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Barbecue grills are great for backyard parties. You can invite friends and family over, throw some food on the grill and have fun with loved ones as you cook. Far too many people wait until the end of the season to clean their grills though, which is a mistake because stuck-on food can significantly change the flavor of the dishes you cook.
You should really clean your grill after you finish cooking. Give the grates and inside a good wipe down the next time you use it, especially if you only grill every few weeks. Find out how you can quickly give your grill a thorough cleaning and get it ready for your next dinner.
Cleaning the Grates
Whether you have a propane grill or a charcoal model, you need to clean the grates. These grates usually use cast iron, but some manufacturer also coats that iron with porcelain. You can grab the grate with both hands and apply some pressure to lift it up.
Fill a bucket with liquid dish soap and warm water. Place the grates directly inside this bucket to soak for at least 10 minutes. Depending on the size of your bucket, you may need to turn the grates to let each side or end soak in the solution.
Using a wire brush to carefully scrub away any stuck-on food or debris. Rinse with fresh water and let dry before putting the grates back on the grill.
For grates that need a serious cleaning, you can use any type of acid liquid, including soda or distilled white vinegar. Place the grates in a bucket and pour the liquid directly over the tops and sides. The acid in the liquid will eat through any material stuck to the grates but will not damage the metal.
If you have a gas grill, you’ll want to place some sheets of aluminum foil down inside. Place these sheets directly on top of the heating elements and other exposed parts. The foil will keep those parts safe from any debris that falls off.
Apply warm water directly onto the interior walls of the grill and the lid. Use a scrub brush or a sponge to remove the stuck-on debris. You may need to use more pressure in some areas.
If water alone cannot handle the job, make a solution of water and dish soap. After you clean the grill, you’ll want to go over all interior surfaces several times with wet paper towels to remove any remaining soap. Any soap left behind can add a bad taste to your food.
Wipe Down the Cabinet
Cleaning the cabinet and exterior of your BBQ grill is easy because you just need some water and paper towels. Use the paper towels to apply a liberal amount of water to the outside. If you have stains caused by liquids that leaked out, you can use dish soap and/or a sponge to wipe off those stains.
Stainless-steel grills benefit from the use of a steel polish. You’ll apply a small amount with a cloth, rub the polish into the surface with your cloth and then go back to the grill with a second cloth to polish the surface to a nice shine. These products are available online and from home improvement stores.
Using a Vacuum
Consider using a vacuum when cleaning your grill. A shop vacuum like the one you use in your garage is strong enough to suck out any debris lodged deep inside the grill. Place the hose directly inside the grill, turn it on and move the hose back and forth to remove any solid debris from inside.
If you use any type of cleaning product, including products designed specifically for grills or dish soaps, make sure that you thoroughly rinse off all parts of your grill before using it again.
Those materials can leave behind a residue that makes the grill smoke when you use it, and the products can also leach into the foods that you cook on the grill. Rinsing and drying all the parts ahead of time will keep the grill from smoking and make your food taste just the way you want it to taste.
Cleaning a BBQ grill is something that you should do regularly. Give it a wipe down and spot clean stains before or after you use it. You can then follow these steps to give your grill the thorough cleaning that it needs at the beginning and end of each grilling season.