In your world, you are “Master of the Grill.” All your friends say so. Your chef skills cannot be denied; you’re known for serving up tasty meals grilled to perfection. From gas to charcoal to electric, you choose each grill option as if it is the ultimate in rendering meats and vegetables roasted. Heck, you even know when the smoker is best.
And when the grilling season is over, you know just what to do – put on your gloves and get to work checking “clean and repair the grill” off your fall checklist. Here’s how you do it.
- Cardboard or tarp
- Grill brush, venturi tube brush or small brush
- Cooking oil
- Scraper, screwdriver, needle-nose pliers
- Replacement parts, finishing nails
- High temperature paint, wood stain and finish
- Paper towels or rags, steel wool pad, sponge
Note: Using a degreaser to clean grates and other parts of the grill is fast and easy. In one step, degreasers can strip grease, oil and resin deposits from surfaces, de-clogging and deodorizing in the process. Many degreasers are bio-degradable, too. Other cleaning options: using an oven or grill cleaner, or good old dish soap and hot water.
2. Make sure the work surface is protected by placing cardboard or a tarp down underneath and on the area surrounding the grill.
3. Prepare for cleaning by dumping charcoal and ash from charcoal grills, disconnecting the gas supply from gas grills and unplugging electric grills. Dials on all grills should be in the OFF position.
4. Use a grill brush. Clear debris from cooking grates and remove them, taking care to include the metal plates underneath, then you clean with a degreaser, or other cleaner, scrubbing them with a heavy sponge or steel wool, if necessary, or soak them. Once clean, you pat down with paper towels and let them air dry.
5. Remove and inspect the lava rocks for wear. Replace any that are over a year old or too greasy with new lava rocks or ceramic briquettes. You clean those in good condition with warm sudsy water, rinse and let them air dry.
6. Scrape the grill interior with a wire brush or paint scraper, including the sides, cook box and hood. After you brush or vacuum out any debris, wipe everything down with a paper towel or rag (gas grill interiors can be cleaned using an oven cleaner, taking care to remove all traces of the cleaner thoroughly).
7. Remove grill burners for cleaning – a tricky job with some grills. If you need help with this task, consider hiring a gas grill repair professional. Spiders like to nest in the venturi tubes, the part of the burner assembly that regulates the mixture of air and gas that is combusted by the burners. So, use a small brush to remove webs and debris from the inside of the tubes (there’s also a special venturi tube brush for this).
8. Don’t forget to clean the drip pan, which can be filled with liquid or grease, so be careful when removing it. The drip pan should be scrubbed with the grill brush or steel wool, then rinsed and set out to air dry.
9. Once you put back all the parts, fire up the grill on the highest heat setting for about 10-15 minutes to allow residual cleaning materials to burn off. After 15 minutes, turn off the grill, let it cool down, then preserve the cooking surface by wiping it with cooking oil on a paper towel.
10. Polish the outside of your grill by using a sponge and gentle cleaner. Then rinse and dry, sand any oxidation off the grill body with 220-grit sandpaper, and finally, touch up the heat-sensitive paint. Also, if the wood counter surfaces need restoration, sand them down with 100-grit sandpaper, then stain and seal with Danish oil or linseed oil.
A grill master already knows it’s a good idea to clean and check for wear and tear of your grill twice a year. The job usually takes about an hour to complete, time well spent when your reputation for mastering the best tasting food is at stake!
About the Author
Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.