Everything you need to know about cleaning and maintaining your outdoor gas grill
by Sabrina Fierman, New York’s Little Elves
Already firing up the outdoor grill for summer cooking? Planning a 4th of July BBQ? Or has it become a mainstay of your home dining routine throughout the year? Either way, your grill and the food you cook on it, will benefit from good maintenance and cleaning.
I am not talking about brushing the grills clean after use; I am talking about a serious deep clean to keep it in optimal condition, eliminate safety and health risks, and keep your food tasting its best.
A thorough grill cleaning can feel daunting. So I broke it down for you into five simple steps. Plus you’ll find the Elves’ expert grill cleaning tips to help you get the best results with the least amount of effort.
- Burn off the gunk. If there is a lot of build-up on the grills, turn on the gas, close the lid and burn off the build-up. You can let it go on high heat for 20-30 minutes. While you are waiting for this, gather all of your tools, including wire brush, gloves (optional), liquid dish soap, 5 gallon bucket, cotton rags, and newspaper. A bottlebrush is also helpful. After burning off excess, brush the grills with the steel brush to remove the carbon build up. Important: Turn off gas, disconnect and remove propane tank. Let cool completely.
- Remove all removable parts – the grills, flavorizer bars, removable knobs, grease pan, warming racks, etc. Even the burner tubes can be removed, which will allow for easy access and cleaning of the interior. Pro-tip: I like to place old newspapers on the ground where I will place the parts for protection and easy cleanup.
- Place the grills in soapy water in the five-gallon bucket. Then start work on the inside of the firebox using soapy water. Place another bucket or bin under the grease tray opening to catch water and debris. Start with scrapping off any caked-on gunk. Remove large pieces and let the rest drain down with the soapy water you use to wash down the interior. Rinse thoroughly.
- Remove the soaking grills and scrub down with your wire brush and soapy water. You can also use a paste of vinegar and baking soda for stubborn build up. Rinse well and let dry thoroughly. Inspect the burners for corrosion, using your wire brush pass over the tubes and use a bottlebrush for the interiors. Replace the water in the bucket with fresh water and soap. Using the fresh soapy water and a sponge clean the exterior of your grill, then the knobs, warming racks, and last the grease tray. Rinse and dry with clean cotton rags or absorbent microfiber cloths.
- Put your grill back together. Apply a light coating of vegetable oil to the grill racks. Reconnect your gas tank, fire up the grill and let burn for 15 minutes to ensure that everything is well connected and the grates are seasoned. During these 15 minutes, clean up your work area.
Lastly, admire your work and feel accomplished.