What is the ideal grill cleaning regimen?
May 23, 2014 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Lifelong charcoal griller, recently bought a propane rig. It's great, but the combination of the lower heat and the larger cooking surface makes my "spray it with the hose, scrub off any big chunks, let it heat up over the coals for a while before throwing anything on" approach seem even more ill-advised.

The more effort involved the less likely I am to do it. The less effort, the lower the efficacy. What's in the sweet spot?
posted by dirtdirt to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't mind burning a bit of extra propane:

1) Put the grill on high for 5-10 minutes after you're finished cooking.
2) Turn it off and hit it with the grill brush immediately.

It's much easier to clean when hot.
posted by rouftop at 12:20 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

I almost never clean it after I cook, I clean it before.

You need a wire grill brush.

All you do is, when you're pre-heating the grill (high heat, lid closed), a couple minutes before you're going to put the food on, open the lid and brush the grills hard with the wire brush. Close the lid and let the grill continue pre-heating.

That's my everyday clean. Maybe once every spring (more like every other spring) I'll give the whole thing a good cleaning with a scraper, a wire brush bit on a drill, and maybe some de-greaser. Every few years I'll replace the burners, the starter, and the flavorizer bars when they rust away.

With my webber, the drip pan often gets greased up and if I don't clean it every month or so it'll catch fire. I just remove the pan (it slides out easily) and give it a good scrape into the trash.
posted by bondcliff at 12:22 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Beware of wire brushes, by the way -- wires can break off, get subsequently lodged in food, and do really horrible things to your innards. I used to use wire, now I use plastic dishwashing pads.
posted by aramaic at 12:31 PM on May 23, 2014

This is my favorite brush because it gets around the grates without the bristles getting flattened out. I've never had any wires break off and get in the food. I brush immediately after cooking while the grates are hot to get the big stuff off and then do a quick brush again after heating the grill for the next round.
posted by quince at 12:43 PM on May 23, 2014

Yeah just crank the heat all the way up with the lid closed for a few minutes and let it burn the junk off, then brush a bit.

I try to do it afterwards so that the fat gets burned off and doesn't attract bugs / mice / etc. I also do it a bit before I throw the food on too, but that's mostly to brush off loose rust.

It's my experience that propane grills rust much more quickly than charcoal grills (assuming you don't get water into the charcoal grill), perhaps because one of the combustion products of propane is water vapor. At any rate, I've never had a grill grate that didn't rust, so in addition to "cleaning" per se there's also de-rusting.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:01 PM on May 23, 2014

First open a beer, consume as necessary. No effort.

Second put the grill on nuclear high, when it gets hot scrape and brush to remove the bitter carbon. Lower the temperature to your cooking temperature.

Apply the oil to the food to be cooked, not the grill.
posted by vapidave at 3:10 PM on May 23, 2014

Rouftop is right on. The best way to keep it clean is to burn off what's left when you are done and then brush while still hot. I also always preheat 10-15 minutes and I get almost no build up within the grill as well.
posted by Che boludo! at 8:06 AM on May 24, 2014

Burning after is good, but doesn't get everything. Wire grill brush and squeeze a lemon on while you're brushing.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:47 PM on May 25, 2014

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