How to Properly Clean a Pellet Grill
One of the reasons that barbecues break down is because people don’t clean them enough. What causes the bottom of your grill to rust out or your grates to fall apart is not age, it’s grime. A clean grill will outlast a dirty one by many years. If you want your grill to look good as new going into it’s third season, then follow these instructions every time you put a full bag of pellets through it (30-40 hours of smoke time). Always make sure you follow the final step in these instructions after cleaning your grill, you have to re-season it.
Scrub Your Grates
Using a grill brush or a wooden block you want to scrub the tops of your grills. This will cause any debris stuck to them to fall onto the heat baffle to be cleaned up later. After brushing the grates, remove them from the grill and set aside, I like to lay out a piece of cardboard on the ground to put them on. Once the grates are set aside, I like to spray them down with a degreaser and let it soak in for about a minute, then wipe them down with a shop towel. Once they are totally clean, give them a rinse with water to remove any extra degreaser and then wipe dry.
Remove the heat baffle or heat deflector
I like to carry the heat baffle straight over to the garbage or compost and scrape off any debris right into the bin. I often will use a paint scraper or metal spatula to make sure I am getting right down into the grease runways along the sides. You now want to do the same procedure that you did with the grates and spray the deflector down with degreaser, wipe it down and then wash away any excess degreaser with water.
Vacuum or Scoop out any Debris
Now that the grates and heat deflector are removed using a shop vac, get in there and vacuum out any ash and debris that is in the bottom of the barrel. If you don’t own a shop vac you can also use a dust pant to scoop out any debris as well. At this point I like to use the same metal spatula or scraping tool that I used to clean the deflector to scrub down the inside of the grill as well.
Clean the Inside
Using the degreaser spray, spray down the entire inside surface of the grill and wipe it down with a shop towel, then rinse with water and dry.
Cleaning the Outside of the Grill
Spray down the outside of the grill using the degreaser and allow it to soak in for a minute, then wipe down the surface using a shop towel and then rinse and dry accordingly.
This next step is the most important step in cleaning your grill. First you want to perform a burn off. After all of your heat shield and grates are returned to their proper position, fire up the grill to 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then using protective mitts, remove the grates and apply a high temperature cooking oil like Canola oil to the heat deflector. Be careful not to let the oil be exposed to fire or it could ignite, and watch out for any sizzling as it comes into contact with the hot metal. Repeat this same process for the grates, completely coating them in a thin coat of oil. Now let the grill cool down, as the grill cools, the oil will seal and then your grill will be ready to be used again.