Any cleaning process with a barbecue grill should start by cleaning the grates (the surface where the food sits while cooking).
Just be sure to allow the grill and grates to cool down for an hour or more before starting the cleaning process, because you may need to touch the parts of the grill.
Grates collect food particles and grease over time. As you cook, leaving the particles in place, they will burn to a black residue, some of which will remain stuck to the grates and some of which will stick to the food that you cook in the future.
Fortunately, cleaning the grates is not as difficult as it sounds.
Scraping and brushing the grates
Use a tool to scrape food particles off the grates on the grill to start the cleaning process.
If you haven’t cleaned the grates for a while, a scraper tool is the best option. The scraper should have notches in it to match the size and shape of your grates. Metal scraper tools usually work best, although some people prefer wood scraper tools.
After scraping the majority of the grime off the grates, then use a brush for a finer cleaning process. There are three primary designs in grill-cleaning brushes:
- Metal bristles: A metal bristle grill brush will give you the most thorough cleaning, as the metal bristles are stiff and durable. However, metal bristles may pop loose from the brush and stick to the grates, meaning they could end up on food, creating a serious health hazard if someone ingests a bristle.
- Nylon bristles: A nylon bristle grill brush will be safer to use on the grill, especially one with light-colored bristles that are easy to see if they stick to the grates. However, nylon bristles don’t quite remove food as effectively as metal bristles.
- Bristle-free: Some people prefer a bristle-free grill brush to eliminate the possibility of loose bristles ending up in food. These work more like scraper tools, but they are a little easier to use for general cleaning over a larger space than the scraper covers.
Add gentle dish soap and warm water to the grates before using the brushes. After removing the particles of food with the brushes, you may want to use a paper towel soaked in warm water and dish soap to finish wiping down the grates.
Cleaning grill’s grates after each use
To simplify the process of thoroughly cleaning the grates a few times per year, you will want to quickly clean the grates after each use. You can perform this cleaning step while the grates on the grill are still warm.
Apply a degreaser spray to the grates first. Then use a grill-cleaning brick, scrubbing back and forth across the grates to remove the loose food particles stuck to the grates.
After cleaning, apply warm water to the grates, and scrub again with the clean side of the brick.