoured and washed down, you'll want to thoroughly rinse it to make sure you remove all traces of degreaser, dishwashing detergent, and residue. If you have a pressure washer, you can really make your backyard grill sparkle. If you do not have a pressure washer, you can still achieve good results by using your garden hose along with a soft bristle brush.