There is nothing worse than scrubbing dirty, greasy barbeque grills. Sometimes the very thought of it is enough to keep us from lighting up the grill in the first place. But it doesn’t have to be this way. This article presents 10 easy ways to keep your grill grates clean and ready to use.
Before addressing how to clean your grates it is important to know that there are seven different materials used to produce grill grates for most American Grills: chrome, cast iron, aluminum, stainless st eel, porcelain coated cast iron or steel and Teflon coated grates. Using Stainless Steel or Cast Iron grates is my recommendation – for the simple reason that they last forever and are the easiest to clean. Luckily, they are also found on the majority of grills sold in the US. So, these will be the grate materials that are steel bite pro covered here.
If Your Grates are Already Clean:
1. Brush the grates lightly with high temperature cooking oil and place on a COLD grill. This will keep the majority of stuff from sticking on the grate and make clean-up much easier in the end.
2. Many people additionally cover their grates with aluminum foil. While this makes clean-up a non-event, many people say they do not get the same smokey flavor with foil. To improve performance, liberally poke holes in the foil between the individual slats of the grate. This will allow the meat drippings to drain and the smokey flavor to move above the grates. When finished and the grill has cooled slightly, remove the foil.
3. Turn your grill to the highest temperature available, close the cover and allow the grates to self-clean for 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the amount of accumulated sauce and meat. Turn your grill off and let your grates cool until they are warm to the touch. Rub the slats on both sides with an onion cut in half. This will clean off any flecks remaining and add flavor to your next grilling session.
4. If you have Cast Iron Grates, store them inside pillowcases in the house until the next use. This will prevent any rusting of your grates. Stainless Steel Grates can remain outside without the fear of rust.
If Your Grates are Dirty:
5. With your grates in place, heat your grill to its highest temperature. Cover the grill and let the residue burn off. This should take 30-60 minutes depending on how dirty the grates are. While the grates are hot, use a long handled brass brush that has been soaked in tap water to remove any charred on remains. The grates can be sprayed with additional tap water as needed.
6. Allow the grates to cool to warm. Rub both sides with an onion cut in half. This will remove any remaining ash or small particles and add flavor next time you grill.
7. If you have Cast Iron Grates, store them inside pillowcases in the house until the next use. This will prevent any rusting of your grates. Stainless Steel Grates can remain outside without the fear of rust.
8. Once your grates are clean, keep them that way! Most meat needs to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving if you want every bite to be as juicy as the first. Resting the meat allows the juices to evenly redistribute throughout the meat. While the meat is at rest, follow instructions 5 -7. Turn your grill on its highest temperature, cover and let the heat clean your grates. Eat your meal and finish your clean up when it’s convenient. Your grates cannot be over exposed to heat.
9. Do NOT use oven cleaner or other chemicals on your grates. The chemicals can never be thoroughly removed from the grates due to the small pits that occur on any grate surface, no matter what material it’s made of. Left over chemicals can be harmful and do nothing to help produce that wonderful smokey barbeque flavor you’re looking for.
10. To protect your grates and your entire barbeque, invest in an excellent quality vinyl cover. The cover should be made of heavy duty vinyl and should cover the entire grill. This will protect the outside of your grill, preventing dirt and grime build up on outside surfaces and will keep leaves and dirt from blowing into the inside. This is one investment that you simply should not scrimp on. And once you have your cover, use it! Keep your grill covered at all times when not in use.
Make your goal to clean your grates after each and every use. Not only will it protect your investment, it will mean you have a grill that’s clean and ready to use each and every time you’re ready to grill.