How to Get Caked on Grease and Grime Off Of Your BBQ Grill Racks

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Clean your grill grates to keep them sanitary and undamaged.
Clean your grill grates to keep them sanitary and undamaged. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Grilling is practically a sport for some cooks, and clean-up needs to be part of the game plan. After you cook on your charcoal or gas grill, it is important to clean the grates. Burned-on and caked-on grease and food particles can eventually damage the grill grates and racks. Cooking food on a dirty grill is not only unsanitary, it can make your food taste burned. Take care when you clean your grill racks, especially if they have a special nonstick coating, so you do not damage the grill.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • Large container
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Wet cloth
  • Dry cloth

Close the lid of your gas grill once you have removed the food. Turn the grill on high and let it sit for 15 minutes to thoroughly char whatever food particles have been left on the grill. Skip this step if you have a charcoal grill.

Scrub your grill grates and racks with a wire brush, after they have cooled. If your racks have a special coating, use whatever is recommended by the grill maker. Some might work fine with a standard wire grill brush while others might require a fine steel-wool pad. Scrub the racks to loosen and begin to remove the caked on grease and food.

Fill a large container, such as a wash tub, with warm water. Add a mild dish soap to create suds.

Place your grill racks inside the warm, soapy water and soak them until the caked on food and grease is beginning to loosen. Check every 15 minutes or so.

Scrub the racks with a wet dish cloth once the food and grease has started to loosen. Scrub with a fine steel wool pad if the grime is stubborn.

Remove the clean racks from the water and dry them thoroughly so that they will not rust. Put them back onto the grill.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are scrubbing your gas or charcoal grill while it is still hot, be sure to wear long, heat-resistant gloves so you don't burn your hands or arms.

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