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BBQ on weekends with family and friends is the most relaxing leisure pursuit one can ask for. These kinds of gatherings bring much-needed refreshments and keep the relation intact. With people like us working most of the time from Monday through Friday, get-togethers with dear ones are irreplaceable; however, the journey of cleaning that follows is the real issue.
Here, we are talking about cast iron grilling grates. Unsurprisingly, they provide superior heat transfer which can grill almost anything from eggplant to jackfruit, but their maintenance is the thing that causes a headache.
If you are also dealing with rusty, greasy, and grimed grates and grills, then this article is for you. There are many ways to clean iron cast grate grills. We have found the best, easiest, and cheapest ways for which you don’t even have to make a run to a nearby all-purpose store.
- Cleaning the Grill
- Cleaning the Grates
- Dealing With Rust
- Helpful Tips for Preventive Maintenance
Cleaning the Grill
Commence cleaning only after determining if your grill grates need deep cleaning or just a regular wash. Know before you start whether you are removing rust off your grates, or after its casual use. It has to be clear, although there are many methods of cleaning are available, but not all are suitable.
If your grate is greasy, a mild cleaner—usually a natural homemade cleaner from the kitchen—will work. On the other hand, if it is rusty and hasn’t been cleaned regularly for the last few weeks, then give it a good seeing to.
1. Barbestar 3-in-1 Grill Brush
Go for an effortless cleaning using this perfectly angled tri-bristle brush. Its 10-inch handle effectively removes grime and burnt leftovers and also keeps you out of the burning zone from the extreme heat of the grill.
Furthermore, the stainless steel bristles will not harm the porcelain coatings. This brush will make cleaning easier and faster which makes it a must-have tool in your kitty for grill cleaning. The best thing is you don’t need to switch over to different brushes to clean the sides, top, and bottom of the grill.
2. Weber Grill Cleaner Spray
This ultimate grill-cleaning product, non-toxic and citrus-derived is offered by Weber, which itself is a dominating grill manufacturing company.
The spray can tackle any kind of grime even on the cool grill grate. This way you will save fuel as well as time to heat grill grates. You can use it on stainless steel as well as on cast iron, it will never disappoint you.
3. Use an Onion.
Slice the onion into two easy-to-hold pieces and start rubbing it on the grill. The acidic property of onion juice will pull get rid of the grease. This might not be as effective as the above-mentioned methods are, but give it a try. If nothing happens, it will surely give the onion flavor to your grill.
4. Use Coffee
This might come as a surprise but the acidic nature of coffee can clean your grill naturally. It can delightfully remove grime off your grill and all you need to do is to prepare your coffee in a vessel, then put it into the sink, and finally make the grills bath into it for an hour or so.
After this, rinse it with water to get a grill that looks brand new.
Cleaning the Grates
1. Deal with Grease using Baking Soda Solution
For extremely dirty grates, you need to make a paste of 100g of baking soda with 60g of lukewarm water. Carefully apply the paste to iron grates and let it dry for 20 minutes. Then using a bristle grill brush, clean it off.
Remove the grates overnight, if possible. This way solution will be able to soak and next morning, replace the grates after cleaning them.
Related: 30 Genius Baking Soda Cleaning Hacks
2. Use Aluminum Foil to Clean
In absence of a grill brush, switch to tin foils to clean grates. Make a ball, large enough to hold, using aluminum foil, and start rubbing it over the greasy grates to remove the debris. Tinfoil creates a buffer between grates and fingers and will avoid burning your fingers during the cleaning process.
3. Use Vinegar
The vinegar in your kitchen cabinet can do wonders in deep cleaning your stainless steel grates. To start with, you need a spray bottle, 2 cups of white vinegar, 2 cups of water, and a spray bottle. Mix the fluids, spray on both sides of the grill grate thoroughly, and let it dry for 10-15 minutes.
Now take off any residue using brush or aluminum foil, and you don’t need to wash grates after this procedure.
4. Oil Your Grates Before Cooking
Oiling of grill grates will not only prevent food from sticking but also improve the taste of your food. However, it will surely bring more grease to the grill grates, but cleaning grease is easier than cleaning burnt, rusty grates.
Dealing With Rust
1. Salt Paste
This method calls for strength and time but can get rid of grease and rust with no cost at all. Start with making a thick paste of salt, apply it over grill grates, and rub it using steel wool to remove rust. Repeat this process, if necessary and you will end up getting a clean grill grate.
Rusting of the grate is due to the moisture that it retains after cleaning. Therefore, never forget to wipe it clean after every rinse and store the grates in a dry place.
2. Use Ammonia
The longer you haven’t cleaned your grill grates, the stronger cleaner they will need to remove rust. Ammonia, however, is another suitable option. Mix ammonia with water or baking soda, if you need a stronger cleaner. Put it inside a bag along with the grates and keep them outside in the open overnight.
Coming morning, you will find cleaned grates, but rinse them thoroughly because ammonia is a strong chemical. Follow this procedure while wearing gloves and a mask.
Helpful Tips for Preventive Maintenance
1. Don’t use other oven cleaners as they cannot completely remove debris and grease off the grill grates. Because, unlike other cleaning appliances, grates have tiny pits over the grate shell. The leftover food will never bring the barbecue’s smoky flavor we yearn for.
2. Shield your grates using a high-quality vinyl cover that coves holes in the grates too. This will protect your grates from dirt and grime that often builds on the grate shells. Enclose your barbeque station when not in use in these covers.
3. When the food has been served, turn the grill to its uppermost temperature and cover it to warm clean your grates. Have your dinner and then clean the station.
4. Don’t use low-quality grill grate bristle brushes, because their bristles fall off and can move into your food. These thin bristles can harm you and are almost undetectable.
5. Clean them after every use. If you keep putting off this task for ‘some’ other day, you will end up buying new grates because former ones couldn’t be cleaned even with the strongest cleaner available in the market.
How to season cast iron grill grates?
- First, clean the grates thoroughly with soap and warm water. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Once fully dry, coat the grates with a thin layer of any high smoking point oil (refined canola, sunflower, palm oil, etc.).
- Then place the grates back on the grill and turn on your grill. The heat should be low/medium and the grates have to be heated for about 30 minutes.
You can start cooking once this process is over.
How to stop food from sticking to a cast iron grill?
There are usually 3 reasons for food to stick to your iron grill: the grill is not hot enough, or the meat doesn’t have enough oil, or the grill is dirty.
To make sure this never happens, use a clean grill to cook your food. Then preheat the grill for about 10-15 minutes—it shouldn’t be extremely hot. Take a high smoking point oil such as refined canola, sunflower, or palm oil and rub it on the meat before putting it on the grill. A high smoking point oil won’t evaporate quickly and thus your meat won’t stick to the grill.
Every single thing requires maintenance if you want it to work efficiently for years. The same is the case with iron cast grill grates, keep them clean and enjoy smoky flavored treats for years to come.
The key to removing tags like “tiresome” and “time-consuming” is by giving time for cleaning after every mealtime, and you will never have to spend the whole weekend on the cleaning task.