Cleaning your cooking grill?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by sandman67, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. sandman67

    sandman67 Newbie

    I've always taken my cooking grill inside and washed it with soap and water until its clean and shiny each and every time I smoke or grill.

    A friend was over a few weeks ago and laughed when he saw me doing this and told me I was nuts to do that. He said all you have to do is just heat them up and brush them down with a wire brush after cooking. Told me not to worry if they get black...that's just extra flavoring. Well hell that sounds good to me, lot less work too.

    So do you all just heat em up and brush them down or do you wash with soap and water? Can they also be left outside in the grill/smoker or should they be stored inside?
  2. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    The answer, as always, is: It depends. lol

    Stainless grill surfaces indeed ought be cleaned thoroughly after every use. Same with porcelain.

    Cast iron, however, ought be left alone. Simply let it burn off before cooking and scrape it down to remove the residue, then spray it with olive oil and start cooking! That said, because I grill constantly I do wash mine (from the Weber gas grill) down with soap & water every few weeks or so - but I immediately dry and re-season them so they don't rust.
  3. lcruzen

    lcruzen Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think a grill gets hot enough that brushing it off with a wire brush is fine but since smoking is done at lower temps a good cleaning won't hurt but 200o+ is plenty hot to kill the nasties.

    My GOSM - clean with soap, water and scrub pad
    Charbroil Silver Smoker - wire brush
    Weber Kettle - wire brush
    Big Chief - soap water and scrub pad.

    Looking at it my method makes no sense at all!
  4. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Like Hank Hill once said, "Bobby, some people think that the leftover chunks on the grill adds flavoring, we won't be eating there". [​IMG]

    On my weber kettle grill it gets hot enough that I can brush the rack clean and then I brush it with a little cooking oil. On my smoker, I remove the grates and soak them in hot water and soap and give them a good scrubbing, then dry and replace them.

    You can leave your racks in your grill outside, if they're chrome they won't rust, but if they're cast iron then you should wipe them with cooking oil to keep them from rusting.
  5. blacklab

    blacklab Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    With the kettles I just wire brush them while there still hot. As for the GOSM I just wire brush it to unless it needs a good cleaning.
  6. packplantpath

    packplantpath Smoking Fanatic

    You mean you can clean grates?????

    Holy crap batman, I had no idea.

    Honestly, I just wire brush all of them. Maye once every decade a true wash. All that black stuff on the grate, that's non-stick coating. As long as it's not chunky, it's fine.

    Recently, my ceramic smoker had a nice mold outbreak everywhere. I was concerned about how to clean it up, but they recommend just getting it scalding hot and brushing it down. Course, scalding here is about 700*, but still.
  7. dirtman775

    dirtman775 Smoking Fanatic

    rule #3 COOK ON MY MAN!!!!!!
  8. gabriel

    gabriel Smoke Blower

    Something I saw next to a Reynold's Wrap coupon, use some tin foil and just set it on top of the grates and the heat is immediately reflected back down on the grates and at even low on my grill it gets flamin hot and in about 30s I can scrape off anything.

    I've taken off my smoking grates and put them on my grill to clean them this way once.

    I just fold them up and put them under the lid on my burner next to the grill and use them over and over again..and it's not Reynold's. [​IMG]
  9. yep - you don't wash grills. SHAME ON YOU ! lol
    Use the softest wire brush you can find. I tend to give the grates in the outlaw a quick brush after the foods gone and the coals are still hot, just to knock the lumps off - the heat and flames sterilise the grates and the old black coating is what it tells you in the manual is the 'non-stick coating it will develop'. And yep a spray down with olive oil to fend off the rust it attracts in damp old blighty.
    The steel baskets from the smoker get washed down with hot water and a brush. No soap.
  10. garyt

    garyt Smoking Fanatic

    Mine are porcelain. I Soak and clean after each use, I cant buy another New Braunfels, They don't make em any more and I flat out love this thing and take very good care of it. I line the cooking area and fire box with heavy duty foil before each use It makes total clean up in the morning take about 2 minutes and use a leaf blower if you can picture that to clean out any small amount of ash left in the firebox, I have been told ash will rust it out, call me a wuss but I take very good care of it. It treats me well

    Also plugged the drain holes in the btm of smoker with a flat head screws and washers, lay the foil down and let it collect everything, forms a solid when cool, makes clean up a cinch and no more grease on the deck or driveway
  11. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Amen, brother!! [​IMG]

    Several years ago, we were planning a birthday BBQ party for my son. Since I was cooking for a bunch of people, I thought it would be nice if I cleaned the gunk off of the grills and the inside of my Charbroil Masterflame gas grill. I can't remember the name of the crap I used to clean it ,(and I probably wouldn't admit to it if I did), but after the cleaning, I let it dry and grilled some chicken breasts for dinner that night.

