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.
Summertime is synonymous with grill season. This primer covers everything from how to grill steak and salmon to searing potatoes and plum tomatoes and more. Whether you're new to grilling or a seasoned pit master, you'll want to keep this helpful handbook in your back pocket all summer long, because it's far too easy to forget the safe internal temperature guidelines for cooking beef, pork, poultry, fish, and seafood. Plus there's endless opportunity to find new foods that taste delicious with a char, like citrus fruits, eggplant, and even avocados. After reading this guide, you're going to cruise the farmer's market with a whole new outlook on what your grill can do.
After the grates and panels have soaked, take them out and scrub them thoroughly. A long handled grill brush offers added leverage. For really stubborn gunk, a paste of vinegar and baking soda helps the brush scrub off the worst bits. Rinse them clean. Take care to thoroughly dry cast-iron grates. Now’s a great time to inspect porcelain grates for chips that may lead to rust later on.
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.