What is the best way to clean your barbecue and grill?
A Canadian spring lasts about five minutes so very soon we’ll be in full summer’s swing. Since we’ve all been cooped up this winter and can now only enjoy our backyards and balconies, many of are itching to fire up the grills. Here are some tips on the best way to prepare your barbecues for your Papa Earth meat and fish delivery. First off, keeping a clean and maintained grill will help your barbecue parts and grill last longer. If possible, consider moving your barbecue into a garage or shed during the harshest winter months. Some brands of barbecue might rust because the non-cooking parts are not made of the same iron or metals and might not be covered by warranties for aesthetic wear and tear. Also, small animals have been known to make their cold weather homes under and in barbecues and this article won’t help you against possum attacks when you lift the lid.
Let’s get back to the grills:
Your barbecue should be deep cleaned at least once a year – typically before your first grill session of the year or after an extended period of infrequent use. Set aside a few good hours to do a good, thorough job.
1- Start by preheating your grill for about 15 minutes on high heat. This will loosen up stuck on food and grease, making it easier for you on the scrubbing later.
2- If you have a gas barbecue, after the 15-minute preheat, make sure to turn the gas off.
3- Get out a stiff wire brush. For a more effective clean, make sure you use water and some regular dish soap; then begin to scrub the grill in the direction of the grates. You can also buy a grill-specific cleaner that foams up and dissolves residues, if you’d like. Do this while your grill is still hot or very warm.
4- When the grate is cooled, wipe it down with a damp cloth. This helps to remove the soap residues that might still be lingering and helps avoid your first grilled meals having a soapy taste.
5- An important step that is often missed is greasing your grill. To avoid lots of stuck on food later, it is recommended that you use a paper towel with cooking or vegetable oil to coat your grill. You don’t need too much. Think of it as greasing a baking sheet when making cookies.
6- If your grill has heat deflectors (simpler ones may not) remove them and clean them with your water and soap mix or your grill cleaning foam. As food and oils will likely have spilled onto them through the grates, take your time to do a good job on the scrubbing. This will prevent too much of a charred or burnt smell and taste affecting your food and reduces the potential of big flares when you light your barbecue or when it gets too hot.
7- For even cooking, it is recommended as well to clean your burners themselves. You can use the same cleaning formulas as above. This makes sure that you remove any oils, food and residues from the little heat escapes as they can cause blockages and cause some parts of your grill to be hotter than others. Try to get right inside the valve, if at all possible. Think of anywhere there could be gunk caked on and just clean it! Your reputation on the grill will thank you for it.
8- Voila! For the moment you have a disassembled grill but why stop there? when you now peer down into your barbecue you can see all the parts that still need some TLC, including the lid. Assuming you have the energy, clean out what’s called either the grill box or the grill box. If you detach the propane tank, there is a hole left at the bottom of your barbecue where you can simply push the debris through into a bucket you place under the grill.
9- Rinse and dry all your barbecue parts except for the grates and reassemble. Before throwing meat on the first time after freshly deep cleaning the barbecue, we recommend a longer-than-usual preheat and you’re good to go.
As a final tip going forward, though you may want to get right to eating when your steaks, grass fed burgers and hot dogs are done, a quick clean of your barbecue grates after each use is recommended. After all – you typically clean pots and pans you use in the kitchen every use. Barbecues should get the same respect. Quick soap and water with a wire brush and coating with some grease will do wonders.