Everybody loves barbecues. That specific way of preparing food has to be amongst the best and most favored ones in the World. It is the way the food grills and the crust formed in the process, and also the smoke and flavor the food gets infused with that people want when they eat barbecue food. Unfortunately, all these flavor enhancements, as beautiful as they may be, come with a price – mess.
If you are a barbecue owner with a messy barbecue, don’t worry. You are not alone. There are a lot of us out there. The important thing to remember is that grills are used for preparing food, and though the residue and the grease does help with the flavor, you need to maintain and clean your grill on a regular basis in order to secure the safety of your food.
Additionally, there are some cleaning methods or rather tools that are not recommended for use and can be dangerous, but people use them for the lack of a better choice or they are perhaps not aware of it.
We will now go over the proper methods of cleaning grills with cooking grates and a flat cooking surface, as well as the tools you shouldn’t use in both cases.
Cleaning a BBQ with cooking grates
The supplies you will need are pretty basic: cleaning gloves, a grill brush, warm soapy water, a medium sized sponge, a non lint terry cloth, a mild glass cleaner, a mild stainless steel cleaner, some paper towels, a scouring pad, and a paint scraper or a similar tool.
Let’s begin with cleaning the outside of the grill, but it really doesn’t matter if you do inside or the outside first.First make sure the lid is
First make sure the lid is cold, if you used the grill recently or course. Use the sponge to wash the cooking box exterior with warm, soapy water. After that rinse and wipe dry with the cloth. For stainless steel parts you may want to use the mild stainless steel cleaner. Just spray it over the parts you want to clean and wipe thoroughly with a non lint cloth, using a side to side motion and then buff the residue down.
After you’ve cleaned the exterior, it’s time to open the cooking box.
If your grill hasn’t been cleaned in a while, you may notice some peeling going on. Don’t worry, this isn’t paint, it’s just smoke and grease vaporizing and accumulating on the inside of the lid. These carbon deposits are not toxic, but can be annoying and dangerous even if they fall down and stick to your food.
Brush those deposits off with your stainless steel grill brush then wash with warm soapy water and rinse. After you’ve removed the grease deposits, the inside of your lid will probably still remain discolored from the residue, so you will apply warm soapy water again with a sponge, and use the non lint cloth to brush until all that excess residue is cleaned off. After that rinse again and wipe off with paper towels.
After that comes the hard part – cleaning the cooking grid and the burners.
Remove the bars (grates) outside of your grill and brush them off with the stainless steel brush, then wipe clean with a rag and warm soapy water.
You should also be able to remove the flavorizer bars on most grills, so take them out to reach the burners. Each burner tube is to be cleaned individually with your stainless steel grill brush and you should never use up and down motions length-wise across the whole burner tube, but short moves horizontal to the burner direction.
The good news is that the burners do not require any further cleaning, and you can now go over to the rest of the insides. Most grills have the heat deflectors under the burners. Take them out and clean them together with your flavorizer bars, following the same procedure as with your cooking grates.
Look carefully at the inside of your cook box and look for major grease accumulation and food particles. Take your scraper or some similar tool and scrape everything off down to the bottom tray.
Remove the bottom tray and empty the debris with the scraper, scraping along any dirt accumulation on the tray as well. After that, clean the tray with warm soapy water and a fine steel wool pad. Also, empty your aluminum drip pan and replace the removable liner with a new one every once in a while.
Cleaning a flat surface BBQ
With the flat surface grills there’s the tendency for them to rust and get damaged easily, leaving bits of metal lying around that can be dangerous if they get into food. And, rust is as you know toxic, so you should be vigilant in maintaining your grill.
The tools you will need are: a metal scraper or a spatula, any cooking oil, paper towels, and a grill stone cleaning block.
First turn your grill on to high heat. This will loosen up any rust or debris. After about 20 minutes, turn it off and let it cool down. Then, use the metal scraper to scrape off as much corrosion as you can. It is important that you do this step dry, without using any water because water will only promote further corrosion if introduced at this stage when there’s literally no protection on the surface.
After you’ve scraped the surface thoroughly, use the cooking oil and the grill stone block to scrub the surface. Do this in circular narrow motions.
After that, use paper towels and wipe clean the surface thoroughly, using as many towels as you need to pick up all the dirt. Apply more oil and wipe again, and keep doing this until all rust debris is gone and your towels remain white after wiping the surface.
The final step is applying the protection to the surface for further use, and we highly recommend using flax oil to season your grill, or extra-virgin olive oil if you can’t find flax.
Apply a small amount of oil to the surface and spread it around with a rolled up paper towel. After you’ve covered the entire surface, turn the grill on to medium heat.
You will see the oil start to smoke and the surface of the grill will start to discolor, which is all good. This means the oil is bonding to the metal. Keep the grill at this heat for about 30 minutes, or until the oil stops smoking and the grill’s surface starts to turn mat-gray.
After that turn it off and let it cool, and you’re done!
Tools dangerous to use in grill cleaning
Probably the worst choice for a tool is a steel wire brush. People go for them because they are cheaper but the metal is poor shape and falls off easily, potentially staying on your grill’s girds and ending up in your food, which is naturally disastrous. You should invest more in a high quality stainless steel brush or look for other safer alternatives, this we highly recommend.