Don’t you love summer BBQs? There's nothing better than enjoying a meal fresh off the grill with friends and family. Let’s look at some tips and tricks for cleaning your grill to keep the good times going.
We all have heard that saying about a “stitch in time." This is true for grill cleaning, too. To make grill cleaning as easy as possible on yourself, give your grill a quick scrub after each use. Use a wire brush to scrub the grates of your grill each time when you're done cooking. Double-check to remove any loose wire-brush bristles before you fire up the grill, too. If you're a frequent grill master (say at least once a week), give your grill a deep cleaning two or three times during grilling season.
You will want your grill to be clean and ready for those impromptu gourmet grilling sessions! By being proactive, when you feel like throwing on your favorite women’s or men’s T-shirt and those comfy shorts and sandals. All you will need is the meat, sides and some cold drinks and you will be ready to go!
Most grills are straightforward to clean, but it never hurts to double-check the manufacturer’s instructions—especially if you're a grill master and your grill is your “baby”. Let’s start with deep cleaning basics. You’ll need a little time and the right supplies. The cleaning procedures presented here are essentially the same for gas or charcoal grills; charcoal grills just have fewer parts. For supplies, feel free to check out your local hardware store or online sites for ideas, but the basics you will need are a long-handled wire brush, a five-gallon bucket, grease-cutting dish soap, long rubber gloves and vinegar. This is obviously messy work, so leave your best women’s shorts, T-shirts and tennis shoes inside. This is the time to wear your grubbies. Just add some warm water, a little time, and some elbow grease and you’ll have a clean grill!
For a gas grill, start by firing it up, closing the hood, and letting it come to full temperature for at least 30 minutes. This will help to get rid of grease and food that is stuck. Dip the wire brush into the bucket of warm, soapy water and scrub the grates. Next, turn off the gas, disconnect, and remove the propane tank. Then let the grill cool. Once everything is cool, remove any parts from the grill that is easy to take off like the grates and bars, and let them soak in soapy water. After they have soaked for at least 30 minutes, clean them with the wire brush. For extra dirty pieces, refill the bucket with fresh soapy water and repeat. A shop vac is handy for removing gunk, too. Once everything is clean, spray it down with your garden hose to remove all traces of soap and reassemble the grill. You might want to consider a swimsuit and cut-off shorts for this part.
You’ll want your grill to look spiffy when you're all done cleaning. Stainless steel cleaner is a great final touch, but it won’t remove baked-on glop. Straight vinegar is a great tool for tough greasy spots. You’ll want to wipe your grill down with water afterward and make sure it is dry. Reconnect the propane tank, close the hood and fire up the grill for at least 15 minutes. Then turn it off to burn off any final cleaning residue.
While you're out taking care of the grill, consider “multitasking” in fun ways for some family time. As long as the grill gunk and heat aren’t too close, put out the sprinkler, and encourage the kids to run through it. Just make sure to have plenty of beach towels handy. You might even want to run through it yourself when you're done. Kids of all ages are allowed to play in sprinklers!
This is the fun part! Invite some friends over and grill up some steaks, burgers, fish, veggies, or whatever your heart desires. Once the grilling is complete, enjoy a wonderful meal while lounging on outdoor furniture or picnic blankets in the backyard.
Keep Your Grill as weatherproof as possible with a high-quality cover (or bring it inside to the garage or shed). Consider keeping all your grilling tools in a canvas storage bin for easy access. The key will be to keep your grill dry and avoid extreme cold (like the kind we have in Wisconsin in the winters—Brrr!)
Enjoy a great grilling season with your family and friends!