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Keeping grill grates clean

Featured in our Backyard BBQ Guide


What is the best way to keep my grill grates clean?

Beth Marlin, via email, None


Elizabeth Karmel replies: The trick to maintaining clean grill grates is to brush them when they’re very hot. For a gas grill, the best time to do this is just before grilling. Turn all the burners to high and let the grill heat with the lid down for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the internal grill temperature is higher than 500 degrees F. This burns off the residue from the last cookout, making it much easier to brush off with a brass-bristle grill brush (steel bristles are too hard and can damage enamel-coated grates). If you have a lot of accumulated buildup on your gas grill grates, you’ll need to allow more time to burn off the residue, so let the grill heat up on high for a full hour before brushing.

For charcoal grills, burn off any residue on the grates right after grilling. Just set the lid on the grill and, as the hot coals burn out, any residue should burn off. Then brush before the next use.

When you’re brushing the grates don’t be afraid to use some elbow grease. You want the surface of the grates to be smooth and free from any food that may have stuck the last time. This prevents the buildup of charred food on the grates and helps ensure that the food you’re about to cook won’t stick.

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