Cleaning any grill is a simple process, but it can’t be said to be a pleasant or necessarily EASY chore by any metric, particularly if you’ve allowed a large amount of crud to build up over time (hey, no judgment; we all get a bit lazy when it comes to cleaning sometimes).
Hopefully, a few of these tricks will help you get things done a bit easier so you can get back to grilling guilt free as quickly as possible.
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1. Tips for Cleaning your Grill Grate
The best way to keep a grill grate clean is a bit of preventative care; scrubbing down your grates with a wire brush after every use makes cleaning the simple and easy.
When you don’t do that, things get a little rougher, unfortunately. Simply scrubbing won’t do the trick anymore once a bunch of gunk gets baked on there.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do.
Perhaps the first that comes to mind is getting some kind of chemical cleaner to spray on the grates and clean that gunk right off. This is a strong potential option, but is a bit of a crapshoot in my experience; many times those chemical cleaners don’t really get in there and properly loosen things up, leaving you with a slightly reduced mess and a chemical residue that makes cooking on top of it dangerous; even if your grates come completely clean the cleaners can leave a nasty aftertaste in the food you cook on the grates for the next few grill sessions afterwards, which is never a pleasant experience.
No, in this case the better option lies in simplicity and time: a soak in a mixture of vinegar, water, and baking soda does the trick with much less muss and fuss in my experience, as long as you’re willing to give it the proper time to work.
Simply grab a bucket, or a tray large enough for your grill grates (the tray is preferred, so you can more easily submerge the whole grate), and fill to a point where it covers the grate. Mix in some white vinegar (any vinegar will do, but white vinegar is the cheapest and easiest to buy in bulk) and about a tablespoon or two of baking soda and let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour; in the sun is preferable so it will heat up a bit. Warmer water will help to loosen up even the most stubborn gunk.
After that, take your steel wire brush and scrub hard. With relatively minimal effort, the grate should come clean.
Keep in mind that if you use a bucket, you’ll likely need to do this twice; scrubbing one side, then flipping the grate over and soaking the opposite side. It takes a bit longer, but if you’re not in a hurry that’s not a huge drawback.
There are a few other interesting ways to clean a grill grate, but this is overall the best way I’ve found to do it.
The second best, for a grate that is only mildly grungy, is to use steam power. If you have something like a steam mop with a sponge attachment: great! Use that.
If not, don’t fret. You can simply put some water soaked “starter” (such as newspaper, paper towels, or even an old rag or piece of cloth you don’t need anymore) on the hot grill and let it steam up for a bit, and then scrub. You can even stick a fork in an onion or some other juicy fruit or vegetable (the acid in citrus also works wonders) and scrub it across the hot grill grates.
2. Tips for Cleaning the Grill Interior
This part is a bit easier, thankfully, for a Weber grill in particular.
Weber kettle grills tend to be coated with porcelain on the inside, rather than paint. This lends the grill interior a natural nonstick property that makes cleaning it fairly easy. Still, the largest part of cleaning any grill’s interior is the gritty residue left behind, which can be extremely stubborn to get out.
No matter the other circumstances, the first thing you’ll want to do is remove and empty the ash catcher; simply dump it somewhere out of the way once the ashes are completely cooled that bit is very important for safety reasons, particularly if you plan to dump your ashes in the garbage.
Leave the ash catcher out for now, and give it a bit of a spray down and a quick scrub, if you care about the looks of the interior of your ash catcher, or just want to ensure it doesn’t corrode. While it dries, tend to the rest of the grill interior after removing the grates.
Once you have the space to maneuver with the ash catcher and grates, simply take a soft sponge, plus warm and soapy water, and scrub the interior. In most cases, the remaining residue should come off easily enough.
If you happen to have a particularly stubborn bit of ash sticking to the sides or bottom, you can use some of the same tricks as when you cleaned the grates, such as steaming up the inside or just spritzing it with vinegar and baking soda, which should bubble up under the stuck ash and lift it free from the grill.
Patience is key here if a quick scrub doesn’t work. DO NOT try to scrub the interior with your steel brush, on any grill. It will chip and scratch the inside, removing your porcelain coating and making future cleanup much more difficult. If need be, simply allow the interior to soak with a bit of cleaning solution as needed, though this usually shouldn’t be necessary.
And that’s it! It may take you a bit of time and elbow grease, but you’ll have a sparkling shiny clean grill again. From there, simple care and maintenance will keep it that way without a ton of effort.
READ MORE: Weber kettle grills in comparison with Kamado and Weber in comparison with PK grills.