How to Clean Your Grill, and Use it Safely
It’s grilling season! You can smell the gas or charcoal, and taste the delicious food you’ll prepare outdoors on your favorite grill. Never forget, though, that grills are a fire and injury hazard, and must be used and maintained with care. The Home Safety Council reports that thousands of homes catch fire each year because of grills. Explosions related to grill use also cause serious injuries. To keep your family safe from grilling hazards, it’s a good idea to keep grills away from any areas used for lawn games, children’s play, or excessive foot traffic. Also, always keep propane gas containers upright, and never store spare propane under or near the grill. Keep flammable liquids, such as gasoline, as far from the grill as possible, and follow these additional guidelines from the Council:
• Place your grill at least 10 feet away from the house, shrubs, bushes, and other objects.
• Never leave your grill unattended while cooking.
• If you have a charcoal grill, only use starter fluid specifically made for barbecue grills.
• Each time you use your gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line for leaks before starting the grill. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas, and don’t attempt to light the grill until any leak is fixed.
• NEVER use a match to check for a propane leak.
• Do not use any grill inside your home or garage. Not only is this a fire hazard, it is also a risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Always keep children and pets away from the grill until it has completely cooled down.
Delish.com has posted an online quiz to help you gauge whether you’re operating your grill safely.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain a safe grill is to clean it, at least lightly, every time you use it, and to give it a thorough cleaning on a regular basis. This practice will not only extend the life of your grill and help it operate efficiently, it will also improve the taste of your food.
For a quick cleaning each time you use a gas grill, HomeMadeSimple.com recommends these steps:
• After each use, turn your grill on high for 10 to 15 minutes with the lid closed.
• Turn grill off, and cool slightly.
• Use a metal brush to loosen the residue from the grill rack with a metal brush.
• Once your grill is completely cool, wipe the inside and outside with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water.
• Rinse with clean water and wipe dry.
For a charcoal grill, the site recommends the following:
• Cool grill completely.
• Remove grates.
• Remove all old ashes.
• Clean grill grates with a spray-on oven cleaner. Also spray the inside of the grill and let it sit.
• Use a warm, soapy water solution to wash the outside of the grill. Use a nonabrasive cloth for the grill's surface.
• Rinse all outside surfaces with water.
• If grease has loosened, wipe grill grates and cleaner off with paper towels, and wash with a mild detergent and water.
• Rinse well and wipe dry.
eHow.com, meanwhile, suggests these steps for a 15-minute, thorough grill cleaning:
• Soak cooking grates in warm, soapy water.
• For charcoal grills, remove the coal grate and brush out the insides; if you have a gas grill, remove the briquettes, lava rocks or metal flame shield to expose the burner.
• Clean all ash and residue from around the burner, making sure the burner is securely in place when you finish.
• Scrub the inside surfaces of your grill with a stiff wire brush dipped in soapy water.
• Remove any particles from the grill, reassemble.
• For gas grills, brush off briquettes or lava rocks or wash metal flame shield in warm soapy water.
• Retrieve cooking grates from the soapy water, and brush them clean with the wire brush.
• Coat the inside surfaces of the grill, and cooking grates, with cooking oil or spray.
• Replace the grates.
• Allow entire grill to air dry, and an extra five minutes of heating time the first time you use the grill after cleaning, to ensure that all cleaning residue is burned off.
Cleaning your grill regularly and following safety guidelines will help you and your family enjoy a fun, safe summer.