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Summer Grilling - Tips for Cleaning Your Outdoor Grill

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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Outdoor grilling is one of summertime's delights. Even basic foods seem to taste better when cooked outdoors. Whether the grill of choice is charcoal or gas, these tips will help keep it in peak performance. Begin by checking the grill manufacturer's instructions for specific cleaning requirements.

Rust is the major enemy of charcoal grills --- and the major cause of rust is failing to clean out the ashes regularly. To do this, turn off the grill, make sure it's completely cool. Then, remove the grates from inside the grill. If there's no ash catcher underneath the bowl, use a garden trowel to scoop out the ashes.

If the grill has an ash catcher, be sure to clean it, too, once the ashes are removed. Carefully discard ashes in a plastic trash bag. Otherwise, they will fly all over, covering everything (including yourself) with soot.

Clean the grate and the inside of the grill with a spray-on over cleaner. Check the label to make sure the cleaning product is safe for both these surfaces, and follow the grill manufacturer's use instructions. Let the cleaner sit long enough to soften the accumulated grease and grime. Then, wipe the cleaner off with paper towels. Follow by washing with a hand dishwashing detergent and water. Clean the outside of the grill, too, using a warm detergent and water solution and a non-abrasive cloth. Rinse and wipe dry.

Gas grills should be checked to make sure there are no leaks or blockages. Make sure the grill is turned off and completely cool. Then, inspect the burner and gas supply tubes for spider webs, grease build-up, rusted areas --- anything that would slow down the gas flow. Clean these areas following the grill manufacturer's cleaning instructions.

Clean a gas grill after every use by turning the grill on "high" and letting it "cook" for 10 to 15 minutes with the lid closed. Turn off the grill and let it cool slightly. Then, loosen the residue with a brass bristle brush. Once the grill is completely cool, wipe the inside and outside surfaces with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water. Rinse and wipe dry.

Good maintenance will extend the life and working of the grill.



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(This resource was updated May 22, 2008 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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