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May 11, 2004 02:32 PM

Stoopid Grill *Cleaning* Question

  • l

OK, as Jonathan Saw said below in response to Stoopid Grill Question #2, "Sometimes, if your grill dirty, no matter how long it stays on one side the food will still stick."

I've got a gas grill (a fair-to-middlin' mid-grade one from Sears--never again!) and can never seem to keep the grates clean enough to ensure non-sticking. Yes, I preheat it on high for about 15-20 minutes to burn off the gunk in the middle area of the grate,and that scrapes off, for the most part. But food still sticks, even on that area and even after wiping with a paper towel soaked in canola oil. But there's still stuff along the outside (the grill doesn't obviously heat well on the outside) that won't clean off.

Is there anything commercial and easy to find that will help that's not hazardous to my health? Or should I venture to Sears and buy a new grill grate and start all over?

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  1. Oven cleaner. Spray it on the cold grate. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then wipe off and wash with soapy water. Repeat if necessary. Dawn Power Dissolver is also supposed to work well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert

      I have cast iron grates which I seasoned according to the instructions. If I start using oven cleaner or other cleaners, wouldn't that take off my seasoning?

      I don't have any food stickage problems, though sometimes I'm a bit concern about the brown bits that seems to be present on the first batch of whatever it is I'm cooking.

      1. re: Wendy Lai

        Hmm, it would definitely remove the seasoning. I would just use a wire brush on it when hot, and wipe off with a side towel. You can use water on a towel as well, to steam/clean it off.

    2. A couple of tips I would like to add. Make sure you preheat the grates to your cooking temperature and then oil them before putting on the food. Frequently meat will stick during the first few minutes of cooking and then the meat will release after searing.

      For fish, I oil the grate as above, then lay lettuce leaves on the grate, and put the fish skin side up on the leaves. Cook for a few minutes and then flip to skin side down. The lettuce doesn't flavor anything but does provide a clean surface to cook on.

      1. I use a product called Carbon-Off, an industrial-grade cleaner that you can find at restaurant supply stores. The grates on my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker still look like new after a year of constant use (about twice a week) thanks to Carbon-Off. This stuff really does the trick on built up grease and carbon deposits in ways that oven cleaner can't even come close to.


        1. m
          Mike McElliott

          Never tried it myself, but Grill Wizard comes highly recommended by America's Test Kitchen.


          1. If you have a self-cleaning oven, you might try putting them in your oven and put them through the clean cycle. I haven't tried this, but it might help to get some of the accumulated gunk off.

            4 Replies
            1. re: d2u

              I run my stainless steel grill grates thru the oven clean cycle every spring, followed by a full wash in the lower section of the dishwasher.

              Works great.

              1. re: d2u

                No, unfortunately I don't have a self-cleaning oven. When my landlord replaced the avocado green stove/oven when I first moved in, he got just a basic oven (white, thank goodness!) for me. But at least it's better than the Old Green Monster, which heated up to anywhere from 25° to 75° off, depending on the temp you set it at.

                1. re: Linda W.

                  Then, I would go with the oven cleaning spray, Easy-Off. That stuff will take off anything. Just be sure to clean well after using that product. Run it through your dishwasher, unless your landlord replaced that too (smile). Good luck! Dawn

                  1. re: d2u

                    No, actually I'm WAITING for him to replace the dishwasher. ;-) It's a temperamental thing, on occasion turning on when I lock it and turn the knob, and sometimes automatically going into a drying mode.

                    The new one is sitting in the foyer waiting to be installed at his convenience. Ah well, have lived there 9 years with only 4 small rent increases and I'm on a month-to-month. Can't beat it.

                    Thanks all for the cleaning hints.