So-you’re the proud owner of a new grill-awesome! Take a good look at it, because like most anything else you cook on, it’ll never be quite that clean and shiny again……and that’s ok.
Let’s start with cleaning the cooking grids……
In recent years there has been a lot going around about what type of brush is best to use to clean a grill. Metal bristles on cleaning brushes can break-off and stick to the grate then become lodged in the food and next lodged somewhere in your body. That’s scary! Some brush manufacturers have switched to other types of bristles that are synthetic instead of metal and as long as you don’t leave the brush on the grill while it is operating, they’ll work fine.
The next layer down, the briquette grates or “flame tamers”……….
In the old days there were lava rocks on a grate at this level. They worked well but absorbed a lot of grease and occasionally would create flare ups. You simply had to turn them over from time to time to burn off and they worked fine. The next generation brought in “moon rocks” or man-made briquettes in several different types and shapes. These items would absorb less grease so flare-ups occurred less. Both of these media had to be replaced about every 4-7 years depending on use. Today most grill manufacturers use perforated pieces of stainless steel. These work ok but without the additional smoke, you don’t receive as much flavor as briquettes or lava rock. SOME manufacturers still use the old-school briquettes that impart more flavor but with less flare-up than lava rocks.
Then the housing……….
In almost all cases, there is no reason to clean the inside of the hood of most grills, especially stainless-steel ones. The inside base of the grill however should be cleaned at least each spring. A shop vac and that wire brush you no longer use for the coking grids works great for this task! Also remember to clean out the drip try or crumb tray at least every other cooking as well. The outside of the housing does not necessarily NEED to be cleaned but the grill will look a lot better, if you do. On stainless steel a product called Barkeepers Friend works great. Remember to follow the instructions and always wipe WITH the grain of the stainless.
And keep it covered……Most grills today are designed to be left out in the weather. Let’s face it, the sun, rain, and snow (not to mention bird droppings) can wreak havoc on the housing and even shorten the life-span of internal parts as well as electronics that many grills include these days. Covers are not expensive, relative to the investment you just made in your new grill. It only takes a few minutes to use one (after the grill cools) and it will help your grill last a LOT longer regardless of the materials it is made out of.