    That was the CRAPPIEST tasting meal I have ever pulled off of that grill. [​IMG] Fortunately, I had enough time before the party to cook some more stuff and partially gunk it up again. [​IMG] Now that grill gets the grates heated, brushed and oiled before the meat goes on. The big chunks that fall through and bake on the lava rocks gets chipped off once in awhile, but that is it as far as cleaning goes.

    The smoker grates get scraped off after a smoke and the tuning plates and baffle get the big globs of grease wiped off and wiped down with a paper towel.

    Sunday my wife and I were sitting on the patio and my wife says "Something smells good. I think someone is barbecuing." I smiled and chuckled. What she was smelling was the smoker which was around the corner from us in the breezeway. It is seasoned to the point that it smells good even when there is no meat in it.

    So . . . don't get carried away with the cleaning.

  12. waysideranch

    waysideranch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I only pick off large pieces and brush occasionally. Leave smoker going after each smoke to ensure all is burnt off well. IMO.
  13. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    That just means you missed a step.

    Ordinary dish soap on stainless or porcelain, IF CLEANED AND RINSED PROPERLY, will leave no residue. And of course on cast iron you rinse, dry, and immediately re-season; once again, if well-cleaned and properly rinsed there's no residue.

    Please don't blame the concept of cleaning - blame the poor job done by the person doing the cleaning. [​IMG]
  14. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I heat up the grates then brush off. Then apply olive oil to the grates. About once a year or every other year Ill pressure wash the inside of the grill. Just depends.
  15. roadrunr

    roadrunr Meat Mopper

    i just brush after cooking while still hot, then reseason with pam, vegetable oil, or similar. some folks use pork fat, which i like to do when its available
  16. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, I didn't use ordinary dish soap. I used something stronger to cut the grease. (Why do you think I said I wouldn't admit to remembering what it was even if I did remember.) [​IMG] Actually, I think it may have been Tide detergent. [​IMG] Oops, I admitted it. Something strong to cut the grease is what I believe I was thinking - or was I thinking?

    And you have a point although I didn't do a poor job of cleaning it. It was VERY clean. [​IMG] I just did a really poor job of selecting a cleaner. [​IMG] I guess Dawn would have been sufficient.

    At any rate, I really don't think the grates need anything more than a brush off and the bigger chunks scraped off the insides of the grill once in awhile.

    Just my opinion though.

  17. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    Actually, Tide should work fine! Again it depends more on the person doing the cleaning than anything else....

    I suppose that if you use ANY soap and leave ANY black stuff on the grates, they will have absorbed some of the soap and will of course spew that back into your food next time you cook. If you're gonna clean the grills, ya gotta make sure they are truly CLEAN and thoroughly rinsed. NO leftover gunk whatsoever.

    I clean my Weber kettle stainless grills in the slop sink in the basement laundry room. So indeed I have used Tide on those grills, with no ill effect (they are spotless). Of course, since I only use the kettle as a smoker I don't get that burned-on black that you get from a grilling BBQ. The cast iron from the Weber gas grill gets washed in the kitchen, on those rare occasions when I do wash them. And again, the scrubbing is thorough with steel wool; they are immediately dried and re-seasoned.
  18. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I didn't use Tide on the grates -- just the inside and outside of the grill. But you're probably right. It probably wasn't rinsed thoroughly.

  19. dangerdan

    dangerdan Meat Mopper OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've been using a charbroil SP lately. It may seem like a lot to go through but I usually build a good hot fire under the grill just for cleaning. I keep moving the grills around until every lil particle of crud is carbonized and brush it all clean. After the grill cools to a warm temp I appliy veg oil to hold it until the next cook.
  20. davidmcg

    davidmcg Meat Mopper

    Not sure what ya'll are using to wash these racks down in, but my racks for one will not fit in our kitchen sink. But even if they would fit, if I brought that mess into my wifes kitchen I believe I would be missing some things. But as was earlier said, I take mt grates after the meat is pulled and drop into the firebox. They don't fit all the way so I just rotate them. While over those direct hot coals I just brush them off then go over them with some newspaper. Good as new.

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