Grilling Questions for Diane Morgan: How To Clean a Grill?

Here's the next installment of good questions for grilling expert Diane Morgan, author of Grill Every Day. Yesterday she told us all about grilling fish.

Today she's back with an answer to another very representative question: how do I clean my grill? Read on for Diane's answer and tips on cleaning charcoal and gas grills.

You asked: What is the best way to clean a grill, and should it be cleaned after each use?

Here is Diane's answer:

The Simple Rules of Gas Grill Maintenance A clean grill is a well-functioning, well-performing grill. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the grill annually or semiannually (depending on how much you grill).

This involves turning off the gas supply; taking off the grill grate and brushing it; removing the V-shaped metal bars, ceramic briquettes, or lava stones covering the burners and brushing them clean; lightly brushing the burner tubes to make sure all the gas ports are clean and open; cleaning the bottom of the grill and the grease-collection tray; and replacing the disposable pan (if needed).

If you have what looks like peeling black paint on the grill lid or grill bottom, use a bristle brush or putty knife to scrape off the flakes. This is buildup of carbon from the accumulated cooking vapors.

Put everything back together and you are ready to grill. Every time you use the grill, first check the grease-collection tray to make sure it is not full. (A grease fire under a lit gas grill is dangerous.) Once the grill is preheated, brush the grate with a grill brush. The burnt bits of food from the last time you grilled loosen more easily when the grate is hot. Oil the grate before grilling. If you have time, brush the grate again once you have turned off the grill.

The Simple Rules of Charcoal Grill Maintenance
As with a gas grill, a clean charcoal grill is a well-functioning, well-performing grill. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the grill annually or semiannually (depending on how much you grill).

This involves taking off the grill grate and brushing it, removing the charcoal grate and brushing it, cleaning the bottom of the grill, and cleaning out the ash catcher. If you have what looks like peeling black paint on the lid or the bottom, use a bristle brush or putty knife to scrape off the flakes. This is carbon buildup from the accumulated cooking vapors. Put everything back together and you are ready to grill.

Every time you use the grill, check the ash catcher to make sure it is not full. Once the grill is preheated, brush the cooking grate with a grill brush. The burnt bits of food from the last time you grilled loosen more easily when the grate is hot. Oil the grill grate before grilling. If you have time, brush the grill grate again once when the grill is cool. Lean meats that are grilled relatively quickly without a lot of fat and splatter work best.

Thank you Diane! Come back tomorrow for another good grilling answer from Diane Morgan.

Related: Previous question - How To Grill Fish?

(Grill image: Flickr member GizmodoDoc licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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