Cleaning the oudoor grill

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Outdoor grilling is one of summertime's pleasures.

Even plain foods seem to taste better when cooked outdoors.

Whether your grill is charcoal or gas, it needs attention to perform at its best all summer long.

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Begin by getting out the use and care book and checking the manufacturer's instructions for specific cleaning requirements.

Rust is the major enemy of charcoal grills.

The major cause of rust is failing to clean out the ashes regularly.

To do this, make sure the grill is turned off and completely cool.

Then, remove the grates from inside the grill.

If there is no ash catcher underneath the bowl, scoop out the ashes.

A garden trowel makes a good scoop.

If the grill does have an ash catcher, be sure to clean it, too, once the ashes are removed.

Carefully discard the ashes in a plastic bag to keep them from flying all over and covering everything with soot.

Clean the grate and the inside of the grill with a spray-on oven cleaner.

These are strong and may be corrosive, so check the label to make sure the cleaning product is safe for both these surfaces and follow the grill manufacturer's instructions.

Let the cleaner sit long enough to soften the accumulated grease and grime, then wipe it off with paper towels.

Follow with a hand dishwashing detergent and water.

Clean the outside of the grill with a warm detergent and water solution and a non-abrasive cloth.

Rinse and wipe dry.

Gas grills should be checked to make sure there are no leaks or blockages.

Make sure the gas is turned off and the grill is completely cool.

Then inspect the burner and gas supply tubes for spider webs, grease build-up, rusted areas, anything that would slow down the gas flow.

Clean these areas following the grill manufacturer's instructions.

Clean a gas grill after every use by turning the grill on &uot;high&uot; and letting it &uot;cook&uot; for 10 to 15 minutes with the lid closed.

Turn off the grill and let it cool slightly.

Then, loosen the residue with a brass bristle brush.

Once the grill is completely cool, wipe the inside and outside surfaces with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water.

Rinse and wipe dry.