The Best Way to Clean a Charcoal Grill

Want to know the best way to clean a charcoal grill? It’s one of those jobs that needs to be done on a regular basis but is there an easy way?

If you are a barbecue lover, then it may be safe to say that your charcoal grill is one of your prized possessions. You use it every chance you can get to enjoy your favorite grilled delicacies with your family and friends. Summer is a particularly busy time for your grill.

A very important aspect of being able to enjoy your barbecues is keeping your charcoal grill in perfect shape. You may have done the simplest thing with your grill by wiping it down before stowing it away come wintertime, but now that summer is approaching, you dig it all up once again.

Read on to find the best way to clean a charcoal grill.

clean a charcoal grill

Why Do You Need to Clean Your Charcoal Grill?

It’s important to know why you need to clean your charcoal grill. You want to have the juiciest and most favorsome steaks and a clean grill goes a long way to making that happen.

During cooking, your charcoal grill grates, the part that gives the exquisite char marks on your food collects carbon deposits. Over time, these deposits will eventually build-up, become carcinogenic, and get transferred to your food. You definitely do not want those in your steaks, now, do you?

Food left over on your grill can also attract bacteria which can pose health risks, as well as leave a not so pleasant taste on your freshly prepared food.

Cleaning your charcoal grill ensures that it will work properly and reliably, as that same excess carbon build-up can cause your grill to heat unevenly and not reach the maximum grilling temperature that you need.

Properly maintaining your grill will also go a long way towards being able to use it for years and years to come. Finding the best way to clean a charcoal grill is essential to enjoying superbly cooked food that not only tastes good but is health.

How Often Should You Clean Your Grill?

It is a good idea to clean your grill after you use it by brushing off food particles with a grill brush. Do this after letting it cool down a bit and not while it is still smoking hot.

You should do a thorough cleaning of your charcoal grill before storing it for winter. Once stored properly, it does not hurt to check on your grill every once in a while to make sure no animals or insects have taken residence in it.

Of course, it goes without saying that come barbecue season, it is imperative that you clean your grill thoroughly before using it.

best way to clean a charcoal grill

Best Way to Clean Charcoal Grill

For the best way to clean a charcoal grill and charcoal grill grates, you can follow these basic step-by-step guidelines for fuss-free cleaning:

  1. Gather your cleaning materials and tools. You will need a grill brush or any coarse cleaning brush, aluminum foil, plastic or paper bags, a putty knife or a bristle, and a fork (this one is optional).

2. Remove the grill grate and scrape it with a grill brush or other coarse cleaning brush.

3. To remove finer deposits, scrunch up a sheet of aluminum foil into a ball and scrub the grates further.

4. Wipe away any debris out of the bottom of the grill into a plastic or paper bag. Empty the ash catcher, if there is one. Scrape off any carbon flakes or hardened grease with a putty knife or a bristle brush.

As soon as you put your grill back together, you are good to go.

Best Way to Clean Ash Out of Grill

First of all, you need to understand why you should clean ash out of your grill. The ash can end up in your food and give it a chalky and bitter flavor.

Your charcoal grill accumulates ash every time you cook on it, and this is the one thing that you should never allow to sit on the bottom of your grill for very long.

Secondly, ash accumulation is one major cause of rust. The ash itself is dry, but it will eventually absorb moisture from the environment. Once moisture soaks into the ash, rusting and corrosion of your grill become inevitable.

As mentioned before, if your grill has an ash catcher or ash pan, you should clean that out first. Take it out of your grill and put the contents into a fire-proof container or garbage bin.

Scoop out the remaining ash from the main compartment of the grill. You can buy handheld metal scooping tools for ash removal, or you can use an empty container made of a non-combustible material.

Some ash will accumulate in corners and hard-to-reach places. You can use an unused medium-bristled paintbrush. Sweep it across the bottom of your grill to remove any remaining ash.

Deep-cleaning Your Charcoal Grill

For a deep clean, remove the grill grates and ashes from the bottom of your grill and ash catcher. Spray oven and grill cleaner on the grates and the inside of the grill and let it sit for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, mix dish detergent into some warm water and use this to clean the outside of your grill with a paper towel or rag. Use this same mixture to further clean the grill grates and the inside of the grill. Rinse everything off with water, then wipe dry.

If you are not a DIY person, there are 2 options you can choose from. First, available now are battery-operated grill cleaners that will do all the work for you at the touch of a button. There are also professional grill cleaning service companies who can take care of your grill for you.

Final Words

What is the best way to clean a charcoal grill? The one that works for you based on your lifestyle, temperament, and preference. It all boils down to your personal choice, and no one method is right or wrong.

Once your grill is clean as a whistle, stowing it away for the winter is your next step. You can get a heavy-duty grill cover to protect it from dust, dirt, and rodents. It is also best to keep it indoors, whether it be your basement, shed, or garage so that it is sheltered from the elements, and ready to use as soon as grilling season is on once again.

This is how we have found the best way to clean a charcoal grill.