How to Clean Stainless Steel Grill Grates
It is important to take the time to clean the stainless steel grill grates on your barbecue to reduce the chance of food poisoning from leftover food particles stuck to the surface. Charred food can also leave residue on anything new you cook, disrupting the flavor that you've worked hard to create. Fortunately, these grates aren't hard to clean and there are steps you can take to minimize the effort you expend in the future.
Step 1 - Clean After Each Use
Remove the food and allow your stainless grill to cool a little after you're done cooking. While it's still hot, briskly rub a good quality wire barbecue brush over the grates to remove stuck food pieces.
Step 2 - Clean Thoroughly Once a Week
If you use your grates regularly, especially during summer, it's important to give it a good cleaning once a week. Wait until your stainless steel grill has completely cooled. Then, mix some mild dishwashing detergent in warm water in a pail. You can do whatever concentration your prefer, but make sure that the mixture is sudsy. Use a paper towel or a sponge, and some steel wool as needed, to rub the mixture over the grates. After, empty the pail and fill with cool water this time to rinse the surface of the grates. Leave the grill lid open to allow the grates to dry completely when you've finished.
Keep the wire brush clean too by soaking it in hot soapy water once a week to remove food and grease. Rinse off the brush thoroughly with cool water and allow to completely air dry to reduce the chance of it rusting. Make sure to store it in a spot where it won't get dusty and dirty when not in use.
Step 3 - Perform Monthly or Annual Cleanings
To keep your stainless steel grill grates looking shiny and new, give them a good cleaning once a month. If you only use your grill sparingly during the summer months, you can get away with completing this step just once a year.
Combine one part water with one part distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Coat the grates and the interior of the grill with the mixture, and close the lid to allow it to sit for one hour to break down any burnt particles. Wipe the surface clean with damp paper towels. Then, rinse the surface with cool water to make sure no remnants of vinegar are left which could make your next meal cooked on the grill taste bad.
Step 4 - Give it the Deep Clean
If you haven't cleaned your stainless steel grill for some time, a deep cleaning may be necessary to remove all the grease and baked-on food that can't be scrubbed off with a wire barbecue brush.
Remove the grates and turn on the barbecue. Next wrap the cooking grates tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil with the shiny side out. Put on oven mitts and place the wrapped grates on the grill. Close the lid and leave them there for 15 to 30 minutes. The more soiled they are, the longer you'll need to leave them. When the proper time has elapsed, turn off the barbecue, open the lid, and allow the grates to cool. Unwrap the foil and follow up with scraping the surface with a wire brush, as necessary, and washing the grates with soap and water.
Step 5 - Prevent Future Buildup of Debris
To help keep your grill from accumulating as much grime, wipe a paper towel coated in one tablespoon of vegetable oil over the grates after each cleaning. This will reduce the chance of food sticking the next time you use your grill.