We are just past the midway point of summer. Where does this time go? If you are anything like me; it’s summer and you have found every excuse to fire up that grill. Birthday? Let’s grill! Games on? Let’s grill! Oh, it’s Monday? Let’s grill! Now, I am an all year griller, but for some reason, in the summer it just tastes better. Steak, Fish, Burgers, Brats, Hot Dogs, and anything else that will cook on there; I’m in! But, I do have an issue. I have my grill cleaning brush and use it before and after I use the grill, but that grill just doesn’t look clean and it’s very important to keep it clean just like home. If you don’t have a grill brush I suggest one that has wire bristles, an acrylic scrubber, and a metal scraper. When I first bought the grill at Home Depot years ago, I put it together and it was shiny like a brand new car. Now, it looks like a ‘96 buick that I borrowed from my Dad and never gave back.
What do I do? I clean my computer. I clean my TV. Why have I not cleaned my grill? This thing is the R2D2 to my C3PO (yeah, also a Star Wars nerd). I need to fix this problem. Instead, of going out and getting a new one, when I already have one that works, or buying new grill grates, so it looks a bit newer on the inside; I decided to go to the “Experts”.
And by “Experts”, I’m not talking about the employees in the grill department at the hardware store. I’m talking about the “Experts” that are the group of guys I drink beer with and watch the games, who think they know everything about everything. You give these guys a case of beer, a game on the tv, and a subject matter they think they know everything about; you can just sit back and watch them argue on who does it better. These “actual factual” will argue until they forget what they are arguing about. All while I sit back, stir the pot, and compile the best pieces of what they’ve argued and try an experiment with their solutions. Will this work? The answer is surprising “yes”. And here it is the solution to successfully cleaning a grill that I’ve stolen from the “Expert’s” Miller Lite fueled minds:
STEP #1 Use the grill brush and scrape the grill grate. Then turn the grill on it highest temperature and shut the lid. Let it cook down as much char as possible. After about 15 minutes turn the grill off, open the lid, and let it cool down.
STEP #2 Once the grill has cooled to the point that it’s warm enough to touch (please don’t burn yourself). Use the brush and scrub once more to remove excess grease and grime. Then TURN OFF THE GAS AND UNHOOK THE GAS LINE FROM THE GRILL. Just a safety precaution. Since we are cleaning the whole grill, remove the tank completely from the grill.
STEP #3 Remove the cooking grate(s) from the grill and place them in a lawn and leaf garbage bag, or any garbage bag you are able to fit them in. You will need the next two components: Distilled White Vinegar and Baking Soda. You can get these on any cooking aisle at any grocery store. I bought a gallon of the distilled white vinegar and a box of baking soda for about 4 dollars total. Pour 4 cups (16 fluid ounces) of the distilled white vinegar into the garbage bag. Next, add 2 cups (8 FL. OZ.) of the baking soda to the garbage bag. Tie the bag shut and let sit overnight. And while it sits, the rest of the grill is ready to be cleaned.
STEP #4 Remove the burn covers (metal plates) that sit above the burners. These plates protect the burners and help the heat cook the food evenly. If you are using a charcoal grill, remove the remaining charcoal and ash from the cook box. Clean the burner protectors by scrubbing with a sponge or scouring pad dipped in water and liquid dish soap. Set the burner protectors aside.
STEP #5 Gently wipe any grime off the burners using a rag (I use an old washcloth) dampened with soap and water. Check the holes in the burners for clogs and use a toothpick to dislodge any objects that may be blocking the flow of gas. In some grill models the burners are easy to remove for cleaning; if yours do not come out easily, you can wipe them clean while they are in place.
STEP #6 Clean the cook box. Use the stainless steel cook brush to brush all the excess grease, charred drippings, and any debris from inside of the grill into the collecting bottom drip tray. Then, remove the bottom tray and throw out the collected grease and debris. If the debris is caked on, use a scouring pad, or a putty knife to loosen. Wipe down the inside with a sponge soaked in soap and water. Remove the drip tray and also clean with soap and water. Now it’s time to:
STEP #7 Clean the outside of the grill. Dip a rag into the soap and water and go crazy! Wipe down all the surface areas. I even sprayed down the wheels. If you have a stainless steel grill, using stainless steel cleaner will make it shinier, but soap and water do the trick for me.
STEP #8 It’s the next day and your grill grates have been soaking in the trash bag. Time to take them out. I suggest having a bucket big enough to dip them into soapy water, but you can wipe them down without one. I noticed a change in their appearance already at this point. Wipe them down with a sponge and the soapy water. Make sure to do this on both sides of the grates.
STEP #9 Reassemble your grill. Put everything back in the reverse order you removed it. The burner covers and grill grates usually rest in place, just check there are grooves or ledges to place these items back in the proper location. Once reassembled:
STEP #10 Reattach the propane tank. Then, Fire Up The Grill! Turn on high and close the lid for 15 minutes to burn off any remaining soap leftover on the interior surfaces. When done and the grill is cooled down, spray some Vegetable Cooking Spray on the grill grates. This prevents rust.
My grill doesn’t look brand new, but the improvement is highly noticeable. All thanks to the “Experts”. The gods of cleaning grills, or as their wives call them: “The Idoits” (though I am linked to that group as well). Hope this helps you the way it helped me. Have a great day.
Now, if you don’t want to do this yourself...no problem! However, I recommend getting in touch with an Eco Friendly Cleaning Service to ensure the products being used are safe :)