While the grill grates and flavorizer bars are removed and soaking, tackle the caked-on gunk in the firebox. Put another bucket underneath the firebox where the grease tray sits to collect debris. The easiest way to start is with a wet/dry shop vacuum, whether full-size or a portable, like Milwaukee’s M18 hand vacuum. Since wet/dry vacs are mostly workshop items, you won’t feel bad about using one to suck up the gunk that’s collected in your grill. You can use the grill brush to help loosen stubborn stuck-on grit. If the deposits are really caked on, dip the wire brush in the bucket of soapy water and get to work. Use a hose to rinse it out when it’s clean.
Seasoning a grill has no relationship to seasoning the steak or eggplant you're grilling. In the latter case, you season to add flavor to the raw food item. But when you season a cast iron grill, you're not adding flavor. It actually refers to the process of coating the grill grate with oil, then heating it, to render it rustproof and create a virtually nonstick surface. Depending on the type of grill you own, you may only need to season the grill the first time you use it and occasionally after that. And with a Weber brand grill, you may not need to season it at all.
Transfer the steaks to cooling racks with a sheet pan or cookie sheet underneath, cover the whole tray with plastic wrap and stick them in the fridge. Take them out about 30 minutes before cooking, pat them dry again with paper towels (because the salt will pull out some juices), season with freshly ground black pepper (press the pepper into the meat as you did with the salt) and then grill as you normally would. We'll talk more about black pepper in a moment. As for patting the steaks dry, a dry steak will form a browner crust when it's cooked.
If you've purchased a new Weber grill, the company says that seasoning the cast iron grates isn't necessary. A porcelain enamel coating is already added to the cast iron so you don't need to season it at all. Instead, they recommend that when using a grill for the first time, you turn up the heat for about 15 minutes, then brush it clean with a stainless steel bristle brush.
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.
For metal and cast iron grill grates, coat lightly with a high temperature oil like Canola or Peanut oil – wipe off any excessive oil, install the grates and fire up the grill. Heat the grill on high and let it burn for ~30 mins. This will burn all the solvents and impurities off of the heating elements, grill grates, etc. Note that porcelain grates won’t need a coat of oil, but will benefit from the burn in process to remove any chemicals/impurities that were applied by the manufacturer.
There are a ton of different grill cleaning gizmos to choose from, but nothing can beat a long handled wire brush, a wire bottle-style brush, a five-gallon bucket, and some elbow grease. Avoid toxic cleaning formulas. They can impart an off taste to foods, and aren’t necessary: warm water and dish soap and a paste of vinegar and baking soda are all the cleaning power you need. If your grill has stainless steel exterior surfaces, a good stainless steel cleaner (or vinegar) imparts an extra shine. You’ll also need some durable gloves and a few disposable sponges and rags. Pick an overcast day; hot sun can make it hard to remove streaks from cleaners (plus, it’s cooler working weather).
With the grates removed, brush down the inside to clear out any loose particles that have collected in the bottom and around the sides. Scrape off any large peeling flakes of carbon and grease and if yours is a charcoal grill, empty the ash catcher. Don’t forget to clean the drip pan and grease cup in warm soapy water and line them with aluminum foil so they’ll be easier to clean next time.
As for seasoning, most foods will taste great if you add just a little salt, pepper, and olive oil beforehand. That's the beauty of grilling: it's a fuss-free cooking method meant to elevate an ingredient's natural flavor without much elbow grease. That being said, if you want even more flavor, there are endless mouthwatering marinades you can add to your meat or veggies before they're barbecued. And if you're hosting a barbecue and need some simple summer sides, we've got tons here. Don't forget the rosé!
Season your griddle before and after cooking. This maintains a perfect coating that makes tasty food that won’t stick to the metal. But after cooking, you might have some debris stuck on. Just heat up the griddle and throw water on the stuck food. It’ll boil off easily. Got some pesky food that clings on for dear life? Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt on the debris and then throw water on the griddle while it’s hot. Use paper towels to brush off the debris, and you’re done! Store it safely and call it a day! For any other questions or tips, take a look at our How to Take Care of Your Griddle Complete Guide.
Check the fuel lines for invisible openings. Create a mixture of soap and water. Make sure you stir the mixture around so it gets really sudsy. Then, use a paintbrush to brush the soapy mixture onto the fuel lines. Turn on the gas, and brush some more soapy water onto the gas lines. If any bubbles form on the gas lines, that indicates a gas leak. Immediately replace any fuel lines that exhibit signs of a gas leak.