How to Clean and Season Your Grill Grates

How to clean grill grates

You may think grilling prowess is all about using the best cuts of meat and learning expert techniques. However, mastering the art of grilling starts with properly cleaning and maintaining your grilling surface. Regular grill cleanings reduce the risk of grease fires and protect your grill grates from rusting. With this guide, we’ll go back to the basics and cover how to clean and care for your grill grates.

How Often Should I Clean My Grill Grates?

For commercial grills and charbroilers, you should aim to clean the grates daily. In between each use, quickly brush your grill to remove food particles and loose debris. Getting rid of blockages between the grates allows for even cooking.  If you want to increase your equipment’s longevity, you should perform a deep cleaning at least once a year to avoid costly repairs or replacements.

Why Should I Clean My Grill Grates?

From lowering fire risks to protecting the flavor of your food, there are many reasons to clean your grill gates daily.

  • Reduce fire risks – Grill grates accumulate grease build-up from your meat’s marbling and excess sauces with every use. If the grill is left unclean, grease residue will drip onto the flame, potentially causing a dangerous flare-up.
  • Eliminate harmful bacteria – Cooked meat kept at room temperature for more than two hours, including the tiny particles left behind on your grill grates, can begin harboring harmful bacteria. If left uncleaned overnight, the bacteria on your grilling surface can double in number and spread to other areas of the kitchen.
  • Protect food quality – You’ve made the perfect selection for tonight’s dinner special. The last thing you want is to ruin your grilled swordfish steaks with the flavors of mesquite-grilled pork ribs. Without proper cleaning each day, the flavor of yesterday’s main course is bound to linger on your grates. Daily cleaning will help maintain your food’s integrity. In this vein, cleaning will decrease the chance of fish allergen cross contamination during food service.
  • Lengthen the lifespan of your equipment – A dirty grill grate will impact not only the quality of your food but also the lifespan of your equipment. Most commercial grill grates are made from cast iron, a porous nonstick cooking surface. Although cast iron grates are ideal for grilling, they will rust and eventually corrode if exposed to excess moisture, grease residue, or water. Regular cleaning and seasoning will extend the lifespan of your equipment, helping you avoid costly repairs and replacements.

How to Clean Your Grill Grates Every Day

1. Turn off your grill, allowing it to cool to below 200 degrees.
2. Place a wire broiler brush at the top of the grate. Then, sweep the brush toward yourself, making sure to scrub away burnt food, ash, or grease residue.
3. Flip the grates over to thoroughly clean the bottom side.
4. Once the grill has completely cooled, use a damp sponge and gentle soap to wipe down the rest of the grill.

Seasoning Your Cast Iron Grill Grates

When cooking with any cast iron tool, seasoning significantly improves your equipment’s lifespan and performance by creating a truly nonstick cooking surface and preventing rust. Although seasoning isn’t necessary after every cleaning, you’ll want to season your cast iron grate regularly. The newer your grate is, the more frequently you should season it until your grate achieves the slick, black coating cast iron is known for. Luckily, seasoning is a fairly straightforward process. After drying off your grill, dip a clean cloth in vegetable oil and wipe the cloth across the grates.

While high-quality ingredients and refined techniques are important, a well-kept grill will guarantee that your meat hits the mark every time. Not only will clean grates ensure a delicious dish, but they will also increase the lifespan of the grates in your commercial kitchen.