With the coming of summer, many people are firing up their grills and smokers to start hosting backyard parties and all sorts of events. Anyone with a passion for barbecuing or even cooking can understand the benefits of smoking, whether it’s done for meats or vegetables. So when it comes to pellet grills, it’s understandable that many owners want to make sure their own lasts a long time.
Keeping a pellet grill is actually as simple as cleaning a regular charcoal or propane barbecue, though with a few added steps due to its additional parts. With careful maintenance and cleaning the grill can last quite a long time. It removes any rust and debris that can build up and prevents more from building up, ensuring that you can grill up a delicious meal whenever you want. However, it can be hard to know how to maintain a pellet grill if this is your first time using one.
This article covers all you need to know about maintaining a pellet grill and how to clean it in a way that ensures that it lasts. Click here to find out more about pellet grills and how you can get one for yourself.
Keep the grill covered when not in use
One of the most important things you can do to keep your grill well maintained is to take preventative measures against any wear and tear. This can start with covering your grill when you aren’t smoking or grilling anything. Investing in a good quality grill cover can prevent moisture from lingering on the metal, whether it’s from rain or simply condensation. A proper cover can also prevent any sediment, bugs or critters from entering the grill, making cleaning much easier as well. All that’s needed is a cover with ties.
Check the chimney
After long smoking sessions, make sure you check the chimney. Long sessions of burning wood pellets can create more ash that builds up in the chimney. While in some cases, there might not be too much build up, the ash can make your grill less efficient. If it hasn’t been cleaned out in quite some time, it may even cause a fire. To clean it out, use a vacuum or brush instead of water, since water can affect your pellets and the food you make.
Vacuum out the fire pot and smoker
In the same way that the grill’s chimney needs to be cleaned out, the smoker and fire pot need to be cleaned out too. Ash from burning the wood pellets can gather in these areas, again causing a potential fire risk. Any grease falling off the meat can cause flare ups that accidentally ignite on the ash. Instead, clean it out the same way you would clean the grill’s chimney – with a vacuum. It’s recommended that you clear them out after five short cooking sessions or one longer session.
Clean the grill’s grates
As with all grills, cleaning the grates can be the most important step in maintaining the grill for future use. Since that’s where your meat and vegetables go when the grill is hot enough, marinades and rubs can cake onto the grate before burning on. If it isn’t cleaned off, it can affect how the food is cooked and may even cause health problems. Too much build up can also cause the grates to rust, further increasing the risk of potential health problems.
Thankfully, cleaning off the grates can be quite simple. A quick clean just needs a brush or a scraper to remove any stuck on materials. To give it a deeper clean, you can also soak the grill’s grates in hot soapy water to loosen the debris before scrubbing it off. You can also invest in mats to help cook messier foods.
Season the grates
Another way to make sure that your grates stay rust free is to season them. Seasoning the grills often involves cleaning off any lingering chemicals on the grates before applying a layer of oil to them. Once the oil is applied, more heat is used to infuse the grate with it before the process is repeated a few more times. Seasoning the grill prevents rust due to the fact that oil typically repels water but also allows the oil to flavour whatever is cooked on it next.
Clean out the grease bucket
After a long period of time and multiple cooking sessions, grease can gather into the grill’s grease bucket. The substance can build up more and more over time, especially since it can be troubling to clean yourself. However, an excess of grease can actually negatively impact the efficiency of the pellet grill and may even shorten its lifespan if kept too long. To make the process much easier the next time you need to clean out the grease bucket, create a foil liner out of some aluminium foil. Then all that’s needed is to toss it out before relining the bucket.
Clean the outside regularly
The simplest way to keep your pellet grill well maintained is to clean it regularly. This doesn’t need to be after every use, only every week or so. Check for any external wear and tear or rusty spots along the grill’s frame and connection, cleaning them off with commercial cleaners or simple homemade ones. Once that’s done, wipe down the exterior and add a polish if needed to prevent future rust build up.
Tips for a long lasting grill
With proper cleaning, your pellet grill can last quite a long time. However, there are still a few cases when rust or other kinds of grime becomes a persistent and unwanted addition to your grill. Always ensure that you clean the grill every week or other week to remove any hidden rust spots and make sure that it’s always dry, inside and out. Whether it means that you use a special made cover or simply set it up in a dry spot, it prevents rust from building up and lengthens the overall lifespan of your grill.