Not only will cleaning your grill extend its life—it’ll make your food taste better! You might notice sometimes when your grill isn’t particularly clean that food can acquire a not-so-wonderful taste from the smoke buildup. That’s especially true if your grill uses a cooking grate. Now check out these simple tips for making sure your grilled foods always taste delicious… [photo via flickr]
1. Clean the grill after each use. If you think that cleaning the grill is a pain, try cleaning it every time you use it! No, really—try it. No matter what type of grill you have, the key is to clean it routinely post-use. The best way to do it is right after food is removed because the heat that remains keeps stuck-on food and grease from hardening. It’s much easier to clean food off when it’s still hot, meaning you won’t have to scrub and scrape. Remember that cooking grates can collect bacteria that may contaminate food if left dirty. For an aluminum or nonstick grate, use a plastic brush to clean it, and use stainless-steel brushes for stainless steel or cast-iron grates to avoid causing rust or surface damage. Remember, safety first: be careful when cleaning a hot grill.
2. Store it properly. Make sure, when your grill is not in use to place a grill cover over it. Wait until the grill has cooled completely and clean it before covering it. If possible, store it in a sheltered area. Be sure, especially during the off-season, to store your grill in a safe, clean place in order to avoid dust buildup, rusting, and mechanical failures. Keep the grill in a clean place, preferably out of the weather and dirt. This will extend the life of your grill.
3. Make time for preseason cleaning. When bringing the grill out at the beginning of the season, be sure to remove all detachable pieces and soak them in warm, soapy water. Make sure that all parts are in working order and that there are no blockages, then scrub and replace them once they’ve dried. Heat the grill completely for at least ten to fifteen minutes before use to burn off any remaining soap residue.
4. Prevent and treat rust. Part of keeping a grill healthy and functional is to avoid rust as much as possible. Cleaning regularly and storing your grill mindfully will go a long way towards avoiding rust, so make sure any cleaners you use will not cause surface damage to your grill. Make sure you know what kind of brush to use on your grate and ensure that the cleaner you use on the outside is safe for use with your grill. If you are not sure about the finish on your grill, spot-test in an inconspicuous area before cleaning the whole thing. Uncovered places where finishing and paint have come off are more prone to rusting, so make sure to go to the hardware store for grill-safe paint to touch up problem areas.