Thursday, April 15, 2010

Do You Really Need To Clean Your Grill?

Over the years I've received this as one of my most asked questions. To help people get started working the grill this year I'm re-posting this response. Grilling is one of the most fun and easy things you'll do in life. It pays to do it right so that you can enjoy it and spend more time doing the thing you really love....eating barbecue.

Here's the answer.

Almost every grill manufacturers recommends cleaning your grill after every use or at least before each use. This simple process removes old charred meat, spices and sauces that have been left behind to carbonize on your grill. Since most grill plates are made from some sort of metal a good charring process requires that heat flow evenly from one end of the grill guides to the other. Meats, sauces, spices and more can adhere to the grill guides actually causing a break in the heat flow. That can cause uneven areas of grill surface to come in contact with your meat. The final result of course is uneven cooking which can mean that spots on your barbecue are done while others are under-done. It is important to spend time taking care of your grill. Little things like the removal of excess ash, cleaning out all the caked on oils and grit can all add up to improved performance when you really need it.

If you have a new grill with a manual, keep the manual in the plastic cover. Grilling involves sauces, oils, spices and meats and during the heat of cooking making a simple reference to the manual may cause transfer of the oils and sauces over important parts of the manual.

Refer to your grill's user manual for specific instructions about cleaning. If you have a gas grill, using the "burn off" method after every grilling session is a good place to start:

For gas grills: turn all burners to "high," close the lid, and let the grill run for 15 minutes. This will cook off most of the debris on the grill. Afterward, use a long-handled grill brush to scrub the grate while it's still hot.

For a charcoal grill: Scrub the grate with a long-handled grill brush while the grill is still hot. When the grill has cooled, empty the ash pan into a fireproof bag or metal container and discard.

If using cleaning fluids always ensure that the fluids have been washed off completely and have dried before placing the grate over high heat. If you choose to use cleaning fluids do NOT use the fluids unless you have at least two hours for the grill to dry. Any shorter period and the grill will smell like the cleaning fluids and can leave behind bits of atomized cleaning solution that land on your food.

For any other questions simply refer to our FAQs section as