Texans love their BBQ, and cooking outdoors in one of our favorite parts of Summer. Many of us in the Austin area choose stainless steel grills for their beauty and durability. But before you put another burger, hot dog or rack of ribs on, you might want to take a few minutes to clean your grill and its cooking surfaces.
Start with the Inside
After all, this is where the magic happens – right? There are several different types of materials grill manufacturers use, so you’ll definitely want to refer back to your owner’s manual for detailed instructions. If you’re like most of us and have tossed that manual, you should be able to download a pdf version at the manufacturer’s website.
Here are a few tips I’ve found that might be helpful:
- Before placing any food on the grill, make sure to pre-heat the grill to at least 500 degrees. Then use an approved wire brush to clean off the grates. Not only will this help prepare the grates now, it will help prevent any of the food you’re cooking from sticking to them – making it easier to clean for the next time.
- When you’re ready to cook, oil the food – not the grate. Weber has a nice and quick video here that helps explain why this is a good idea. See Tip #5 below for more information about oiling your grates.
- Replace grill parts as needed, and per your manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Before the grilling season starts, it’s a good idea to clean out your venturi tubes (where air and gas mixes). According to Lowe’s, which sells several different types of stainless steel grills, “The tubes make good homes for spiders and insects during the off-season. Even a small blockage can become a fire hazard. Remove the entire burner/tube assembly and clean with soapy water. Clean the holes with a wire brush, paper clip or toothpick. Replace when dry.”
- After you’re done cooking and the grill has cooled down, you can rub or spray cooking oil on your grates to prevent rusting (especially if your grates are cast iron).
- On a cool grill, you should periodically clean your burners and grease traps. Burners can be scrubbed with a wire brush, and don’t forget to check the gas ports to make sure no food or grease has accumulated. Grease traps, if not properly and regularly cleaned, can be a fire hazard.
Taking Care of Your Grill’s Exterior
If your grill’s in pretty bad shape, it might be helpful to schedule a professional cleaning to help you get back to a manageable situation. Once it’s clean, you can follow these tips to help keep it that way:
- Do NOT use steel wool to clean your grill’s surface!
- Char-Broil recommends wiping down a cool grill with a soft, damp, soapy cloth and rinsing with water.
- After each use, make sure to remove any food particles, sauces, marinades, juices, etc. from your grill surface. Many of these substances can damage the stainless steel surface of your grill.
- Go with the grain – always rub in the direction of your stainless steel grain.
- Once it’s clean and beautiful, purchase a cover that fits your specific grill model. This will help protect it from dirt, grime and the elements.
I hope these quick stainless steel cleaning tips helps get you (and your grill) through countless summers. Happy Grilling – and save a hot dog for me!