How to Clean Barbecue Grills - dummies

By Gill Chilton

Cooking outside is fun, but these grills need consistent cleaning and maintenance. Here are some tips to help you serve that garden full of summer guests.

To clean metal racks small enough to fit inside the dishwasher, put them in as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. Otherwise, treat racks as you do blackened oven shelves and soak them in a strong dish-washing solution. Squirt a mild abrasive cleaner onto the rack and leave it to soak and soften the burnt-on food.

Clean tools and tongs at the same time as you clean racks. Do not put tools with wood handles into the dishwasher, as the glue binding the handle to the tool may melt.

Simply loosen bits of stuck-on food from the cooking grate using a metal scouring pad. Use paper towels to wipe away grease.

Aluminium foil gets a cooked-on grate ready for another go in moments. Simply scrunch up a ball of foil and rub over both sides of the cooking grate. Wipe clean with kitchen roll.

How to clean charcoal grills

Resist the temptation to throw cold water onto the coals after cooking. There’s no surer way to create a foul mess. If you need to distinguish a charcoal fire fast, use a fine mist of water from a trigger spray. Some manufacturers suggest using sand. You can also just leave it as is. In its dry state, charcoal isn’t so bad and you may decide to grill again soon.

Between big cleans, keep grease levels down by regularly removing fat from the barbecue body with a soft plastic or wooden scraper.

When you’re ready for a full clean, always wait until you’re certain the charcoals are cold.

If you want to save coals for re-use, salvaging is best done the next day when the coals are cold and dry. Use tongs to pick the big ones out. Next, put the ashen remains of the burnt charcoals into the rubbish.

Depending on your barbecue this can be easy or tricky. Posh barbecues often have an ash drawer to collect debris. You empty the drawer to become practically ash free. With some grills you can tip the ash right into the rubbish. If you don’t have a drawer and can’t tip your grill, the simplest way to empty ash is to use a spoon or garden trowel to scoop it out.

You want to avoid ash flying out over your clothes or into your mouth and nose. If you’re happier using a brush and dustpan, dampen the pan edge to help the ashes stick inside.

To clean the barbecue body, use hot soapy water and a non-scratch cloth. Quality barbecues may be up to stronger cleaning. A high-quality porcelain finish is usually thick enough to withstand even a spray-on type oven cleaner. Once yearly, spray this on and all the grease will soften enough for you to wipe it away. Follow up with a mild washing-up liquid solution, a water rinse, and a thorough dry.

How to clean gas grills

With a gas barbecue you enjoy the pleasure of no soot or ash to deal with. The lava rock that lines the cooking base of gas barbecues needs no cleaning. Simply turning up the burners for a few minutes after you finish cooking gets rid of any food residues clinging to them.

Eventually, when lava bricks do get dirty, simply turn them over. When they are dirty once more, replace with fresh.

When you want to give the barbecue body a wash with hot, soapy water, be sure to remove the cooking surfaces and burners first. Unless you’re an exceptionally keen griller, this is an annual task. At the same time, inspect the burners for blockages. Use a pipe cleaner to clear any obstructions such as a curious, now deceased, insect. Rub away any rust spots with a wire-brush.