Texas Living

Grill Maintenance Made Easy: Tools, Tips, and Tricks

By Patrick Reardon 6.7.24

You’re undoubtedly getting good mileage out of your grill: burgers one night, ribs the next. With all this backyard barbecuing, it’s no wonder you might start noticing black, greasy residue building up on your grates (and worse, sticking to your kabobs).

Grill maintenance should be as routine as using the grill. Whether you’re running on gas or charcoal, it’s essential to clean your grill before and after every use. Luckily, it only takes a few tools and a few minutes to keep your grill in tip-top shape all summer long.

grill maintenance

3 Must-Have Grill Maintenance Tools

  • Grill brush: A sturdy bristle brush is the most important part of cleaning your grill. If you’re scrubbing your grates regularly, cheap brushes will wear out in no time.
  • Seasoning oil: Cooking oil helps season your grates, prevents rust and grease buildup, and heats your grill faster. You can buy specialty cleaning and seasoning oils, but olive oil in a spray bottle works well for a bargain.
  • Grill cover: A leather or plastic cover will protect your grill from the elements. Your grill should wear its cover whenever it’s not in use to prevent weathering.
grill maintenance

Grill Maintenance

Because high heat will loosen food residue on the grates, the chore of cleaning charcoal and gas grills is only a matter of seconds. You can scrub the grates while the grill is preheating or immediately after you’ve taken off your food. As long as the grate is well-heated, you’ll see how easily the grease comes off.

Wait until the grill has entirely cooled off before spritzing your grate with seasoning oil. Cover your grill until next time to prevent rusting and protect it from rain, hail, or other unfriendly weather.

For a charcoal grill, be sure to empty any ash before covering the grill. Cool ashes should be stored in an old coffee container or wrapped in aluminum foil and then tossed in the bin.

grill maintenance

Deep-Cleaning Grill Grates

If it’s been a while since you’ve scrubbed your grill grates, you might be encountering stubborn grease and large chunks of burn residue. It’s not time for a new grill yet — it’s just time for a little more soap and elbow grease.

Let your grill cool completely, then remove the grates from your grill. Soak them in hot, soapy water for at least 10 minutes to loosen up the grease. Use your grill brush or a steel wool sponge to scrub both sides of the grate thoroughly. Once it’s clean, rinse the metal well and dry it off completely to avoid rusting, then generously apply seasoning oil all over before returning it to the grill.

With your grill spick-and-span, you’re set for a summer of clean and safe grilling — just be sure you’re following fire codes and taking proper precautions to avoid barbecue disasters.

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