Cleaning Your Grates

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by rivet, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A couple weeks back there was a thread about cleaning grates. Lots of good methods, many that sounded good enough that I would try.

    Here's the method that I've always used with good results, and I'm posting to maybe help folks who aren't quite sure how to do it.

    I've got an SnP that can be used as either a smoker or a grill, so this method may not work for everyone.

    First off, set up a nice pile of charcoal.

    I use starter fluid to get it going. No worries on a lighter-fluid residue or taste, there is none left after this. Using the starter will get you going fast.

    Once you got the charcoal going well, put the grates over top of it so they can get hot and start burning off the leftover rubs and stuff from your last smoke-

    Once the charcoal is covered in grey ash, the grates are hot, then take half an onion and rub it along the grates to release the onion juices.

    It'll take a lot of the stuff off to start with. This is a better pic from a different cleaning, but you get the idea.

    After that, slap down a couple pieces of fatty bacon on the grates, like this

    With the tongs, run that bacon over the grates, letting it melt and the fat burn off, taking the buildup with it.

    The bacon grease will burn off the buildup, while the piece itself turns black. No worries, it's cleaning that gunk off.

    I do this before I grill or smoke, since fiddling around with the smoker is half the fun on a lazy day. (Mrs. Rivet says I just like building fires).

    Course the smell is great and lets everyone know you are cooking outdoors!

    If your buildup is really heavy, hit the grates with the wire brush before you do the onion. The next steps will remove any potential wire bits that may be stuck to your grates.

    This is just one way of doing it~ always worked for me. Hope it helps you all!
  2. nater3

    nater3 Fire Starter

    I just use a brillo pads each time after I smoke and mine look brand new even after a year of heavy use. I just soak them in a sink of soapy water for an hour and then give them a quick scrub and they are clean.
  3. ncdodave

    ncdodave Smoking Fanatic

    my gtates get scrubbed as soon as the meat and other food comes off. my grates are cast iron and i use a stainless steel pot scrubber. it works fantastic! leaves seasoning on the grates and its all cleaned ready for the next use!
  4. mavrick813

    mavrick813 Smoke Blower

    I just wire brush the grates when they're hot. Give them a flip wire brush the bottom, then Spray with my Flare up bottle (Water) and a wipe with a rag w/ some lard on it.

    Grates look brand new all the time.

  5. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think the beer really helps too!
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I just get a good hot fire going and hit it with a really good stainless brush and then alittle old towel with some evoo and go back to cooking. I repeat that everytime I grill or smoke.
  7. sumosmoke

    sumosmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Riv - very neat idea on how to clean the grates with something other than a wire brush. Never thought food could be used to help clean, however you're also seasoning with the bacon fat ... very cool .. [​IMG]
  8. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Wow..your supposed to clean them? [​IMG].

    I've been heating up the smoker and hitting them with a grill brush before putting on the food.
  9. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great post Rivet. I have expanded metal grates, and it might tear the heck outta' that onion, but I might give it a try. It will probably work better than what I have usually done...........

    I have some really cool expanded metal shadows in my concrete drive way, where I stood on the edge and hit the thing with 3200 PSi of pressure washer. The beautiful and talented Mrs. Engineer still gives me crap about that! [​IMG]
  10. rio_grande

    rio_grande Smoking Fanatic

    I too am guilty of using a pressure washer on mine. They are thick and heavy. I do not clean them up until before I smoke because I have found if I do it right after i have problems with the greats rusting,,, go figure :)
  11. meatball

    meatball Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Rivet, I have to give props for your onion-n-bacon cleaning method!!! I used it on my gas grill this weekend for the first time and it works like a charm!!! I will be using that method for now on - not to mention it smells really good while your cleaning! Made me hungry enough to grill up some lunch [​IMG]
  12. A couple of times I've placed my grates in the oven and set it for a self-cleaning cycle. It gets them clean alright, but fills the house with smoke....a definite head-down situation!

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