Tips for Cleaning the Grill

Get rid of nasty grit in a few simple steps


Lighting up the grill for summer season is one of the highlights of the year. Freshly charred burgers, juicy chicken legs, crisp yet tender veggies, and even fired up pizza grace our grills and fill our bellies throughout the season, giving more than a little to smile about.

With so much summer celebrating, it can be easy to forget that there is one thing not so pleasant about barbecuing all season long: cleaning the grill.

Cooked on grease, grit and more can be incredibly difficult to get off and takes some major scrubbing, but there are some tips that can help in the cleaning process.

Photo courtesy of kidmissile via Flickr/cc
The most important aspect in grill cleaning is cleaning the grate. Here, high heat is your best friend. Heat will burn off some of the initially stuck on food, so allow that baked on gook to char and it will scrape right off.

After this first extra bake, turn off the grill, unplug the propane tank, and allow the grates to cool until they are slightly warm. Wearing gloves, remove the grates and the metal plates beneath them and place into a sudsy, dishwasher soap-filled wash bucket. With the grates soaking, it is easy to lightly scrub the underside of the hood and and inside walls.

Next, remove and empty the drip pan and place it into the soaking bucket with your grill grates. Once these have duly soaked in the suds, scrub with your grill brush and then spray with a garden hose to rinse.

Replace all grill parts, lightly wipe down the outside of your grill and replug the propane tank, and you're all set! On your next grilling, be sure to allow some extra heating time to cook off any soap that has been left behind.

That's all it takes for a clean, ready-to-use grill. Happy grilling!

For great grilling ideas check out, Best Burger Recipes and our Guide to Grilling Chicken.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: TomG
    40947 44

    The article omits two really important points about grill cleaning. First of all, let your grill get as hot as it's going to get before you put the food on. If you put something on the grill that is prone to stick (pretty much any kind of protein) while the grill is heating, you will almost certainly have a much bigger cleaning chore at the end. Second, wipe on some oil to lubricate the grill just before you put the food on. Yes, you have to do this carefully - if you slop it on the oil will catch fire; do not use a spray for this task unless you want a flame-thrower effect. Also, use an oil with a high smoke point like safflower or even olive oil (regular works better than extra virgin) -- definitely do not use butter. I put some oil on a folded paper towel, put on my bbq glove, get my food ready, then quickly wipe the top of the grill bars and plop on the food. For non-marinated meats and fish, I also wipe some oil on the side that will go on the grill first. A little practice will go a long way here, and you may end up being stunned at how easy clean up becomes.

    May 25, 2012 at 1:14 PM

  • Snooth User: kelvin8r
    471439 24

    If you're going to take the whole grill apart like the article suggests, you might as well use a wire brush on the gas outlet holes which can get clogged with grease and char. If your grill heats unevenly, it may make a huge difference in how effectively you can cook on the thing. What good is a nice clean BBQ if it doesn't grill properly? Just sayin'.

    May 25, 2012 at 2:30 PM

  • Snooth User: nursebette
    977803 15

    We never wash the grill,we bbq with charcoal and put the grill on over the hot charcoal and use a wire brush to clean the grill before we put the meat on. It gets very seasoned after a few bbq's...The heat kills any germs....

    May 25, 2012 at 3:54 PM

  • Snooth User: kelvin8r
    471439 24 this "charcoal" you speak of?

    May 25, 2012 at 4:37 PM

  • We recieved a used gas grill from a friend. I cleaned the grates before we used it for the first time. Now, I just get it screaming hot, give it a good scrape with a wire bristle brush, and oil the grates with a halved onion soaked cut side down in a bowl of safflower oil. Occasionally I empty and scrub the tray underneath. Couldn't be easier, and my food rarely sticks, even stuff like tofu. I treat our little charcoal Webber Kettle the same, though I generally only use it for slow cooking and smoking large cuts of meat. I have a couple of king salmon waiting in the freezer for their turn... and hopefully one or two more coming home from Kenai week after next! My hubby and I love grilled salmon!

    May 25, 2012 at 7:53 PM

  • My father used to season his grill with beef fat or suet. Has anyone ever done this? Of what are the steps?

    May 25, 2012 at 8:46 PM

  • Snooth User: kelvin8r
    471439 24

    I forgot about that onion trick. Thanks, Novarullah! To return the favor, here's a tip for your salmon grilling, or for any other fish. To get the grate extra screaming hot, put a doubled sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil on it for a minute or two. It concentrates the heat right on the grate. And of course, once you put the fish on the grill, you have to LEAVE it on and resist the urge to check it too soon, because if it's not charred enough, it will stick . But sounds like you probably know that already.
    BTW, had king salmon last night. I let it sit in olive oil for a bit (abot an hour?) before grilling. Seems to make it juicier. Just have to let most of the oil drip off before throwing on the grill, otherwise you can get a flame out from too much oil and the little fishy can get a scorch burn-which ain't real pretty!

    May 25, 2012 at 9:14 PM

  • Snooth User: nursebette
    977803 15

    Kelvin,Charcoal is compressed charred wood that you put in your BBQ and light it. When it gets hot and the coals are grey you spread the coals out and put your meat on the grill over it..The charcoal gives the meat a real good flavor.We think it is better to cook with than using a gas grill...Look it up on the internet under charcoal grilling and it will tell you all about it.....

    May 26, 2012 at 12:05 PM

  • Snooth User: rainerk
    313952 2

    Make sure that you have a cast iron grate, let it get nice and black, just knock the big chunks off. Quit being a germaphobe, don't ever use soap. After a few uses your grate will become nice and seasoned and stick proof. Just like a well seasoned cast iron pan. I stainless grate will season too, but not as well and as fast as cast iron.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:32 PM

  • Snooth User: nursebette
    977803 15

    I agree rainerk.We do a lot of grilling and we have a smoker and do briskets,pork roasts,ribs,turkeys etc. I can't believe people would wash their grills anyway lol.We are like you. Most people now days are so afraid of a little dirt.Thats why they are always sick. I say have a mud pie and build up your immune system lol

    May 26, 2012 at 3:54 PM

  • Snooth User: nursebette
    977803 15

    Also when you are bbqing fish smother the filets in mayo seasoned with your favorite seasonings. They won't stick to the grill and will be delicious and moist. My grand daughter hates mayo and she loves the fish we grill.We just tell her it is papas secret sauce.You won't taste the mayo when it's finished grilling

    May 26, 2012 at 4:00 PM

  • Bravo, Nurse Bette! BBQ is not for woosies.

    May 26, 2012 at 4:13 PM

  • Snooth User: Old Slick
    807298 17

    Take the grates and get them steam cleaned. Fast, very effective, no residue and easy.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:23 PM

  • Snooth User: rainerk
    313952 2

    The best way to season a grill is just like you season cast iron cookware. Cover it with a high temperature oil, like Canola oil, then get it as hot as you can. Part of the oil will burn off, leaving the resins in the oil behind. Do this several times and very little will stick to your grill, or cast iron cookware. What does stick, will easily brush off with a steel grill brush. Don't try to clean off the hard, black coating that is left behind.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:34 PM

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