How to clean a BBQ

Cooking with any outdoor BBQ is a performance – and we don’t mean that in a bad way. It really is a one-person, burger-flipping, crowd-pleasing show! If you’re volunteering to step up on the patio stage and stand cooking for your guests, better make sure you’re not doing so with a grimy barbecue.

Keeping your grill clean and well-maintained isn’t just important for appearances, but for flavour too. Fortunately, keeping on top of this task is easy! We’re going to talk you through how to clean a BBQ in the most efficient way possible, with our step-by-step guide and BBQ clean kit recommendations. You’ll be back to cooking with gas and feeding your fans in no time!

Why Do You Need to Clean Your BBQ Grill?

Before we get under the hood – literally – of keeping your BBQ clean, let’s take a moment to understand why it’s so important. Just like any cooking device, cleaning it after use is an important part of maintenance. Food and fuel debris can quickly build up, making cooking unpalatable at best, and dangerous at worst.

Grease that builds up on the cooking grates or interior surfaces of your BBQ can catch, leading to flare-ups and uneven heat. If ash starts to pile up in the bottom of the oven, that’s a risk too as it could circulate and contaminate your food. Smokey flavours are desirable, ashy mouthfuls less so!

By keeping your BBQ grill clear, clean and sparkling, you can prevent these issues from spoiling your garden party – if only it was so easy to prevent British summer rain!

How Often to Clean Your BBQ

Everdure 4k Charcoal bbq with grill plate

You’ll be pleased to hear that we don’t believe in cleaning your BBQ after every use. A little leftover grease isn’t going to do any harm, but as soon as it starts to build up, take action. For regular outdoor chefs, you should have your barbecue cleaners on standby for a monthly deep clean.

If you start to see more smoke than usual, debris catching on the grill or notice unpleasant flavours in your food, it’s time.

Depending on the tools you use, the fuel you burn and the food you cook, you might have to carry out more regular maintenance. For example, ash from wood-fire needs to be cleared out regularly, and marinaded or glazed foods are more likely to leave residue behind.

A real game-changing hack is available in the shape of our Magic Non-Stick BBQ Liners for Gas & Charcoal Grills. Simply pop one of these liners on top of your grill and it’ll keep all the fat and food away from the cooking surface.

While some outdoor BBQs are designed to be stowed away indoors between use, others are not. If your BBQ is kept outdoors, even on sunny days, it’ll need some upkeep.

Check for dirt and debris, and for signs of rust caused by rain or humidity. Make sure you’re regularly wiping down the surface using warm soapy water, and zipping your barbecue away in a protective cover whenever you can.

BBQ Cleaning Equipment

Our range of barbecue cleaners will make that first alfresco burger of the year taste even better. To help you find the best products to keep your cooking grill in pristine condition, we’ve put together our top-rated cleaners for BBQs in this guide: Outdoor Cleaning Checklist.

You can see how and when these products and cleaning tools swing into action in the step-by-step guide below. Having the right BBQ cleaning products at your disposal will ensure the longevity of your cooker, so you can grill for many more summers to come.

BBQ grill cleaning brush

The Easiest Way to Clean A BBQ: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Preheat the Grill

You read that right – before you dive into cleaning, it’s best to give your BBQ a blast of heat. By lighting it up and closing the lid, you’re letting the BBQ do the hard work for you. Any stuck-on food will be burned clean off the grill, so smoke is a sign that cleaning is underway! Once the smoking subsides (usually after 15 minutes) turn off the heat and let the grill cool down.

2. Spray the Grate

Once everything has cooled, you can start tackling the cooking grates. Spray on our Barbecue and Grill Cleaner and leave for a few minutes. This will have loosened any lingering pieces of food, so you can easily scrap them away.

3. Brush the Grate

Now for the elbow grease. Using a wire brush or grill scraper, vigorously brush over the bars to remove any lingering pieces of food. Work in a back-and-forth motion, brushing until nothing catches under your grill brush.

4. Clean the Drip Tray

Don’t forget to clean underneath the cooking grill too. If there’s a drip tray, remove this and empty the accumulated grease or food debris, before wiping down the tray with a cloth and warm soapy water.

5. Empty the Base

If you’re cooking with a wood-fire or charcoal-power BBQ, then you’re going to need to empty the oven of ash. In smaller cookers, this might involve emptying the fuel drawer, while larger barbecues will need to be swept and brushed clean.

6. Clean the Exterior

Now that the inside is clean and clear, wipe down the exterior of the grill. Using a damp cloth and a stainless steel cleaner, like Lakeland Worktop Wonder Hard Surface Cleaner, gently clean the outside surfaces. Make sure you clean and dry the lid, handles and control knobs. Pay special attention to any areas where rust has started to form by using Lakeland Rust Remover. The concentrated formula works by removing calcium deposits, limescale build-up and stains caused by rust.

7. Reassemble and Season

Once everything is clean and dry, reassemble your grill and give it a final once-over. Before cooking, it’s a good idea to season the grates with a light coating of cooking oil to prevent sticking and improve flavour. Simply brush the grates with oil using a basting brush or paper towel, then heat the grill for a few minutes to let the oil penetrate the metal.

8. Don’t Forget Your Tools

Finally, just before you lay down your BBQ cleaning kit, take a moment to clean your BBQ tools and accessories as well. Wash any utensils, brushes, or spatulas used during the grilling process with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

Lakeland Gas Pizza Oven being assembled

Cleaning Other Outdoor Ovens

Other outdoor ovens, such as pizza ovens and smokers, aren’t always designed to be stored outside while not in use. Make sure you know if your model can stand up to the elements before leaving it outside for a long period of time.

With the exception of some unique oven features, like stone baking boards, a lot of what we’ve covered in the steps above is transferable to pizza ovens and other outdoor ovens. Stone baking boards need to be cleaned regularly, but it’s a fairly easy job. Once cool, it just needs to be brushed for crumbs and rinsed with cold water.

Make sure that you read the instruction manual carefully, as each oven make will have slightly different cleaning requirements. Some makes and models, for example, will warn against using abrasive barbecue cleaning brushes, such as those we’ve recommended above.

In the world of outdoor cooking, a clean BBQ or oven is the secret to success. Start establishing a regular cleaning routine early in the season, staying vigilant for signs of buildup or wear and tear. That way, every meal cooked on your BBQ – from whole barbecued chicken to juicy lamb burgers – will be nothing but delicious.

So, fire up the grill, gather your friends and family, and get ready to create unforgettable memories around the BBQ!