Summertime is a much-awaited season for me. The thought of dining under the sun, serving refreshing drinks and firing up my stainless steel BBQ excites me. But, before you get as excited as I am to show off our grilling techniques to our guests, our BBQ grills have to be free from dirt and grime first. And so, to help you get started, I’m sharing some useful tips on cleaning your stainless steel BBQ and keeping it that way!
Importance of a Clean Stainless Steel BBQ
Stainless steel has a coating material called chromium oxide that keeps it rust-resistant. Without regular upkeep, dirt, food particles and acidic marinades build up and cause coating corrosion. Cleaning then helps protect your grill and make it last longer.
Greasy BBQ grills are also dangerous and can cause sudden flare-ups or full-blown fires. It can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and an attractant for pests. Moreover, residue build-up on dirty grills, aside from being a health hazard, can alter your food’s look, smell and flavour.
Tips on How to Clean a BBQ Grill
I admit. Cleaning the BBQ can be tricky and time-consuming. But with the right tools and a little cleaning know-how, grill maintenance can be done without lots of, well, elbow grease. Here are some of my cleaning tips to help you out.
1. Ensure your safety before cleaning.
This tip is a top priority. Let the BBQ grill cool down a bit before you do anything. Next, disconnect the gas or unplug the grill. Slip a pair of work gloves on, then detach all removable parts. The gloves shall protect your fingers and also provide added grip when you start scrubbing.
2. Clean with non-toxic cleaning agents.
Cleaning your BBQ grill needs two basic things: soap and warm water. Combine these two in a bucket to make soapy water for cleaning the grates, drip tray, hood and BBQ exterior. Rinse the grill and its parts well with water, and make sure to wipe them dry immediately to avoid water spots. You can also use stainless steel cleaners if you wish, but avoid polishers. These can stain and discolour your grill when subjected to heat.
In case I forgot to clean my BBQ grill after using it, I use homemade cleaning paste, made of ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of baking soda, to remove hardened grime. I let it sit for about 20 minutes before I give it a good scrub. This paste helps soften the dirt and make it easier to wash away. For a grill that hasn’t been cleaned for a long time, using a commercial oven cleaner should do the trick.
Just remember though that stainless steel quality varies from one BBQ grill to another. Make sure to use the cleaning agents recommended by the manufacturer or stated on the instruction manual. You can also ask the store salesperson for assistance.
3. Use non-abrasive cleaners.
Stainless steel can get scratched easily. So, I steer clear from steel wool or metal brushes for cleaning. Instead, I use a softer brass grill brush to remove food particles from the grates, microfibre cloth to wipe smudges away and a soft sponge for stubborn stains. Make sure to go with the surface grain and wipe or scrub from side to side to avoid scratching.
4. Prep your grill and food to avoid sticking.
The best way to clean the BBQ is to prevent it from getting too dirty! To do this, I always make sure to preheat my grill to prevent food from sticking on the grate.
Oiling the grates is not a good practice though, as this will only result in flare-ups. Apply the oil on your food instead. For instance, I pat the meat dry first, then brush it with oil before grilling, or you can also add the oil to your marinade. When grilling softer food items like fish, I use a fish basket. This tool shall keep grilled whole fish or fillets whole, make them easy to flip and prevent food from falling through the grate.
5. Protect your BBQ grill from outdoor elements.
After cleaning my BBQ grill, I use a grill cover to protect it from rust and keep it clean until my next summer cookout. The thick vinyl and felt liner of the grill cover keep moisture out of your grill.
6. Make cleaning a habit.
Regular grill maintenance speeds up the cleaning process and makes your grill last longer. So, make sure to clean it after every use. I also suggest deep cleaning your grill after using it for ten times or at least twice a year. If you live near the ocean or you have the grill close to the pool, regular cleaning can protect it from rusting caused by salt air or chlorine exposure.
Keep Your Barbie Clean and Ready for Any Party
There’s nothing better than having family and friends over for delicious food cooked on a sparkling clean BBQ grill. Regularly clean your stainless steel BBQ grill with the right cleansers to keep it looking like new and to enjoy many years’ worth of great barbecue!