Carbon Fest

Didn’t get around to cleaning the grill at the end of last summer (I usually try to do it once every year or two), and we were treated to a conflagration last night. Actually the fire was relatively small, but thick black smoke was just billowing out — enough to result in neighbors running over to see if everything was OK. Which got me wondering: How often do most people deep-clean their grills? I don’t mean “wire brush the surface” — I mean remove all the pieces and get down and dirty, scraping the Flavorizer bars, catch basin, etc. Or do you just let it burn off from time to time? If you answer, please also leave a comment guesstimating how often your grill gets used.

How often do you clean your grill?

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7 thoughts on “Carbon Fest

  1. Les

    I try to do a minimal cleaning, mainly scraping off the stuff of the grill (are those the ‘flavorizor bars’?) at the end of the season so I don’t have deal with it at the beginning of the season as well as helping against corrosion.

    As for the ‘shell’ and catch basin, I don’t clean it (i’m still a charcoaler) but I do burn off any excess grease and empty the catch basin at the end of the season (as well as during the grilling season as needed).

    During the Washington summer we try to grill as much as we can.

  2. Dylan Tweney

    I voted “never” — but there was that time this past summer when I tried to burn off the nasty moldy bits that had accumulated over the winter. The fire wasn’t going too well so I poured some more lighter fluid around the grate — which then promptly caught fire, along with the top of the gallon can of lighter fluid. After dropping the can, I wound up “cleaning” a bag of charcoal as well as numerous small patches of ground in the vicinity of the grill. Fortunately nobody got hurt and I managed to douse the flaming can of lighter fluid before it exploded. Does that count as cleaning the grill?

  3. shacker Post author

    Dylan – Definitely :)

    Actually, it depends – were there still large charcoal / gunk deposits inside the grill when the whole thing was over?

  4. Dylan Tweney

    Gunk deposits? You mean “seasoning”? Yes — my grill is still well seasoned! A stiff brush is all the cleaning I need for that stuff. However, I did manage to eliminate all the fuzzy mold that grows during the winter months, and that’s what I was after in the first place…

  5. shacker Post author

    Hmm…, I get a heck of a lot more than seasoning down there. In the large catch basin above the drip pan I had about two inches thick of fats and carbon deposits. That’s what ultimately caught fire and smoked like a chimney.

  6. Dylan Tweney

    Two inches, cripes, that’s a lot more than I ever see. I usually use charcoal, though, and dump out the accumulated ash at the bottom every 2-3 grillings … so the fat probably gets taken out with that stuff. I guess you’re using a gas grill… which is different since there are catch pans for the grease to fall into.

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