We like to do things the old-fashioned way and cleaning grill grates just happens to be one of them. Forget all those fancy chemical cleaners that are on the market. A little bit of elbow grease will make your grill grate as good as it needs to be.
There are a few effective ways that you can clean your grate. There are three quick and easy methods, only one of which I use.
Line your grill grate with a piece of aluminum foil. Place it back on the grill and turn the grill on high. Once you’ve done that, close the lid. We recommend you leave the grill alone for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the time is up, open the grill and remove the foil using tongs. Use a wire brush to scrap away the ash on the grill grate. A possible downsize to this method…if the grill stays at very high temperature for too long, the heat may warp and pit the grates or the metal chamber and other parts. It may shorten the life of gas burners or electric elements. The exterior finish on the grill itself can crack or lose its shine. It wastes fuel.
For this method, you can clean a cold or hot grate. Be careful handling the hot one. Fill a large bucket – one big enough to fit the grates – with hot water and a tablespoon of Dawn dish soap per gallon of water. Go with it, if they choose Dawn to clean birds after oil spills, it must be the best for ‘gently’ removing oil. Then stir in quarter cup of baking soda or borax (you know, 20 mule team stuff) until you have a good lather. Place the grates into the bucket and allow them to soak for one hour.
If there is any leftover debris on the grates, use a steel wool pad to remove the particles. Then rinse the grates off with cold water. Be sure to remove all traces of the soap
Brushing, ‘The Buz Way’:
Right after the meat has been removed from the pit, while the grates are still quite hot from cooking, use a very stiff metal bristle brush designed with close-set bristles and/or a paint or wallpaper scraper along the grates. A coarse stainless pot scrubber pad works well too. This will take off all of the loose particles. The grate will probably maintain a dark tint from the harmless remaining carbon and smoke, much like the well-seasoned cast iron pan grandma used to fry her chicken. This is a good thing.
Over time it will keep things from sticking and it sure does reduce the cleaning time. Never use caustic chemical cleaners on your grill. It is a totally unnecessary affront to the environment and any chemical residue that may remain will impart a taste to your food. No muss, no fuss and no need to cuss.