HOLLYWOOD, FL – Cleaning is a funny thing. In most homes, when you’re over for a visit, the stove or cooktop is spotless because the cooks know that spills can get baked on and become not just a complete, unsightly mess, but a royal pain in the you-know-what to scour clean. Best to wipe down and clean the burner and surrounding area as soon as it is cool enough to do so.
But if you visit that same home’s back yard, the gas grill will often feature caked-on grease and cooking residue not only on the grate, but on the burners, the lava rock, and on the sides of the unit and under the hood. Why? Because most grillers simply do a cursory scrub of the grate right after cooking, close the lid and call it good.
It’s not good. A thorough cleaning – a relatively easy and quick chore – after each and every use will not only be more healthful, it will also make grilling easier by eliminating the built-up grease that can cause flare-ups and uneven cooking, and it will extend the life of the gas grill and keep it in fine working order and with a great appearance for years to come. Also, while it is not necessary after every grilling session, a periodic cleaning of the gas lines, housings and burners will keep the gas flowing smoothly and safely, and periodic cleaning or replacing the lava rocks or stone will ensure that the unit heats and cooks up to its specifications.
Here are a few Gas Grill Cleaning Tips that every outdoor chef should follow to maintain the status of Master Griller.
After each use:
• Owner’s Manual. First and foremost, gas grills aren’t cheap, and maintaining them properly is a paramount concern. And each and every gas grill – there are hundreds of brands – is different, with unique types of systems and burners. In this regard, the first best source for cleaning advice – whether spot cleaning after each use or periodic cleaning at the beginning of each new grilling season – is the unit’s owner’s manual which comes with every grill. These manuals include great cleaning tips and advice, customized for that particular grill’s system and parts. They will break down how to disassemble and re-assemble the gas lines and cooking units for the thorough cleaning job.
• Brush the grate. Get a nice, stiff, brass wire brush – and replace it when it starts to wear – and after each use of the grills, completely brush the grates. People have a tendency to do this before grilling, and not after, but after grilling is the way to go. Let the grate cool a little bit, but while still warm completely brush the grate and remove all the residual food and grease – before it bakes on. After brushing, and when it is cool to the touch, you can also use a cloth to remove as much of the grease as possible, aided by soapy water or a cleanser (make sure to warm up the unit next time before grilling to be sure any soap or cleanser residue is burned away before cooking).
• Cool and Oil. Once you have completely cleaned the grate, make sure the flame is out, let the grill cool down completely, and spray the grate with cooking spray or rub cooking oil on it with a paper towel – this will keep stuff from sticking the next time around.
• Cast iron grates. If you have a cast iron grate always remember to clean it and then completely oil it down to prevent rusting. Also, inspect it from time to time to make sure there is no rust.
• Clean Inside Surfaces. Once again, getting to the surfaces after each use, and while they are still relatively hot, will make it easier to remove any residual food, grease and grime. Wipe down the sides, and underneath the top or dome, with a soft cloth and soapy water. A little elbow grease, ironically, will help remove the grease down to the shiny surface the unit came with. Make sure to completely dry what you just cleaned with a clean cloth.
• Clean the outside of the grill. After everything has cooled down, after each use clean the outside of the grill with a nice household cleanser, like Antibacterial fantastik® All Purpose Cleaner Heavy Duty, which will clean and disinfect and keep the grill looking great for years to come. Once again, check the owner’s manual as some units – particularly stainless steel units – will have particular tips and suggestions as to cleaning methods and cleansers.
Periodic cleaning of gas grills:
• Don’t be misled by the “Cleaning” setting. Some gas grills, like home ovens, have a “clean” setting, but it doesn’t really clean anything. This extra hot setting will burn up things that have fallen into the grill, but you still need to clean as described above.
• Clean the burner barrier. Depending on how often you use the grill and what you cook, every now and then remove the cooking grate and clean off the barrier above the burners. Sometimes this is a steel or metal plate that gets caked with grease and the like, but it could also be the lava rock or the stone briquettes, which can be cleaned with soap and wate4r and a stiff brush. (Lava rocks or briquettes sometime just get inundated with grease and should be replaced; no big deal).
• Annual maintenance. Once a year – or twice if you are a grill fanatic and live in a year-round warm climate – you need to perform complete maintenance. This involves taking the working parts apart and cleaning the. Begin by disconnecting the gas line and then, following the guidelines in the owner’s manual, taking apart the burner and heat exchanger mechanisms piece by piece, layer by layer. Clean each piece, inspect the burners and make sure nothing is blocking the gas flow, and clean thoroughly or replace.
Gas Grill Cleaning Note: There is something of an old wives’ tale about taking the cooking grates out and wrapping them with aluminum foil, shiny side out, and then turning the unit on high for 15 to 20 minutes. Supposedly this creates intense heat that reduces residue to ash for easy removal. Don’t do it. No manufacturer of gas grills recommends this method, as the extra heat can warp the grates and create other hazards.
The BBQ Depot is the top source anywhere for anything grill – so check out the site for thousands of choices of gas grills, charcoal grills, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and accessories. To help with gas grill cleaning, visit our Grill Parts page for a complete selection of replacement parts to keep that grill running smoothly, and our Accessories page for such things as replacement lava rock and briquettes.