With football season in full effect, get ready for BBQ and hanging out with friends! You’ve got all the meats you’re grilling for this weekend, but when you open the grill all you see is old wood chips and charcoal laying around. What happens to your grill if you let it sit for too long without maintenance? Make sure you have the best grill cleaning routine possible for friends and family.
What’s on My Grill?
When we leave the grill sitting for too long there are a plethora of problems that can pop up from grease stains to unwanted rodents. These small things that build up over time can be detrimental to your health.
Grease stains are a fire hazard. After cooking on a grill, there will still be a lot of grease leftover at the bottom of the grill. It could eventually overflow and find its way onto concrete, staining it permanently.
Cross Contamination & Bacteria
If you don’t use your grill enough, you can imagine what leftover fat and grease can turn into after a few months of neglect. Depending on what grill you own, that grease can fall right below the burners where it’s never getting hot, in effect maintaining dangerous bacteria.
Cancer.gov is quoted saying:
“Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when muscle meat, including beef, pork, fish, or poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods”.
To put it in simple terms, when grease is combined with charcoal it can create cancer-causing PAHs. If grease is left in the grill for long periods of time, putting your grill on high heat and believing that it will kill dangerous chemicals no longer seems like a good idea.
If you see “fuzzy white or green” spots on your grill DO NOT use your grill until you’ve cleaned it thoroughly. Mold can be extremely dangerous and it’s probably best to hire a professional to clean your grill once you start visually seeing mold. Cooking with mold can make you extremely sick, some people even have an allergic reaction.
How to Clean a Grill Effectively
There are multiple surfaces on and around the grill that needs to be sanitized and disinfected. From countertops to grease traps, we need to make sure they are clean so that when we’re creating a dish our food stays clean throughout the whole cooking process.
Let’s Start With the Grill
Start by unplugging the gas from your grill!
Use a metal bristle brush to scrape off buildup from previous uses. However, this isn’t the only step. Not only are there a lot of spots that the brush missed, the bristles often times fall off and can get stuck in food. The next step is to fill up a bucket with water and a soap that can degrease & break down ash particles. Let it soak, then finish wiping it down with a rag.
Wipe down the burners with a sponge that has water and a strong degreaser.
Most grills have removable drip pans at the bottom that you can clean out. If yours doesn’t, you should try to get as much grease out through the grease hole, then spray down the bottom of the grill with your strong degreaser and let it sit before cleaning it out with your sponge.
After you are happy with your grill, plug the gas back in and let it run for 15 minutes to get rid of any soap and water residue leftover. Before your next barbecue, make sure to cover your cooking grates in vegetable oil to stop food from sticking to them.
Surfaces Around the Grill
Countertops and other surfaces need to be cleaned so that our food isn’t contaminated at any point in time.