Having a portable BBQ grill (or even a stationary or in-built one) is a symbol of prestige. However, keeping your BBQ clean can be a chore in itself. During the off-season when you don’t BBQ as much, it may gather months of dust and grime that are tough to remove. In summer, it’s more an issue of food stains and grease. Either way, by incorporating a few simple steps into your routine, you can keep your BBQ spotless all year round.
BBQ hygiene depends on the type of BBQ you have. Wood-burners and charcoal Webers have a similar cleaning routine. Electrical BBQs and gas BBQs barely need maintenance at the fuel level, but they get spills just like any other cleaning implements, so you do have to consider that. For wood and charcoal burners, consider buying an easy-clean unit. Many charcoal Webers – for example – have one touch cleaning. You just turn the ash-catcher, pull it out, and empty it.
Accessories that ease dirt disposal
Many BBQs also have a drip pan or grease tray. It gathers the juices for easy disposal, and during cooking, allows said juices to heat up, circulating the vapour back into the food and enhancing its flavour while it cooks. Flavouriser bars in gas and electric Webers work the same way. For Weber gas BBQs, wipe the hose after use. This gets rid of surface grime before it accumulates. You can also stock up grill brushes and Weber cleaning spray.
Some users think it’s easier to clean your BBQ while it’s still hot because the dirt and stains are loose. In theory, yes, but you could burn yourself too. So a quick tip is after every use, once you’re done with the BBQ, turn it up to its highest setting and let it run for ten to fifteen minutes. For charcoal BBQs, this will entail adding more wood or briquettes and fanning the flame until it roars. The idea is to scorch any leftover food that might be on the grate.
Turn it up, scrape it off
Once the food spills are burnt through, they’re easier to wipe off, but wait until your grate cools (or the fire dies down) before you attempt to touch the hot metal. Don’t let the BBQ get cold though. While it’s still warm (and there are no glowing coals to accidentally re-ignite), take a grill brush and scrub the grills and grates using specialised BBQ cleaning fluid. If you have neither on hand, you can use crumpled foil or a scouring pad dipped in dishwashing fluid.
For stubborn stains, spray the grill/grates then wait a few minutes for the soap to set before you start scrubbing. After all the dirt comes off, rinse and dry your cooking surfaces. If the BBQ is wood or charcoal, remove the leftover fuel, though you can opt to set some aside for your next use. Empty any ash catchers, drip pans, or grease trays, and oil the metallic bits (including the grates). This prevents rust from atmospheric moisture, and will keep food from sticking the next time you use it. Remember though, oil attracts dust, so wipe those oiled bits before you cook.