How To Clean Flat Top Grill in 11 Different Ways

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When we think of grills and BBQ, the first image that comes to mind is the wood or charcoal-fueled ones with metal cooking grates.

However, did you know that flat-top grills have increasingly become more popular over the past several years?

Flat-top grills have a bigger cooking surface, allowing you to cook different foods simultaneously without flare-ups. Sadly, it also means more areas to clean.

That’s why if you’re a true BBQ enthusiast, you must learn how to clean flat top grill properly to keep it in excellent working condition for longer.

Why Is It Important To Clean a Flat-Top Grill?

Flat-top grills provide versatility and flexibility during cookouts, allowing you to use different cooking techniques.

With all this versatility comes the need to maintain the cleanliness of the cooking surface. After all, preventing cross-contamination is vital, especially when it relates to food.

Unlike the typical gas grill, flat-top versions use lots of oil during cooking, which then mixes with leftover ingredients on your cooking surface.

When this happens, the oil becomes stickier, creating a greasy buildup that can ruin the flavors of the next food you will be cooking on it.

This buildup will also make the surface sticky, wreaking havoc on the textures you want your grilled food to achieve.

That said, knowing the right time to clean your flat top grill is tricky.

The most important thing to remember is that it must be cool enough to touch but still warm to remove leftover food from the surface easily.

The fat will solidify and harden if you allow the flat top grill to cool completely, requiring a more thorough cleaning than usual.

How Often Should You Clean a Flat-Top Grill?

Ideally, you must clean it after every use. In truth, though, we don’t live in an ideal world, and we sometimes postpone cleaning it for different reasons.

Other times, we think the surface looks clean, but don’t be fooled by the shine of the oil from the food.

Cleaning your flat top grill after cooking ensures you will be serving clean and safe food every time. Also, your grill will last longer if you clean it regularly. 

Tools for Cleaning Flat-Top Grills

Whatever method you choose for cleaning your flat-top grill, you will always need these essential tools to complete the task.

Bench Scraper

If you don’t want to damage the cooking surface of your flat top grill, a bench scraper is a must-have tool for you.

This piece of metal has an angled edge on one end and a plastic handle on the other used for removing stuck-on foods on the cooking surface.

Dish Rag or Paper Towels

You can use a dish rag or paper towels to dry the grill surface after cleaning or for seasoning the cooktop.

Seasoning Oil

Each of us has a preferred seasoning oil for our grill top. Choose a versatile one you can also use for cooking.

how to clean flat top grill

How To Clean Flat Top Grill

There is no standard way of cleaning a flat-top grill. Every BBQ enthusiast follows a method that best works for his needs.

Here are some effective techniques most backyard grillers typically use:

Using Beer

The carbonization from the beer will help break the oil and grease buildup on your flat top grill, making it easier to clean.

To do this, pour beer on your grill’s cooking surface, covering every inch. Then, let it soak for several minutes.

Using a wire brush or wadded-up newspaper, scrub the surface of your flat top grill. When done, drain the liquid.

Lastly, remove any excess beer from your grill top using paper towels.

Using Coffee

You might think it odd that coffee is included in this list, but leftover brewed coffee is an effective cleaning solution.

To start, pour the leftover coffee on the cooking surface and let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove any food debris or residue using a grill scraper before draining the liquid.

Using Dishwashing Liquid

Wet a sponge with liquid dish soap and use it to wipe the surface of the flat-top grill until you have removed all the drippings.

Get a second sponge, run it under hot water, and use that to remove the soap from the flat top grill’s surface.

Using Grill Cleaner Spray

Most BBQ enthusiasts know and use a grill cleaner spray.

It’s pretty straightforward to use; you just need to spray it on the grill’s cooking surface and let it soak for a few minutes.

Once you notice that the oil and dirt buildup soften, wipe off everything using a clean and damp cloth.

Using Hot Oil

Drop a small amount of canola, peanut, or any neutral oil on the cooking surface of your flat-top grill.

