Top tips to clean any barbecue

There’s nothing quite like a home-grilled meal, prepared in your own garden. But cleaning the barbecue is not the most pleasant job.

Follow these basic steps to keep your barbecue in the best shape possible season after season.

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Clean a charcoal barbecue
Charcoal grills tend to need the most cleaning. Keep them in shape by cleaning them after each use and at the start and end of the barbecue season.

Read: Quiz: What’s your barbecue personality?

Once the charcoal has cooled, remove the bricks and brush out the ash. Built-up ash can block vents and make it difficult to control the cooking temperature.

Next, clean the grill grates with a long-handled stiff-wire brush. If you don’t have a brush, ball up some aluminium foil and hold with long-handled tongs.

Use a rag or folded paper towels to apply vegetable oil to the clean grates. This will help prevent rust and food build-up.

Clean the inside of the bowl and lid using mild dish soap and a steel brush.

Wipe down all surfaces you cleaned with the wire brush to remove any bristles that may have come off and stuck to the barbecue.

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Clean a gas barbecue
Gas barbecues don’t typically require the same level of cleaning as charcoal barbecues after every use. But they should be thoroughly cleaned at the start and end of the season to keep them in tip-top shape.

It’s easier to clean the barbecue when it’s warm so pre-heat it for 15 minutes before starting to make your job easier.

First, turn the gas off and scrub the plates using a stiff wire brush dipped in clean water. This should create lots of steam so avoid leaning over as you do this. Add a drop of dish soap or a barbecue cleaner for those tough grease spots.

Once the surface has cooled, wipe the grate with a damp cloth to remove residue or brush bristles.

Remove burners from the gas supply line and remove blockages to the gas ports using a dry wire brush. Clean the ports by brushing side to side instead of up and down, as the vertical motion may push debris into the ports.

Clean the inside using a wire brush and warm soapy water and rinse with water. Towel dry the burners and reinstall.

It’s best to refer to the manual for specifics on how to clean the outside. Certain materials may be sensitive to harsh cleaning agents. For stainless steel, use a specially formulated stainless-steel barbecue cleaner and microfibre cloth. Ceramic, porcelain and painted steel surfaces can usually be cleaned using soap and water.

Read: How to host the best barbecue

Flat top barbecue
These are more commonly used in commercial kitchens, but they can be a great addition to your garden set-up. Flat tops don’t have regular grill grates, so they need a different cleaning method.

As with the other models, a flat top is easier to clean while the burner is still hot.

Spray a cleaning solution over the top and let it sit for about one minute. You can use dish soap, a degreaser or a homemade baking soda mixture.

Use a grill brush to scrub away any stuck-on food and debris. Then, wipe it down with a dry cloth and repeat the process as needed.

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Pellet smoker
Make sure the pellet smoker has completely cooled before cleaning. Remove the grill grates and pop them in a bucket of warm, soapy water.

Clear the ash and debris from the interior and use a scrub brush or abrasive sponge to clean the drip pan.

Next, remove the chimney cap and clean the inside with a scrub brush. And finally, wipe down all parts with a damp cloth.

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Deep clean the grates
If a regular scrubbing session isn’t enough to get your grill grates sparkling, it’s likely time for a deep clean.

Soak them in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Together, these ingredients break down any stuck-on food.

If you have one spare, you could also try some beer! Take half a can or bottle and pour it over warm grates, let the lager soak in for a while (this might be a good time to top up your glass or pull a tab) and then scrub with newspaper or a bristle-free brush to bring up a shine. Beer’s also known to remove rust.

What type of barbecue do you have? How often do you use it in the summer? Share your favourite thing to make on the barbecue in the comments section below.

– With PA

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Written by Ellie Baxter