If adequately cared for, cast iron grills can last more than a lifetime. This means regular cleaning, oiling, and continuous general maintenance and upkeep. Here are the four most effective and easy-to-use methods to restore your cast Iron grill grate.
There are many reasons to buy cast iron grill grates. They are very durable and may last longer than your best kamado bbq, if properly maintained. They are also able to maintain even heat during the cooking process and leave wonderful grill marks on your food.
Most importantly, with continued use and regular seasoning, they will eventually become non-sticky which is similar to cast iron pans.
However, just like cast iron pots and pans can rust in your home, cast iron grill grates can rust and become unusable if they are not properly cleaned and stored.
Therefore, we will discuss daily maintenance, how to clean the cast iron grill grates, and how to keep your investment in good condition and functioning normally.
How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates?
The best way to keep your grill clean and rust-free is to perform a good cleaning immediately after each use.
After you finish cooking and take out the food, if you use charcoal, open all vents. If you use gas, turn the grill up, then close the lid to let the grill get hot.
In this way, you can burn most of the food that is stuck to the food and barbecue sauce.
After the food is cooked, you can turn off the vent to extinguish the charcoal, or turn off the gas to cool the grill until you can comfortably reach in and clean it.
When your grill is still warm, scratch the grate with a good grill brush.
A brush with a scraper is very useful here because you can easily scrape any leftover food from the grate.
After cleaning the cast iron grateS and making sure they are dry, you now need to apply a very thin layer of vegetable oil to prevent rust.
Just use a cloth or kitchen towel lightly dipped in oil and wipe it. You want to apply a thin film, not a thick layer on your grill grates.
How to Remove Rust on Cast Iron Grates?
Sometimes accidents or unintentional negligence may occur, and your grate will unfortunately rust.
This can happen if you accidentally remove the lid from the grill, or if you just don’t use it for a long time and moisture gets inside the grill.
If this happens, don’t panic-there are many ways to remove the rust and restore the cast iron grate to its former situation.
Steel Wool and Soapy Water
Do not wash cast iron with soap and water unless you want to peel off the seasoning and then re-season it.
Wash in the sink with hot soapy water and steel wool or a hard brush. This will remove any seasonings you have accumulated, but it will also remove any surface rust and restore your grate to bare metal.
After cleaning, you need to rinse the grille thoroughly and then dry them thoroughly. You don’t want to leave any moisture, as this will cause the rust to reappear soon, even overnight.
The best way to dry them is to place them in a very low oven for a few minutes to completely ensure that there is no water in any pores.
If your sink is large enough, you can lay the grill grate flat, you only need to soak them in vinegar to remove rust.
First make a 50/50 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar, then let the grate soak for about an hour. Then gently scrub with a kitchen scrubber or wire mat to remove any remaining rust.
After scrubbing, you still need to wash with soapy water to rinse off any remaining vinegar, and then dry it thoroughly in a low-temperature oven.
Self-Cleaning Oven/ High Temperature on the Grill
If you have a lot of rust on your grill, you may need to take more severe measures than just cleaning it with soap and steel wool or soaking it in vinegar.
The reliable method that has been used for cleaning cast iron for many years is to simply run it in your oven’s self-cleaning cycle. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, you can leave the oven in an extremely hot grill (such as 600°+) for more than an hour to get the same result.
Once your grate has cooled down (in the oven or on the grill), you still need to quickly clean them with hot soapy water to remove any carbon that may be left behind.
Grill Cleaner or Oven Cleaner
If your grill has a lot of rust and/or grilled on crumbs, and you think any of the above methods are not suitable for you, then professional grill cleaners or even standard oven cleaners are The most important method of stripping all cast iron into bare metal.
Most oven cleaners contain lye, which is a strong alkaline solution used for washing and cleaning.
Before starting, please get ready all the necessary materials:
1. Oven cleaner
2. Garbage bag
3. A box or container large enough to store the grill for a few days while the oven cleaner works its magic
4. Some safety glasses and gloves.
In a well-ventilated area, spray an even coating on your grate, put them in a garbage bag, and seal the bag. Now store them in a warm place out of reach of children or pets for a few days.
Once all the debris has broken down, rinse the cast iron and then wash it with soapy water.
Season the Grates After Cleaning
No matter how you clean the cast iron grate, you should season them before putting them away.
Seasoning simply uses fat or oil, baked into the pores of the cast iron under such high heat, to polymerize and form a strong coating that prevents rust and forms a non-stick coating over time.
If your grill is hot and you have just cleaned the grate with a grill brush, then one layer is enough, but if you have just completed one of the more thorough cleaning methods above, you will need to apply a few coats.