With the grill heat set to medium, use a pumice stone to scrub the oil on the surface, allowing it to mix with the leftover grease.

Scrub the oiled cooking surface in a circular motion to prevent scratches. Then, switch off the grill once the hot oil mixes with the fat residue.

Let the flat-top grill cool, and use paper towels to blot the oil and grime from the surface.

If you intend to use this cleaning method regularly, you may want to invest in a grill brick specifically for this purpose.

Grill bricks can remove the oil from the cooking surface without absorbing it, making it easier to clean.

Also, these bricks don’t absorb odor, allowing you to use them again without the risk of flavor contamination.

Using Lemon Juice

Make a solution of two parts warm water to one part lemon juice and put it in a spray bottle. Then, turn on the grill and set it to its highest setting.

Spray the solution on the grill’s cooking surface and grimy areas to soften the hardened leftover foods.

Scrape the surface with a grill brush to remove any stubborn buildup or leftover food. After that, turn off the heat and rinse the dirt away using the warm water-lemon juice solution.

Repeat the process until you remove all the dirt and grime from the surface. Wipe your flat top grill with a clean cloth once it has cooled down completely.

Using Lemon Soda

Mix one part of lemon juice to four parts of soda water and put the solution in a spray bottle. Set it aside.

Set your flat top grill to medium heat and remove the burnt-out residue using a grill scraper.

Get the spray bottle with the lemon-soda mixture and squirt the solution onto the grill. Allow it to penetrate the scraped residue for five to 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, scrub the cooking surface with a green scouring pad to clean it completely.

Using Onion

Onion is a natural astringent, making it a suitable cleaning agent for flat-top grills.

To use onion for cleaning, get a white onion and slice it in half.

Scrub the cooking surface with the sliced onion before the grill completely cools, allowing it to absorb the drippings. Discard the onion once you clear the dirt.

As you can imagine, this method will leave a savory onion-flavored seasoning on your grill.

Using Soda Water

This method only requires simple pantry items. To start, pour ample soda water on your flat-top grill.

Then, using a pumice stone or a grill brick, make a small and tight circular motion in scrubbing the cooking surface of your flat-top grill.

Once you have cleaned the entire grill, scrape the remaining soda water to the sides to drain completely. 

Using Steam

All you need for this method is water. Put water on the cooking surface as you turn the grill to the highest setting.

Get a grill brush and scrape away the grime. Then, drain the water and repeat the process until you’re satisfied the surface is free of buildup.

Using Vinegar and Water

Get a spray bottle and mix warm water and white vinegar in equal parts. After that, turn on the grill to the highest setting.

Spray the water-vinegar solution all over the surface of the flat-top grill, focusing on the grimy areas.

Ensure you spray the solution evenly while scraping the surface and grimy areas with a grill brush.

You can repeat the process until you see black residue that looks like loose tar on the surface.

Turn off the grill and scrape the residue away from the surface using the grill brush while pouring with the water-vinegar solution.

Repeat the procedure as necessary until you have washed away all the residue and buildup.

Finally, allow the surface to cool completely before wiping it dry with a clean cloth.

How To Season Flat Top Grill?

Seasoning your flat-top grill means putting a barrier between your food and the cooking surface. This practice will prevent the food from sticking to the grill.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Get some oil and pour an ample amount onto the cooking surface. 

Step 2: Use a lint-free cloth to spread the oil on the entire cooking surface and its verticals.

Step 3: Turn on the grill and set it to high; allow the oil to heat up until it smokes.

Step 4: Turn off your flat top grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, repeat the process twice to four times more until you are certain there’s a solid coating on your cooktop.

Step 5: Allow the flat top grill to cool completely.

Keeping a Griddle Clean and Rust-Free

You can enjoy outdoor grilling and weekend BBQ cookouts longer if you know how to clean flat top grill correctly.

Besides extending the lifespan of your machine, routine cleaning and maintenance after every use also eliminate the risk of food contamination.

Choose the preferred cleaning method you feel most comfortable using and do it regularly to keep your flat top grill clean and safe for your next cookout.

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