Grilling season is upon us, which means summer cookouts, burgers and barbecue, and long, warm nights in the yard. It also means it’s time to clean your grill. The same cooking process that makes those Instagram-perfect, flavorful char marks on your food produces carbon deposits on virtually every interior surface of your grill: the grates, flavorizing bars and burner tubes (on gas grills), and the firebox itself. Those carbon deposits aren’t just ugly; grease can stick to them and harbor bacteria, and carbon buildup can cause your grill to heat unevenly or prevent it from reaching full operating temperature, and burner tubes to fail.
If scrubbing isn’t your thing, there's Carbona’s 2-in-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner. This kit contains a large zip-top bag and a 16 oz. bottle of cleaner. Simply place your grates in the bag, pour in the liquid, seal the bag and shake gently so the cleaner coats the racks. Let it sit (away from children and pets) eight hours, or even overnight. Afterward, remove the racks from the bag, lightly scrub away any stubborn residue and rinse them well. In our GH Institute Cleaning Lab tests, even grates from a charcoal smoker came out clean with virtually no effort, thanks to this product.
No matter what you are grilling, you should always begin with clean grill grates. Not only does this make it easier to flip and remove the food from the grill but it also does not impart any flavors from previous grilled meals, such as barbecued chicken, into the steaks. Make sure to clean your cooking grate using a stiff wire brush. It is best to do this after you've finished grilling while the grates are still warm, but you can also clean the grill while it is preheating if you discover caked on residue. Taking the time to brush off old bits of cooked-on food will pay off handsomely when your steaks release from the cooking grate with ease.
The trick with seafood is to make sure it doesn’t stick. So coat it lightly with oil and check that the grate is clean and very hot. For fillets and whole fish, you can also try this foolproof (albeit more time-consuming) method: Place the fish on a soaked cedar plank or a lightly oiled piece of heavy-duty foil, then grill (covered), over medium indirect heat.
After your new griddle is squeaky clean, it’s time to darken it up! This is where we transform the griddle top into a blackened, non-stick perfect cooking surface. So, turn on the burners to the max and let the heat do its thing. After 10-15 minutes, you’ll notice the griddle top will start to brown. Once you see the color change, move on to the next step.
Clean out the burners and venturi tubes. The venturi tubes are the pipes that go out from the burners and connect to the grill control valves. These tubes allow the air and gas to mix together, altering the intensity of the flame. Remove the burners and venturi tubes, and place a hose head at one end of the tube. Turn the water on to clear out any debris or insects that could have gotten inside.