The Great Tip
March 2007 - Prepare the grill
Cleaning the Grill Grate:
Everyone needs to have some way to clean the built up food and grease that accumulates on their grill grate. Although many manufacturers recommend cleaning the grill right after you finish cooking, I recommend leaving the grill grate ‘dirty’ until the next time that you light up your grill. Cleaning the grill right after you finish cooking will look ‘nicer’, but a cleaned grill grate will allow particles like acid and salt to create corrosion on a cleaner, unprotected surface. A ‘dirty’ grill is like a well seasoned wok or salad bowl, and will not suffer such environmental problems.
Tip: Light your grill and make it hot. Tear off a small sheet of aluminum foil and hold it between a pair of long handled spring tongs. When the flames are ‘licking’ at your ‘dirty’ grill grate, run the foil back and forth over the surface of the grill until clean. Your grate will last many more seasons this way. Forget about buying one of those grill brushes; they never last more than one season.
Cleaning ash out of the Grill Bowl:
The same environmental problem takes place with cleaning all the ash out of the bowl of your charcoal grill. I recommend leaving much of the ash inside the bowl after you finish grilling. Ash is relatively high in alkalinity and stops the corrosive effects that occur on the bottom of an ash free grill bowl, especially over the course of several winter months.
Tip: Before you light your grill, remove the ash from the bottom of the grill bowl. Light your grill and cook as usual. When you have finished grilling, close the top and bottom vents of your grill. If you clean out all the ash before you put your grill away for the winter, you will find a layer of rust on the bottom vents of your grill bowl.