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Routine broiler pan cleaning tips needed

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In another thread, I posted a picture of a broiler pan, showing the result of a slow progression of incomplete cleaning. What I ended up with was a thick layer of carbonized hardened gunk. This actually happened to two pans - one enamel, another stainless. I got the enamel one completely clean after a lot of work, and used it this evening to broil chicken, which takes 40 minutes at 400 degrees and broiling for 5 minutes.

My question now is how one routinely cleans a pan put to such use, when it starts from clean... What I did was drain the fat and wipe the pan with paper towels, since I have a septic system. I found significantly caramelized residue in areas of the collection pan, and scraped these with a plastic spatula to loosen them. I washed the collection pan and cooking surface with a weak detergent (ajax) and plastic scrubby (I don't currently own Dawn).

The result of this effort is the collection pan came up looking clean, while the cooking surface has some areas of thin, mottled brownish looking hardened gunk.

1) I assume I should be using Dawn, like mom kept handy for cleaning pans. 2) Would routinely using a green mildly abrasive pad, steel wool, etc + Dawn be in order to remove the hardened areas I am left with? 3) Would soaking the hardest to clean surface be in order before scrubbing, or just go in with elbow grease?

I would prefer to not have to use oven cleaner or ammonia on a routine basis. I have to pick up some Dawn, but I thought I would post this and see what others do for everyday cleaning. I'm an old single guy, so I can't pick up the phone and get advice from others :)

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  1. The best results are to remove the stuff you can and wipe down as you did to remove the grease, then while the pans are still hot, fill with hot soapy water to soak while you have your dinner. For easiest routine cleaning, use a scrubbing powder like Barkeepers' Friend with the scrubby. My experience is that it's next to impossible to remove the hardened or burnt-on film with scrubbies and soap alone. (Note: don't use BKF on aluminum pans though, for those use Bon Ami.)

    1. Soaking with Dawn and hot water is fine. But get yourself a pack of these and your cleaning will be easy -- wish I''d discovered them years ago.