Whether your passion is pork, fish, fowl, beef or vegetables, few things are as delectable as flame-kissed meat and produce. Part of what makes this style of cooking so delicious is that when juices hit the heat source, they vaporize and ignite, depositing flavorful compounds onto the food being grilled. But a dirty grill can spoil those flavors. So adopt this once-a-month cleaning regimen used by all the best backyard chefs.
Prepare to clean the grill the night before by cranking the empty grill up to high for 20 minutes. This should fully incinerate all the old stuff still hanging around from last week’s soirée, which will make tomorrow’s cleaning easier.
Now that it’s time to start cleaning, begin by mixing up a solution of one gallon of hot water, one cup white distilled vinegar and one teaspoon of dishwashing soap in a large bucket. Make sure all of your grill’s knobs are turned off before you disconnect the gas source. Then turn on the grill’s valves for three minutes to allow any residual gas to escape from the internal lines. Now, remove the grates, lava rocks and burner cover and drop them into the bucket of cleaning solution.
Remove the drip pan, dip it into the cleaning solution, clean it with a grill brush and allow it to soak. Douse the brush in the soapy water and clean the inside of the hood – don’t worry, those flakes are built-up carbon from past use, not paint. Be sure the burner holes are clear of any obstructions. Let everything – the grates, lava rocks, burner cover and drip pan – soak for another half hour, then give it one more scrub with the brush.
Next, remove the items from the bucket and rinse them with a garden hose. Wipe them dry with a rag and reassemble the grill. Reconnect the gas source and remember to run the burners on high for five minutes before your next cookout to ensure burning off any residual smoke. To make cleaning the grill easier in the future, use cooking spray on the grates!