I will just say it again, I love pellet grills, so much so that I went from one to two in less than six months. There have been weeks at a time where I didn’t turn my oven on once because I cooked everything outside on the grill. However, with all that grill usage, comes grill cleaning and maintenance, and I thought this would be a good time to briefly explain what needs to be done to keep your grill in tip top shape.
This won’t be a long article because it doesn’t take a whole lot to keep your pellet grill functioning properly, but it’s important to know what to do. The first thing you will want to do is put on some disposable gloves. I hate getting dirty, so I always put on gloves when cleaning out the grill. To go a step further, I always wear an apron too, because random stuff is bound to go flying and it always ends up on my shirt, so an apron is a must in my opinion.
You will want to keep your grill grates clean and free of greasy buildup. To do this you first want to make sure you clean your grates either when your grill is cooling down, or warming up. Stuff comes off the grates easier when they are warm. When the grill has completely cooled, that’s when you can do the other steps below.
Besides your grates, you want to keep your firepot free of ash, so every couple of uses, or before a long cook, you will want to take a Shop-vac to it and suck up all the ash. Just remove your grill grates, drip tray and heat defector and then suck up any ash you see in the grill and especially in the firepot. This will be especially helpful for when you plan to do long cooks at a low temp like 225 degrees. If you have too much ash buildup in your firepot you could get that dreaded flame out where the grill loses it’s flame, and the temp gets really low, then all of a sudden the auger will send a bunch of pellets into the firebox and BOOM they all ignite and your temps go flying way to high. You really want to avoid this, so keeping the ash clean is important.
A few weeks ago I posted in the Tips & Tricks section about how aluminum foil is your friend. Using heavy duty (and I want to emphasize making sure it’s heavy duty) aluminum foil on your drip tray is a quick and easy way to keep it clean. Before each use, just remove the old dirty foil and replace it with a new sheet, you will be done in less than 2 minutes, and your drip tray will be free and clear of grease, which is especially important if you are using GrillGrates.
That’s really it, that’s all it takes to keep your grill working at its peak performance. Every now and then you will want to do a good cleaning to the outside, and then once or twice a year you can really get in there with some elbow grease, but if you keep up with the minimal everyday maintenance, the “big clean” won’t be bad at all. Everything I suggested here will take you max 10 minutes, and that’s really stretching it. You could easily be done with it all in 5 minutes., and once you are done with everything cover up your grill so that it’s protected from the outside elements, and then it will be fresh and clean for your next cook. Happy cleaning and even happier cooking!