How to Clean a Gas Grill - Make it a Long-Lasting Partnership!
You and your grill—it’s a beautiful partnership, a co-op, an unspoken contractual agreement between you and your favorite appliance—you keep him clean and working in optimum order, and he gives you back juicy, succulent, to-die-for flavor like no other cooking method can.
And you’re here because you want to learn the best way to clean a gas grill so you can keep up your end of the bargain. After all, maintaining your agreement will keep your food tasting great, and it will keep you and your family safe from greasy build-up that can start a gas fire.
But why do we love barbecuing so much? Did you ever ask yourself that question? CNN says nearly 80 million Americans have grilled in the past year, and that number gets bigger all the time. There’s no doubt that we Americans sure do love our barbecuing—but why?
Okay, we’ll discuss that later; we’ll put it on the back burner, so to speak. Right now, let’s talk about how to clean your gas grill so you can keep him in tip-top, first-rate, shiny-new condition. After all, you have a binding agreement with your grill that he just might legally hold you to, and you don’t want to make him mad. So, here’s one tried-and-true method of a through-and-through deep cleaning, plus a whole lotta ‘hacks’ that are all proven to get your gas grill sparkling in between those deep cleans.
The Importance of "Low and Slow"
You just grilled today. You had a ton of fun barbecuing, spending the day with friends and family, and eating up all that juicy, delicious, messy food. But now your grill’s a filthy disaster. He’s not too happy about it and neither are you, for that matter. So you better clean him now—but quick! Otherwise, you’re breaching that all-important agreement you have with him, aren’t you?
The good news is your kitchen already has a slew of products you can use to get your grill cleaned up and happy again, ready for next weekend’s barbecue. How often you perform a deep clean is still debated by experts, so only you can tell if your grill needs a thorough cleaning. And here’s the best way to clean a gas grill, hands-down.
What you'll need
- 01Bucket of warm water
- 02Liquid dish soap
- 03Wire grill brush
- 04Clean scouring pad or sponge
- 05Clean, dry cloth
Keep a list of how you removed item from your grill
Turn off the gas supply
Gas fires can start from a dirty gas grill, so say fire officials as reported in the Chicago Tribune. Therefore, you must keep your grill clean, and when you clean it, you must ensure to cut off all gas supplies beforehand.
For this step, find the gas supply valve. If you don’t know where the gas supply valve is, your owner’s manual is the best place to learn. Most, if not all, gas grills have a lever or knob that must be turned to shut off the gas completely. The general rule of thumb here is ‘lefty-loosey, righty-tighty.’ HOWEVER, this has been known to fail, so again, if you can’t tell just by moving it gently in either direction, check your owner’s manual.
Remove grates and scrub
Removing the grates should be pretty easy, so do that and then scrub all grates thoroughly. All you need for this step is a bucket of warm water to which you’ve added a few squirts of liquid dish soap, a wire grill brush you can buy at any supermarket or box or home store, and a little effort. Dip the brush into the soapy water, remove, and scrub. Also, when you scrub the grates, be sure to clean both sides.
Remove metal coverings and scrub
The metal plates or coverings are vital to your gas grill because they work to prevent uneven heating. Best practice here when scrubbing these items is to use warm, soapy water with a clean scouring pad or sponge.
Remove burners (if possible) and scrub
Now it’s time to clean the burners. Do this gently, as you don’t want to scrape or damage these. Before you begin scrubbing, first grab a few toothpicks to loosen any stuck-on food particles you find in the burner holes. Next, gently wipe the burners clean with a sponge.
Some gas grills contain a removable pan on the bottom. If yours has one of these, remove it, scrape all food particles and other debris off, and replace. If your gas grill does not contain a removable grill pan on the bottom, use a wire grill brush or metal spatula to dislodge as much charred particles as possible from the grease hole. If you don’t want these disgusting particles dumping directly onto the ground, use a garbage bag underneath to catch the pieces that fall.
Using a clean sponge or scouring pad dipped into your bucket of warm soapy water, scrub the bottom of the grill to remove all grime and greasy build-up. Doing this will keep your grill from becoming corroded. In this step, you’ll also want to clean all sides as well as underneath the lid. You can use the wire brush if you need to dislodge burnt particles, but it’s probably best to scrub as much away with a sponge or scouring pad, as you don’t want to scrape the surfaces. Be sure to dry all surfaces with a clean, dry cloth because dripping water can leave water spots that can damage the surfaces of your precious grill.
Reassemble your grill
It’s now time to replace the grill grates and the burner covers. If necessary, refer to your list to recall the order you removed items and where they go, then simply replace them in reverse order. Checking for grooves will help as you secure items back into place.
Turn on the gas and fire it up!
Turn on the gas supply to your grill, turn the grill on to a max heat, and close the lid tightly. Keep the grill fired up for approximately 15 minutes, as this step will help to burn away remaining soap, if there is any. After all, you don’t want any soap residue showing up in your food. When the 15 minutes are up, shut off the burners. If you like, you can also oil the grates at this point to keep food from sticking the next time you barbecue.
