How to Clean a Barbeque

Here are some barbecue cleaning tips to help tidy up after a successful BBQ.

Barbecue Cleaning Tips - Some Good Advice On A Clean BBQ

By Nick Daval

To clean or not to clean? Is a clean barbecue necessary every time for great tasting food? Do you really need to know how to clean a barbecue?

Some people are fastidious about their barbecue, and rightly so. They can be quite expensive so naturally we want to look after them. But while it's important to keep your barbecue covered when not in use (especially if it's located outside, or even partly exposed to the elements), is it important to meticulously clean all cooking surfaces each time?

In my opinion, no it's not. However, I'm not saying don't clean it at all, but rather you leave a little bit of each barbecue behind to enhance the next one.

I have two barbecues - a large 4 burner gas BBQ with cast iron hot plates and burners, and a large Weber kettle BBQ - and I'll approach the cleaning of each one differently.

For the gas BBQ, the only cleaning I'll do each time I cook is firstly to turn the burners up to high to allow any excess fat to burn off. I'll then turn the burners off and scrub the hotplates with a stainless steel brush while they're still hot (no need for any water or detergent). This will remove the excess bits of meat that may have come off during cooking. I then let it cool down before putting the heavy duty cover over it.

Why don't I ritually clean the hotplates each time? Well, one reason is they're really heavy and hard to lift out (they are cast iron after all). Another reason is that cast iron plates need to have a thin layer of oil on them to season them. If I thoroughly cleaned them each time I'd have to re-season them! It's best to just leave them as is. Don't worry about any nasties breeding - they're going to get blasted next time the burners get lit!

Once a year I will give the whole barbecue a good going over. I'll remove the hotplates and burners and give them a good clean. I'll also wipe out the interior of the hood and the barbecue frame to remove any built-up grease and muck. I'll also give the outside a good wipe over as well (it's remarkable how far grease can splatter!). I'll then put the hotplates back in and re-season them.

The kettle BBQ is a little different. I'll scrub the rack that the food sits on with the stainless steel brush to remove any bits of meat but not wash it with detergent. Since kettles use briquettes for heat, there's always a heap of ash in the bottom that tends to go everywhere no matter how careful you are! I'll brush out as much ash as I can through the bottom vents and then get the garden hose and wash any remnants of ash or firelighter out. I'll then leave it in the sun to dry out, then put the rack and briquette baskets back in, cover it and put it away. A little more time consuming but pretty easy.

Like the gas barbecue, the kettle gets a good clean once a year. A simple once over inside and out with some good detergent is enough to keep it in top condition.

So what's the answer to my original question? A spotlessly clean barbecue isn't that important. Certainly clean your BBQ a little bit, but there's no need to get too fastidious about it. Use these barbecue cleaning tips wisely, and respect the ghosts of barbecues past!

Nick Daval has been cooking great meals on his BBQ for over 15 years. You can learn from his experience and create fantastic BBQs yourself by visiting his website's BBQ page at http://www.basic-cooking.com/barbecue-tips.html

Author: EVM STAFF on 05/23 2011
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