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Outdoor Kitchen Maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining your outdoor kitchen is the key to maximizing the life of your outdoor dining components and accessories. Food residue and carbon buildup that remain in your grill for extended periods of time will cause components to break down and even rust, leaving you looking for replacement parts or a new grill altogether. It's best practice to clean your grill and its components after every use, and you should periodically perform a deep clean of the entire grill and accessories, which we detail how to do below.


I. Regular Grill Maintenance & Cleaning

Although stainless steel is a pretty durable material, it isn’t indestructible. Luckily, there are preventative steps you can take to keep your stainless steel looking shiny. In terms of daily use, avoid destructive behaviors such as cutting directly on a stainless steel surface (always opt for a cutting board instead). When it comes to quick cleaning, wiping down with soapy water and rinsing thoroughly is your best bet for maintaining stainless steel surfaces. Make sure you are cleaning every surface including the cabinetry, sink, outdoor refrigerator, and other stainless steel items on a regular basis.


You can also employ a special polish for removing smudges, fingerprints, and stains if needed, but always use a soft cloth and never use anything harsher, like steel wool pads. Much like gouges that can result from using a knife on steel surfaces, abrasions, and water deposits will shorten the lifespan of your grill and components. Quick note: Since many stainless steels come with visible polishing lines, it’s important to scrub or wipe with the “grain” when cleaning.


You can also perform a regular check to make sure grease and gunk haven't affected the performance of any of your grill's burners. A healthy flame on a gas grill should be blue with a yellow tip—if your flames are all yellow, turn off the grill and disconnect the fuel tank so that you can check the fuel valve pressure. Lastly, take a look at any hoses, such as fuel lines, on the grill. Even a covered outdoor grill that isn't directly exposed to the elements is affected by temperature changes, so it should be regularly inspected.


II. How to Deep Clean Your Grill

With regular cleaning and maintenance, you won't need a deep clean very often, but you should perform one every 2-3 months, or at the very least, at the beginning and end of each grilling season. Before you start the deep cleaning process, make sure the grill is completely cooled after its last use. It's also a good idea to disconnect your gas line before deep cleaning your grill.


Start the deep clean process by cleaning grill grates (detailed below). Once you've done that, set them aside to gain access to the flame tamers, which need to be scrubbed with a stainless steel wire brush (one of the few times you'll use a rough material on your grill). Upon removing the flame tamers, check the underside to see if there’s any food residue that has been collected.


At this point, all that should be left are the burners and (if your grill includes them) heat baffles. Use a grill brush to scrub each burner, one at a time. Having done that, it's time to put your wire brush to use on the side walls and firebox walls, to stave off corrosion that will make the grill unusable. The temperature probe on the back of the hood thermometer might also be coated with buildup, in which case it’ll need to be cleaned with Carbon-Off and a soft cloth or sponge.

III. Cleaning The Grill Grate

Step one is to close the lid and turn all burners to the highest heat setting to begin the burn-off process. After 10-15 minutes, when smoke stops flowing from the back of the grill, the burn-off process is complete. Switch the burners off and let the grill cool off to a moderate temperature of about 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit before scraping the residue. Brush back to front once on every grate before checking to see if there are any spots that need more work.


IV. Cutlery

The secret to long-lasting, high-quality cutlery that will last for years is remembering to hone your knives frequently. This keeps the blades sharp, and it gives your quality cutlery the proper care and maintenance they deserve. Both honing steels and sharpening blocks are excellent ways to sharpen your knives.


Avoid placing cutlery in your dishwasher, unless it is specified dishwasher-safe. Even then, though, the force of the water can expose your knife's edge to foreign objects. It's best to wash your knives in a sink full of hot, soapy water. Make sure your knife is secure, scrub, rinse, and then wipe or air dry.


V. Fireplace

If your ultimate outdoor kitchen includes a fireplace or firepit, include cleaning it as part of your routine. While there will always be some level of dirt or residue in an outdoor fireplace, what's most important is keeping it clear of debris. Regularly remove ashes and any other build-up from your fireplace as you clean everything else.


VI. Countertops

The best method for cleaning your countertops will depend on what material you choose. While granite and stone countertops look smooth, they are porous, which means they can stain easily. With granite or stone countertops, you should wipe up spills as quickly as possible with soapy water. In addition, adding a roof structure to your outdoor kitchen will help add another layer of protection for year-round cleaning, specifically for countertops and other flat surfaces.


Your outdoor kitchen and fireplace area is more than a financial investment -- it's a commitment to time spent with family and friends. A few minutes now will help ensure many hours of quality time with loved ones later. Contact the Grillnetics team with any questions about maintaining your outdoor kitchen.