Grill Cleaning Hacks
Using an onion is a great way to keep your grill clean immediately following each time you barbecue. You’ll want to do this while there’s still some heat left on your grill. Simply place an onion on a fork or other proper grilling utensil.
Then rub the onion over the hot bars to steam away particles left on them. Works great!
Baking Soda Method
Baking soda is a multi-use kitchen cleaner, and now you know you can use it to clean your gas grill. Sprinkle a little baking soda in warm water to dissolve it. Then use a scouring pad or clean sponge to scrub away food particles and other debris until your grill is clean.
If you can part with a half-bottle of beer, you can use it to keep your grill clean between uses. (Hey, use some of that light beer your wife drinks. She’ll never know.) Pour a half-bottle of the stuff onto the grill after it’s warmed down a bit. Then scrub with a wire grill brush or even some newspaper.
Vinegar is another all-purpose cleaner. For your grill, mix a cup or two with equal parts water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle, spray it onto the dirty areas of your grill, and wait approximately 10 minutes. Do this twice, if necessary. Then scrub the grill with a wire grill brush, scouring pad, or sponge.
You’ve known for a long time that coffee’s not just for drinking anymore (though drinking it still its best use, isn’t it?). Soaking the different removable parts of your grill in a cup or three of Joe will help to remove stains because the acid in coffee will help to loosen caked-on debris.
Why do we love barbecuing so much?
“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.” This sentiment of world-renowned chefs likely is shared by millions of us. Yes, in the United States, barbecuing has become a sport, an art, a science. We look forward to weekends because we’re going to … barbecue. We can’t wait for late-summer football season to start because of, say it with me, barbecue.
Sure, it’s the football too—but don’t kid yourself that tailgating parties started with football. Did you know that the foremost authority on tailgating, the American Tailgaters Association, actually dates tailgate parties back to 1861, a full eight years before the first football game? It’s true! Yes, we Americans love our barbecuing as much as we love our football, our baseball, our apple pie and, well, you get the idea. Hey, all I can say is this—in my family, barbecuing is practically synonymous, veritably interchangeable, with the word ‘summer.’ After all, when was the last time you heard someone say, “It’s barbecue season”? See what I mean? Barbecuing is the only cooking method that has its very own season!
History of barbecuing
Not many of us want to sit through a history lesson, but you’re going to love this one. And we’ll keep it brief, cool, and compelling.
Latin culture just seems to be synonymous with sizzling hot anything, doesn’t it? Salsa dancing, spicy food, and now you can add this steaming, searing cooking method to the list. The story goes like this—and this is straight from the website of Smithsonian—Christopher Columbus encountered his first indigenous tribes on an island he dubbed, “Hispaniola.” (Boy, this guy really took it on himself to name a lot of things, didn’t he?) And the tribes on this island had their own unique means of cooking meat—they did it over an indirect flame using green wood. The native people called this ‘barbacoa,’ or, of course, barbecue. Columbus and his roadies took this new type of cooking, like no other they had ever encountered, back to their own cribs, and from there, it eventually made its way—many years later, of course—to the States. See? Brief, to the point, interesting, and pretty cool, huh? But that doesn’t really explain why we love it so much, does it? Let’s explore a little deeper.
Southerners sure know their barbecue. But Southern grilling methods differ just enough to make each region’s barbecue taste unique to its unspoken borders. Texas, for instance, starts and ends with beef brisket (link internal!). If you don’t barbecue with it, you just ain’t from the Lone Star State, partner. Carolinians disagree just a bit, with North Carolina having a partiality to two distinct styles. The first, ‘Eastern style,’ bastes whole hogs in sauces based with vinegar and complemented with a little red pepper and sugar, while the second, ‘Lexington style,’ takes that sauce, adds some ketchup, and fires it all up, succulently marinated into a pork shoulder. And if you’re ‘going to Kansas City,’ you best prepare yourself for some meat—pork, chicken, sausage, or beef—soaked in thick sauce made proudly of a dark, sweet molasses and a pure and hearty tomato base.
Ahh, heck, we could go on all day about the history of barbecue, the differences between the South’s barbecue styles, and all that other stuff–but does it really matter? No, I don’t think it does—because as I’ve been writing this, I think I’ve nailed down why we Americans love our barbecue so much. It’s because it brings us together with family and friends in celebrations of life, love, home towns, freedom, old traditions, and new traditions. We love it because we enjoy standing outside over our grills, talking and laughing with loved ones, getting the meat and vegetables to that ideal temp, that ideal tenderness. And we love it because there’s just no other experience like biting into that sumptuously succulent piece of meat that’s been barbecued to perfection.
We’ve all got our own reasons for our love of barbecuing. Survival expert Bear Grylls (great name for this article, huh?!) once said, “My favorite moments … the sun’s out, I’ve got a fire going and a nice snake on the barbecue.” Snake?! Well, whatever you’re barbecuing this weekend, be it chicken, burgers, steak, pork ribs, or yes, even a snake you’ve wrangled to the ground yourself, you want to keep your gas grill looking shiny-clean new so it’ll work in optimum order, barbecuing the best darned meat and veggies in the county. Hey! It’s barbecue season, everybody!