Among a variety of grill grates, cast iron grill grates are celebrated for their longevity and their ability to achieve an even heat throughout the grilling process. But cleaning cast iron grill grates can be a chore requiring elbow grease especially if they get rusty.
There are tons of different types of grill grates, cast iron, stainless steel, ceramic or porcelain-coated grill grates in the market, each type having their pros and cons. In the matter of cleaning; cast iron needs the most attention because it gets rusty very quickly.
Cleaning cast iron grill grates might seem like a hard task, but it’s not. Usually, it’s expected that you wash your grill right after use to prevent rust, but if there’s rust on cast iron grills, it can be removed easily with some solution.
First Step: Remove Rust
To remove rust from your cast iron grill, you can either use a salt paste or a baking soda paste or vinegar. Mix Kosher salt with water to make a thick paste and use steel wool or wire brush to scrape off the rust while using this thick paste.
With baking soda, make the same type of paste and let it sit for a few hours on the rusty areas. After a few hours scrub the rust off. Vinegar can be applied directly on the rusty areas and after it dissolves with the rust use your wire brush to clean it.
The best way to prevent rust, however, is cleaning your cast iron grill grate each time after using. Before cleaning the cast iron grill grate make sure to heat your empty grill and char all the leftover food particle and let it cool off completely.
Use a nylon wire brush to scrape off the charred food particles and then use vinegar water solution to disinfect it. Do this process repeatedly until the grill cleaning is complete. Now you can use your grill grate cleaner or a bar of mild soap to wash the grease off.
Use warm water to get rid of any grease or soap residue. Make sure to wipe your grill grate thoroughly with a dry cloth to remove any moisture. Even a little bit of water stuck in a corner might cause rust to form.
After cleaning the cast iron grill grates, you should prepare it for the next use by seasoning it. Saturate the grill grates thoroughly with vegetable oil or olive oil. Use aluminium foils to cover the beds and heat them on the grill on high heat for a few minutes.
Oil your grates again after taking them out of the grill while they’re still hot and heat them again, repeat the process until they have a nice oil coating. After this step, your charbroil grill grates will be ready for using instantly or for storing them in a dry place.
Cleaning Grill Pans
Using the same methods, you can also clean and maintain your cast iron grill pans. The only thing you need to pay attention to is when you season the pan. Let extra oil drip off by putting your pan upside down while seasoning.
Stainless Steel Grill Grates
Stainless steel grill grates are famous for their fast heating and easy to maintain and clean qualities. A lot of people opt for stainless steel grill grates because grill cleaning is more natural with this variant. However, it doesn’t retain the heat if the heat source is removed.
The best way to clean stainless steel grill grates is to clean it after every use. Use a wire brush to scrape off food residue from the grill while it’s still hot. Wash the grates every week during summer with soapy water to get rid of all the grease and oil.
Long Term Maintenance
Deep clean each month if you use the grill regularly. With one part vinegar and one part water make a solution and pour it on grill grates and inside of the grill and close the lid. After an hour, wipe the vinegar off with a damp towel and wash off the remaining vinegar thoroughly.
If you left your grill dirty for a long time, the food residue and build up might not come off with just the wire brush. You have to clean the grates deeply to get rid of the grime and residue completely. For that, follow the following steps.
First, you need to blast your grill to the highest setting. Cover the grill grates with aluminum foil and place them on the grill with the help of oven mitts. Let them heat for a while after you close the lid. The longer they were dirty, the longer it takes to char the residue.
After not more than 30 minutes, take the grates out and let them cool down. Get then out of the foils and scrub with a wire brush to scrape off as much as you can. Then wash the grates with soap and water. Season the grates so that less food gets stuck on them next time.
Grill grates with Coating
Porcelain or ceramic coated grill grates are ideal because they are very easy to use. Porcelain grill grates are mainly cast iron or stainless steel grates which are coated with heavy coats of ceramic. This process helps in cleaning the grates as well as heating the grates quickly and easily.
But the usage, maintenance, and cleaning of the porcelain-coated grill grates must be done cautiously because any hard hit on the ceramic may leave chips and cracks in it, which might cause water to get inside the core metal and create rust.
Cleaning ceramic grill grates have two techniques. One is the scrubbing method, and the other is the soaking method. Scrubbing method is fast but requires elbow grease while soaking method is slow but requires less work. Both techniques require a soft bristle brush to clean the hard to reach corners.
If you want to scrub the grills clean, then place it on a smooth surface and clean it with a soft cloth using dish soap. Use a soft bristle brush to scrape off the grime that won’t come off with a cloth. Rinse it clean and wipe it with a clean, dry cloth and let it dry.
If you want to use the soaking method, then char the residue in grill and after that soak your grills in a large plastic container with soapy water for 30 minutes. Then take them out and clean in the same process as the scrubbing method.
Commercial grill cleaner
You can also use a commercial grill cleaner to clean your ceramic grill grates. In that case, wear gloves and soak your grill grates in the cleaner for a few hours. Then use the scrubbing method to clean the grills. Store them in a dry place after drying.
If you follow the steps mentioned above then cleaning your cast iron grill grates wouldn’t be much of a chore for you, enabling you to cook delicious grilled food more often for your friends and family.