Summer means it's time to pull out the grill and enjoy freshly grilled meals right in your backyard. As great as it is to get grilling again, it's not as fun to clean the grill once you're done. It's important though, as if you don't regularly clean it you'll see that you won't get the same performance out of the grill itself. Here's how to thoroughly clean it and ensure you'll get the best flavor from your food, every time.
How Often Should You Clean Your Grill?
Like any cooking equipment, you should be cleaning the grill regularly. This stops burned on food and other impurities from building up on the grill itself. If left long enough, the grill can't heat up properly, and your food won't taste the same.
It's advised that you should clean your grill at least once a month, more often than that if you're using it frequently. You should look out for signs that the grill needs to be cleaned. If the grill won't heat up enough, or if there's too much grease on the grill.
Be aware that you don't want to over clean your grill. A little baked on grease will enhance the flavor of your cooking, which is good news for those who don't want to be cleaning all the time.
Turn Off The Gas
To clean your gas grill, you first need to turn off the gas. This stops dangerous gases building up as you clean, which could be harmful to your health. Look for the valve on your grill. It will be located on the propane tank for LP grills, or where the grill connects to the house for LNG grills.
Turn the knob clockwise to shut off the gas supply, so you can get working.
Clean Off The Grates
The best place to start cleaning your grill is with the grates. Some people like to turn the heat up high on their grill first, as it will reduce any burnt on food to ash. If you want to do this, you'll need to do it first but then ensure you turn the gas off afterwards. You'll also need a brush that can handle high temperatures.
You can take the grill grates off and scrub them with a grill brush and soapy water. Ensure that you get both sides of the grates, to brush off any food that's lurking underneath. If you don't want to put in all the hard work yourself, you can get a grill cleaning robot, like a Grillbot. These sit on top of the grill and work their way round it, cleaning the grates with the rotating brushes underneath.
Whichever method you use, ensure that you're changing out the brushes every year as they will eventually get worn down.
Clean Out The Catch Pan
Next, you'll need to clean out the catch pan. In most cases, this will slide right out, making it easier to clean. Use a scraper to scrape out any grease and dirt that's sitting in there. Once that's done, you can use soapy water and a sponge to clean it off, and then put it back in place.
Wipe Down The Burners
It's important to keep the burners clean, as built up dirt will affect their efficiency. Gently wipe them down with a sponge, and look for any blockages in the holes. If you see any, use a toothpick to gently poke the blockages out. In some models of gas grill you can take the burners out for cleaning, but if you can't they're easy enough to clean while in place.
Don't forget to clean your burner covers too. You can simply dip them in soapy water and scrub them with a sponge to get them clean.
Clean The Bottom Of The Grill
Once you've cleaned the grates and the burners, you'll need to turn your attention to the bottom of the grill. This is where a lot of drippings and food end up, so you'll need to ensure that you're cleaning that out. Go over with it with a sponge and soapy water to pick up any left over dirt. Ensure you do this, as leaving the dirt there can lead to corrosion over time.
Check The Underside Of The Lid
The underside of the lid of your grill can harbor burned on food too. Ensure that you're checking the lid for any dirt before you finish cleaning. Also, check there are no flecks of paint that have come off, as you don't want them to get into your food. If you find anything, gently scrape it off and then clean the lid with soapy water. When you scrape, ensure that you don't damage the paint work as this can also lead to rusting and corrosion.
Replace Everything And Turn Up The Heat
Now that everything has been cleaned, but everything back together and turn the gas back on. Once that has been done, you can turn up the heat high for five minutes. This will help burn off any residual soap or cleaning products.
Oil Your Grates
The final step, now that you've cleaned your grill, is to oil the grates. This helps when you cook on the grill, as it stops the food from sticking to it. It will also enhance the flavor.
To oil your grill, ensure the grates are still hot. Pick up a paper towel with tongs, and dip into a cooking oil of your choice. Then, rub the towel over the grates evenly, ensuring that all surfaces are covered. Then, turn up the heat again for around 15 minutes to burn off the oil, and you're all set. You should see the grates go a black or bronze color, depending on the type of grates you have. That's how you'll know they're ready to be cooked on again.
Now you've thoroughly cleaned your grill, you're ready to get grilling again. A clean grill gives you the best flavor, so ensure you're cleaning it regularly as you use it this summer.