Now that BBQ season is officially here, it’s time to get your grill out and primed for some serious backyard cookouts. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.
After pulling your grill out of your garage, shed, or wherever it’s been hiding for the last several months, the first thing you’ll want to do is clean it. You may have done this at the end of last grilling season, but it’s still important to do again. When we grill, we’re dealing with carbon deposits on the grates, the hood, and all of the interior. These deposits can be a hot bed for bacteria. Too much carbon buildup can also lead to uneven heat distribution on your grill and possibly cause hardware issues down the line. Moral of the story? Clean your grill early and often to avoid problems later on!
No matter if you have a pellet, propane, or charcoal grill, there are some key cleaning products and tools you should have to get your grill in tip-top shape. You can go to a grilling store or hardware store and get all kinds of grill-centric soaps, scrubs, and gadgets, but items you likely have around your house can also do the trick.
-Nylon Scrub: A gentle yet effective tool for getting rid of extra build up without scratching the metal.
-Scraper: Some kind of metal scraper tool, like a putty knife or a paint remover, is key in order to scrape off all the extra gunk around the edges of your grill.
-Degreaser: Get rid of all the grease with a product like Goo Gone or another kind of degreaser.
-Grease-cutting dish soap: This can be used to soak the grates in with warm water if you can’t fit them in the dishwasher. We recommend using a soap that doesn’t contain toxic chemicals, as that will affect your food later on. A reliable option is Dawn.
-Cleaning spray: Windex or another traditional cleaning spray will do the trick. If your grill is stainless steel, make sure to use a spray or wipe meant for this type of metal. You want to use this cleaning spray for the exterior of your grill.
-Vacuum: This helps pick up all of the chunks and scraps sitting at the bottom of your grill.
Before starting the cleaning process, make sure your grill is off. If it’s a gas grill, make sure it’s unplugged from the natural gas line or that the propane tank is disconnected.
1. When cleaning your grill, start by scrubbing and scraping the inside of the lid so any residue that falls into the grill can be picked up later in the cleaning process. A scraper and the nylon scrub are good to use for this.
2. Open the lid and pull out all of the things in your grill, such as the grates, the drip pan, flavorizer bars, burner tubes, deflector plate, and anything else that can be safely and correctly removed from the grill (and put back in again). Once removed, clean everything using a nylon scrub and scraper for the first pass, then soak them in a bucket of warm water and soap or, if they fit, stick them in the dishwasher.
3. What’s left is the shell of the grill at this point, and it all needs to be scraped and scrubbed thoroughly. From the edges to all the cracks and crevices, make sure to pay extra attention to areas that see a lot of smoke (on a pellet grill, this will be where the chimney attaches to the barrel, the chimney itself, and the grease chute.). On those really tough to clean spots, try using a degreaser.
4. Get out your vacuum and collect all of the debris you just scraped off. It’s likely most of it has landed in the bottom of the grill, but also pay attention to the shelves and those hard to reach areas where debris may be hiding.
5. Once all of the components of the grill are clean, put them back in the grill where you found them.
6. Make sure the outside of the grill is sparkling by using some cleaning spray to wipe it down. If the spray isn’t working on areas with a lot of buildup, try using the degreaser.
7. Now that your grill is looking fresh and clean, it’s time to invite some friends over and start getting it dirty all over again!
Proper Working Order
Pellet Grill - Before settling in for the first long cook of the season, make sure that the auger and hopper are clear of dust and the burn pot is clear of ash. Fill the burn pot with about ½ handful of pellets to ensure a clean start and fill the hopper with fresh pellets.
Gas Grill – Do a visual inspection of all hoses and feed tubes on your grill. Look for any crimps, scratching, and punctures. If anything is damaged, replace it right away before using the grill.
A leak test should be performed any time your grill has been in storage for a prolonged length of time or when you are changing any components on your grill. Make a solution of soap and water and apply to all gas line connections. Turn on the gas and look for any bubbles that appear. Seal or repair any leaks before firing up the grill.
With your grill all cleaned and in proper working order, you’re ready to go.
Cheers to another fantastic grilling season!