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Cleaning a Grill or Smoker

Cleaning a Grill or Smoker

Posted by Grange Co-op on 5th Oct 2022

Nothing is more disgusting than a dirty, greasy grill. Not only does it look bad, but letting charred food build-up can also interfere with how well the grill works. Regular grill cleaning helps you get better results with your food while also creating a more sanitary cooking outlet.

The Basics of How to Clean a Grill

There are many types and brands of grills available today. Options range from small charcoal grills to large gas-fueled smoker/grill combos. Regardless of the type of grill you have, the basics are still the same.

The following steps will help make your grilling safer and more enjoyable.

Step 1: Heat up the grill for 15 minutes to help burn off food particles. Some people like to use an onion to break up the remaining gunk on the grill. 

Instead of getting your hands too close to the hot plates, try scraping with a Traeger wooden grill grate scrape. It’s made to fit perfectly between the grooves of some models of Traeger grills, so cleanup is easier.

Step 2: Let your grill cool completely before spraying it with grill cleaner. If you don’t have grill cleaner on hand, there are some household items you can use, such as baking soda and vinegar, diluted dish soap, lemons, or distilled white vinegar. All these are non-toxic.

Spray the cleaner on the grill grate and inside of the chimney. Remove grill grates to coat both sides. Use a brush with nylon bristles. Never use wire bristles, as they can break off onto the grates and get in your food. Wipe off the cleaner with a soft cloth or paper towels.

Next time, make sure you have an all-natural grill cleaner to do a more thorough job. Ensure any cleaner you use doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and is biodegradable.

Step 3: If you used foil drip tray liners, remove and dispose of them.

Step 4: Take out the drip tray and heat baffle.

Step 5: If you're using a pellet grill, remove the pellets from the hopper. Vacuum out the hopper, the grill, and the fire pot. Remove as much sawdust as possible.

Step 6: Scrub the inside of the chimney using a soft cloth or paper towels.

Step 7: Reapply the Traeger grill cleaner inside and outside of the grill. Let it soak for at least 5 minutes before wiping clean.

Step 8: Reinstall the heat baffle, drip tray, and grill grates, and add new liners. Your grill should be clean and ready for its next use!

Maintain a Grill Cleaning Schedule

You don’t need to clean your grill from top to bottom every time you use it. But you do need to stick with a schedule to keep your grill clean and sanitary. It also makes a difference if you use accessories like a stainless steel grill basket. The cleaning process is different if your food never touches the grill plates. Follow the cleaning instructions that came with the accessory. 

- You need to clean your grill plate every time you use it or your food touches the grill. Just follow steps 1 and 2 above.

- After using the grill a few times, clean the grill inside and outside with cleaner and paper towels. Dispose of drip tray liners, empty the pellets, and vacuum the hopper, fire pot, and grill using a shop vacuum. Clean inside the chimney with a soft cloth.Traeger Pro 22 & 575 Full Length Grill Cover

- Give the grill a full cleaning at least four times a year. Using a grill cover will help prevent it from needing more frequent deep cleanings. The cover helps keep out precipitation that causes rust. Any scratches on the exterior of the grill are especially vulnerable to rusting. A grill cover also provides a barrier to animal droppings, leaves, and other types of debris.

When deep cleaning, remove any noticeable grease using a soft rag and soapy water. Once clean, apply car wax to the outer surface. The wax provides an added layer of protection from the elements.

- At a minimum, check and clean the grease drip. This is a little bucket at the bottom of the grill that catches grease from the food you cook. Start with a cool grill before removing the grease bucket. Use a wooden spoon or other wooden utensil to remove grease from the bottom of the drip tray. Also, clean the tube that leads from the drip tray to the bucket. Use paper towels to get rid of any additional residue.

Plan Ahead for a Cleaner Grilling Experience

Cleaning a smoker is pretty much the same as cleaning a grill. The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you smoke meat. If the meat begins tasting a little too smoky, that's a sign the smoker needs to be cleaned.

Preparing ahead and gathering your ingredients can help prevent some of the mess that causes your grill to get dirty in the first place. Staying organized will also make grilling a more enjoyable experience for you. 

Grange Co-op for All Your Grilling Needs

Grange Co-op has everything you need to create incredible dishes hot off the grill. We carry an extensive range of Traeger grills and accessories. If you have questions, contact us to speak with one of our support team members. We are always happy to help.