Warm weather comes with a range of enjoyable activities that are less attractive during the colder parts of the year. Having a barbeque and doing some outdoor cooking can be a really fun way to spend a nice summer day. Any person that loves to grill food knows that there is some work that comes with this activity.
Along with the act of preparing the food, the individual will also need to perform regular grill maintenance to ensure the best outdoor cooking experience. Grill maintenance is important for a variety of reasons. Not only is proper care needed for safe operation, but it is also a step toward extending the life of the grill and producing better food.
General grill cleaning rules
The first thing to understand is that not all grills are made the same and that different grills will require different cleaning procedures. When you get a new grill, it is important to read the owner’s manual and to familiarize yourself with the recommended maintenance and cleaning. That being said, there are some cleaning and maintenance steps that can be good for all grills.
CLEAN THE GRILL AFTER EACH USE
The cook will want to make a routine of regularly cleaning the grill after each use. This not only helps to ensure that it is clean and well-maintained, but it will also improve the quality of the food that is cooked on the grill. Every time a grill is used, grease and smoke create a buildup that can affect the taste of food.
PROTECT THE GRILL WHEN NOT IN USE
A big part of caring for your grill is protecting it between uses. Once you are done using the grill and the regular cleaning is complete, you will want to cover the grill to protect it from the weather. If you can cover it and place it in a protected area, like a garage, that is even better. This will help to prevent things like rusting and weathering and it can also be a good way to avoid mechanical failure.
CLEAN THE GRILL WHILE IT IS STILL WARM
The most effective way to clean a grill is to do it while the grill is still warm from cooking. As the grill cools, the grease and bits of food that are left behind will get harder and more set on the surfaces. Cleaning while it is still kind of hot makes it much easier to remove the grime that is leftover from the cooking process.
PERFORM AN ANNUAL CLEANING
A thorough annual cleaning is one of the key steps in grill maintenance. The best time to perform this annual cleaning is at the beginning of the grilling season. When you bring the grill out for the first time of the year, you will want to clean it from top to bottom. This will ensure that it is in good working order and that all of the parts are sound. The process will vary depending on the type of grill, but most manufacturers have recommended steps for annual maintenance that can be found in the owner’s manual.
Charcoal grills tend to be a little easier to clean and maintain, but the cleaning is every bit as important to keep the grill working well. The buildup of ashes can induce rusting, so you will want to address this to extend the life of the grill and keep it in good working order.
After allowing the grill to cool, the user can remove the grates and empty the ash catcher and any ashes that have settled in the bottom. Use something to scoop the ashes from the bottom and then use a wire brush to sweep away the remaining ashes. It only takes a few minutes and it will significantly extend the life of the grill.
For the annual cleaning of a charcoal grill, you will want to wash every part with warm soapy water. Take the different parts out of the grill and soak the grates and other small parts in a tub of warm soapy water. While they are soaking you can clean the interior and exterior of the grill using the soapy water and a wire brush. After the grates have soaked for about 15-20 minutes, you can scrub them with a sponge and the wire brush. After you have completed this process, you will want to rinse everything off with clean water and then heat the unit for 20-30 minutes to burn away any remaining soap.
Cleaning a gas grill can vary a little bit from one model to the next. Many of the propane models come with a “clean” setting, however, the user should not be fooled into believing that this setting will do all of the work for them. This setting will burn off some of the stuck on food and grease, but it is really a heat setting that is intended to prep the grill for you to scrub the grates.
You will also want to clean the barriers above the gas burners. This doesn’t need to be done every time the grill is used, but it should be done about once a month or bi-weekly depending on how often the grill is used. If the barrier is metal plates, you can clean them using the same wire brush that is used to clean the grates. If the grill uses ceramic briquettes or lava rocks, you will want to clean them using a soft cloth.
Annual cleaning and maintenance are especially important for propane grills. The user will want to make sure components like burners and gas lines are working properly and they will want to take steps to clean the grates and the body of the grill. The recommended annual cleaning and maintenance for a gas grill can vary depending on the manufacturer, so it is recommended that you follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions in the owner’s manual.
If you enjoy outdoor cooking, the maintenance and cleaning that come along is no big deal. Taking care of your grill doesn’t take a lot of time and it helps to ensure that it will provide the best food and that it will serve you well for a long time.