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Tips for a Clean Barbecue Grill

A clean barbecue grill is a happy one! Regularly cleaning leads to better cooking and ultimately a longer life.

Barbecuing or grilling is a dirty job. The food may have been delicious, the party may have been a hit – but there’s always a mess to clean up.

This article mainly applies to standard charcoal grills, rather than gas grills – I’m also assuming you haven’t been using your grill for smoking.

Following Every Grilling Session

When the coals are cold, the next day says, clear them all out with a dustpan and brush.

Next, take a stiff wire brush and clean all the blackened food particles off the cooking rack/grate. If possible, it is easiest to do this when it is still slightly warm, as the particles are still soft at this point.

90% of the time that should be enough, but for stubborn hardened gunk, use a wet soap-filled steel wool pad and really scrub it. Rinse the grid afterward.

Feel free to use oven cleaner or degreaser, but take the grate out first as this will harm the paint on the grill and/or cart.

Amazon has a great range of BBQ cleaning products

Next time you cook, thoroughly brush the grate with oil. This helps stop food sticking and burning; saving work next time.

This video explains the basics:

Periodic Cleaning

Maybe once a year when you need a clean barbecue give it a blast with a hose and really swill the ash etc out. Get a bucket of soapy water and clean it inside, outside and underneath, and rinse it off.

With regular, simple maintenance work like this and a clean charcoal barbecue grill like will be in use for a decade without any real problems.

Serious Cleaning

If you leave BBQ out in the elements all year round it is likely to go rusty. Obviously this scenario best is avoided, but not everyone has space to keep one in their garage – I certainly haven’t.

But sooner or later the rust will need removing – and before you start to cook.

It can largely be removed with a wire brush. This is probably the quickest way but can damage the surface of stainless steel, so something less abrasive might be in order.

Start with a solution of vinegar and salt. Mix two parts vinegar to one of salt, and pour this into a container that will hold your grill rack – a big bag might be best. Work the solution round the whole surface of the rack and leave it for 8 hours or so.

Then wipe off the salt and vinegar with an old cloth or newspaper, scouring the metal surface. Hose it down.

If that fails, try baking soda. Apply the baking soda with a stiff, but not wire, brush. The light your barbecue, watch the baking soda bubble and smoke, hopefully taking the rust with it. Let the rack cool, brush it again, and hose it down.

Next, try Emory cloth or sandpaper. Simply rub the rust until it comes off – hopefully without damaging the surface of the rack.

Also Commercial gunk removers specifically for barbecues are available.

How to Avoid Rust Altogether

Oh, and get a cover for the whole barbecue grill and keep it covered whenever it isn’t in use. It’ll never go rusty that way.

So that’s it: a clean barbecue grill, and hopefully a productive one!

Amazon has a great range of BBQ cleaning products

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