How To Clean Your Grill Grates Like A Grill Master
4 easy methods.
You looked up the recipes, prepared your grocery list, and then performed what can only be described as genius, Olympian grilling technique mastery.
Standing over those hot flames with guests just a few feet away, you had allll the right moves. We don’t think it’s bragging to say the food was aah-maaazing.
But now, the guests have gone, the plates are empty, and those grill grates look a little, shall we say, worse for the wear? Don’t worry grill warrior. Dirty grill grates are just part of the game. It’s perfectly normal to go full throttle into cooking without considering what you’re going to do with the dirty grates when the party’s over.
All it takes is a little, tiny effort to return them to new. And next time, when you’re ready to get your grill on, you’ll know exactly how to clean them.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, the first thing you need to do is assess what material you’re dealing with. Are you grill grates porcelain? Cast iron? Or are they stainless steel? How you clean them will depend on this factor.
Porcelain grates are the most delicate of all. We recommend a soft-bristle or nylon brush to scrape them clean. The good news is that porcelain is rust-resistant, so gentle tools like these will do the job. For more tips cleaning your porcelain grates, consult your owner’s manual and follow the directions precisely. The worst thing you can do is long-term damage you’ll regret.
The good news about cast iron grates is that they’re battle strong. They’re able to handle a stiff brush for more intense cleaning. The not-so-good news is that they tend to rust easily. For that reason, you’re going to want to brush them off with some canola oil after you scrape them down.
Stainless steel grates are durable, so they can stand up to a stiff brush, too. They also don’t rust quite as easily as cast iron grates. Still, you’re going to want to make sure they’re completely dry before you start cleaning them off. When it comes to rust, it’s better safe than sorry.
Now, for the headliner event. 4 methods for cleaning your grill grates.
Blast off When cleaning your grill grates, the first general rule of thumb is that heat is your friend. The hotter you can get your grates, the easier it will be to scrape off that gunk. That’s why it’s best to scrape them right after you’re done cooking. If time passes and you don't have time or get distracted by your guests, it’s still all good. Fire up your burners when you’re free and ready to clean them. Blast the heat as high as it’ll go and keep the lid off. Fifteen minutes later, your grates will be so hot, they’ll easily shed the grease and grime when scrubbed with a grill brush.
Another handy little trick is to place a can of water on your grill grates and close the lid. Fire up those burners to about 600 degrees for half an hour and let the miracle of the steam bath ensue. When you open the lid (be careful not to burn your face!), you’ll find that it’s pretty easy to brush off any grease or burnt-on food particles with a silicone sponge.
- Soap and water We find ourselves saying this a lot: never underestimate the power of some good old soap and water. (You can classify this technique under the regular maintenance category.) About once a month, remove your grill grates and give them a soak in a bath of soap and water. Highly-concentrated dish detergent will perform best—use a soap that cuts through tough grease, like Dawn Ultra Liquid Dish Soap. After about ten minutes you can remove the grates and brush them off with a grill brush.
- Vinegar and water An alternative to the soap and water method is vinegar and water, which also does some heavy lifting when it comes to intense grill grate grime. Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spritz your grill grates all over. Let the solution sit for about ten minutes and then wipe your grates clean with a grill brush.
Once your grill grates are sparkly clean, don’t forget about the rest of your grill. You can remove any water stains or weather elements simply by giving your grill a bath with some soapy water and a microfiber cloth. After sudsing up, make sure to rinse your grill completely off so that you don’t leave any water stains. It’s also critically important to dry your grill off completely with a towel so that there’s no chance of rust formation.
Our favorite hack? An Extra Durable Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This thing really does a number on greasy food splattered on the outside of your grill. Like a sponge (but better), you just wet it down, squeeze out the excess water, and then wipe it over any of the affected areas. When you’re done, rinse the grill off and dry it completely with a microfiber cloth.
Now that you’re well versed in the many ways you can get your grill clean, there’ll be no stopping your grillmastering ways. Nicely seared burgers and steaks with perfect grill marks are in your future—and never again will you have to worry about how in the heck you’re going to contend with the leftover mess that good parties ultimately leave behind.