Whether you are a professional chef or a home cook, chances are you know how essential cast iron cookware is for creating mouth-watering food. Cast iron’s ability to conduct and retain heat for long periods also makes it excellent for grilling.
As perfect as it is, cast iron is not without a few downsides. For starters, cast iron tends to rust if you expose it to too much water. However, with proper maintenance and regular cleaning, you can help your cast iron grill retain its unique qualities.
This post will take you through six easy steps to follow when cleaning your cast iron grill and highlight the benefits of turning to Toronto’s top-rated BBQ cleaning service.
Unlike stainless steel grills, cast iron grills are tough and resilient. While stainless grills easily discolour or become scratched when you use abrasive tools, the challenge you will face with cast iron grills is preventing rust. However, keeping your grill clean can help you manage this.
Ideally, you should clean your cast iron grill after each use. Leaving stuck-on food and grease on the surface for extended periods will make cleaning your cast iron grill more difficult. Failure to clean also increases the potential for bacterial growth and food poisoning.
To clean your cast iron grill, you will need the following tools and materials:
- Plastic scraper
- Nylon scrubber or stiff-bristled nylon brush
- Drying cloths
- Plastic wrap
- Drop cloth, tarp, or newspaper
- Paper towels
- Two plastic buckets
- Rubber gloves
Avoid using stiff wire brushes when cleaning the cast iron grill grates because their bristles can break, cling to the grates, and eventually end up in your food.
- Warm water
- Dishwashing liquid
- Lemon juice
- Vegetable oil
- Baking soda
Cleaning cast iron grills can be a messy job, so ensure you prepare well before beginning. Start by spreading out a tarp, drop cloth, or some newspaper around the area you will be cleaning and place your grill at the centre. Doing so will help you avoid having to clean food particles and grease stains from your deck or patio.
Take one plastic bucket and fill it with hot water, adding one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid for every gallon of water. Swish the bucket around to mix the solution thoroughly.
Fill the second bucket with clean hot water. You will use this for rinsing.
Cast iron grills use either gas or charcoal. If your grill uses gas, ensure that you disconnect the gas line before cleaning it. If you have a charcoal grill, make sure you have removed all the ashes and charcoal embers.
When cleaning your cast iron grill, start with the grates. Remove them from the grill and place them on the tarp. Using your nylon scrubber or nylon stiff-bristled brush, clean the stuck-on food. You can use the plastic scraper to loosen the food first.
If you find it hard to remove the food particles, create a paste by mixing baking soda or kosher salt with water. Apply this paste to the grates using a nylon sponge, and try scrubbing.
Once the grates are free of stuck-on food, dip your scrubber or brush into the cleaning solution and scrub once more. Rinse the grates with clean hot water, using a cloth to dry them before setting them aside.
Using the plastic scraper again, remove grease, food particles, or fuel residue from the inside of your grill’s lid and bowl. After scraping the interior, you can use a shop vac to remove the mess or scoop out the residue with your hands.
Take the brush and scrub your grill’s exterior. After, rinse and dry the surfaces with the old cloth.
When all of your grill’s components are clean and dry, lightly coat them with vegetable oil, spreading the oil evenly using the paper towel.
Reassemble the cast iron grill, and heat it to about 90 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Doing so will help the vegetable oil penetrate and bind to your grill’s cast iron surfaces.
Besides regularly cleaning your cast iron grill, there are other steps you can take to prevent food and rust from building up.
First, ensure you take a little time after each use to wipe the surfaces, using hot, soapy water while the grill is slightly warm. Finish this process by wiping the grill using a sponge dipped in clean hot water. Feel free to re-season as necessary if you notice food particles sticking on the surfaces.
It is essential to remove rust before it builds up and starts eating through the iron. Fortunately, there are several ways you can do this.
You can use steel wool and wire brushes to clear away the rust build-up. Consider using a cleaning solution to help with your efforts. Some cleaning solution options include:
- Vinegar: Rub the surface with plain white vinegar, leaving the vinegar to sit and dissolve the rust before cleaning the area.
- Baking Soda Paste: Use baking soda and water to make a paste, then apply to the surface. Leave the paste to sit for a while, then scrub it off with an abrasive surface.
- Salt Paste: Apply a thick paste of kosher salt and water.
You do have the option of using two cleaning solutions together, starting with the salt paste then switching to vinegar or the baking soda paste after removing the more stubborn rust stains.
Now that you know the steps involved in cleaning a cast iron grill, you can start working on eliminating those food particle and rust build-ups plaguing your grill. Alternatively, you could turn to our BBQ cleaning service, which is also effective at cleaning BBQ burners.