Grilling has been echoed by scientists as one of the safest ways of preparing meat. It stems from the fact that grilling presents an alternative to cooking without oil. Grilling grates are interlocking structures fitted on the surface of a grill. Iron is one of the most common metals used in making grill grates. This because the metal is durable and can withstand heat at high temperatures.
However, as we all know, iron is prone to rust if exposed to water. Eating food contaminated with iron rust pose a severe health risk as it is likely to affect the intestinal tract. Regular cleaning of cast iron grill grates is necessary for a good grilling experience.
How to Clean cast Iron Grill Grates Weber
There are various types of cooking surface made of cast iron grills. Weber Grills is a company popular for manufacturing grilling accessories. The company makes various types of products made of cast iron grills. These cooking surfaces are likely to develop lose iron rust due to their exposure to water.The unavoidable rusting of grates means that you need to be prepared on how to clean your cast-iron grates for Weber grills.
Cleaning Cast iron Grill Pans
Kosher salt: This is a special type of non-iodized kitchen salt. It consists of a considerably large grain size. This explains why it is considered a good abrasive agent in cleaning cast iron grills. Since the salt kosher salt is only made up of sodium chloride, it maintains its coarseness when in contact with oil.
Water: To create an effective cleaning paste, mix the kosher salt with water.
Brush: Since the cast grills are made of iron, a nylon scrub brush will work perfectly without leaving residues on the cooking surface.
Mix the kosher salt with water and apply the paste on the surface of the grates on the pan. Thoroughly scrub the grates with a nylon brush. Once done, use clean water to rinse the paste off the surface of the grates and leave the cast iron grill pan to dry.
Cleaning Cast Iron Griddle
A griddle is a flat metallic surface used for cooking pancakes, bacon and eggs. A cast iron griddle receives its source of heat from underneath the cooking surface. The griddle’s large surface area provides a suitable condition for preparing food for a large number of people. You are able to freely flip eggs or pancakes while cooking with a cast iron griddle.
Griddles can either be electric or non-electric. Electric griddles are plugged into sockets for heating while non-electric cast iron griddles are placed on top of burners. Cast iron weber griddles are the most common in the market. To effectively clean a cast iron griddle, you will need the following:
- Damp rag or brush
- Protective gloves
It is worth noting that for proper care and maintenance of a cast iron griddle, it is advisable to clean it immediately after use.
Procedure for immediate cleaning of cast iron griddle after use
- Wearing protective gloves, lift the hot weber griddle from the burner and take it to a sink.
- Run warm water on the griddle to help remove food remnants before getting stuck.
- Using detergent and damp rag, clean the griddle thoroughly and rinse with water.
- Once dry, apply cooking oil on the griddle and store for the next use.
Procedure for Cleaning a Cooled Cast Iron Griddle
Even though it is advisable to clean weber griddles immediately after use, you may find yourself cleaning a cool cast iron griddle that has overstayed without cleaning. Cleaning an overstayed griddle will require the use of kosher salt as an abrasive agent. The following are the steps to follow in cleaning an overstayed griddle.
- Soak the griddle in hot water for 5 minutes
- Make a cleaning paste by mixing kosher salt with water
- Using a nylon brush, scrub the stuck food particles on the griddle. Remember not to use metal to scrape stuck food off the griddle.
- Rinse the griddle and let it dry on a stove
- Apply cooking oil on the surface for protection and store for future use.
Cast Iron Grill Maintenance for First Time Use
It is always advisable to season a new weber griddle before using it. Clean the griddle using either of the two procedures explained above. Once dry, coat the surface with vegetable oil and place it in a preheated oven for an hour. Let the oven cool for half an hour and remove the griddle wiping off the surface to remove excess oil. Finally store the griddle for future use. Repeat the curing process twice a year to make future cleaning easier.
Non-electric cast iron grill that uses heat from charcoal or gas grills require thorough maintenance in the lower interior. Stuck food particles are likely to find their way to the burner. Cleaning a burner is as important as cleaning the weber grill grates. Set aside a grill brush for cleaning the burners. It is advisable to avoid using the same brush you used in cleaning the cast iron grill grates. Be extra careful when cleaning gas burners to avoid damaging the jets.
The requirement for cleaning gas stove burners
- Nylon scrub brush
- Dry towel
- Baking soda
Procedure for Cleaning
- Mix detergent with lukewarm water and use the mixture to wash off the loosely attached film of dirt.
- Prepare a cleaning paste of baking soda and apply on the burner. This will help soften the stuck food particles
- Leave the paste for 30 minutes to help soften food remains stuck on the burner.
- Scrub the burner thoroughly using a nylon brush to remove the softened food residue.
- Let the burner dry in readiness for the next use.
Daily Maintenance of gas stove burners
Cleaning of charcoal and gas stove burners should be a daily routine. This helps in maintaining the burners and making future cleaning work easy. For daily maintenance, apply vinegar on the burner to help and let it stay for 20 minutes before wiping the surface with a dry towel. This procedure helps in getting rid of burn-on grease from the surface of the burner.
Cleaning Rust Iron Grill Grates
Cast iron grill grates are always coated with porcelain to help prevent rusting. Porcelain is made up of an inorganic compound of comprising metals and non-metals. It is prepared by heating a clay mineral known as kaolin. Porcelain is tough and durable, it can withstand heat at high temperatures. This property makes it suitable for coating cooking surfaces as it does not melt.
Iron grill grates coated with porcelain are easier to maintain as they can withstand rusting when in contact with water. However, frequent use and cleaning of iron grill grates are likely to wear off the porcelain coatings from the surface. This exposes the cast iron to moisture leaving it susceptible to rusting. There are various ways of cleaning rusty iron grills to avoid the foul smell ruining the flavour of food.
Wire brush: This a brush made of wire bristles. The wire can be made from brass or steel. The hard wire bristles act as perfect abrasive equipment for scraping off from cast iron grills.
Rust remover: There are chemical solutions if applied on rust, reacting to form a barrier. Rust removers for cleaning cast iron grills are relatively cheap in the market. Evapo- Rust is one of the most common rust removers for domestic use.
Apply rust remover on the iron grill grates and leave it for 3 minutes. Thoroughly brush the iron grates using the wire brush until the cast iron becomes visible. Rinse the grates and season for storage.
Cleaning iron grill grates using Homemade Rust Removers
A home-made rust remover can be used as an alternative for commercial rust removers. It is easier to prepare if the right household ingredients are available. Rust can be removed by making a cleaning paste from a mixture of Borax and lemon juice. Borax is a common household product used in cleaning and water softening. It is made up of boric acid and boron. You may also consider using baking soda as an alternative Borax.
Apply the prepared cleaning paste on the rust iron grill grates and leave it for half an hour. Monitor the paste to ensure it does not dry by spraying it with water. Use a nylon brush to scrub the grill grates. Finally, rinse the grill grates and season for next use. You can repeat the cleaning process depending on the amount of rust residue deposited on the surface.
Homemade rust remover can also be prepared by spraying baking soda on sliced potato. The organic acids contained in the potato will help dissolve rust residues while baking soda will scrub it away. However, this method is only suitable for cleaning mild rust from considerably small cast iron grill grates. Remember to rinse the grill and let it dry before using again.
Vinegar is also a common homemade rust remover. Make sure you use undiluted vinegar for maximum performance. For mild rust, spray vinegar on the rusted iron grills and leave it to soak for half an hour. The time you spend soaking will depend on the amount of rust residue deposited on the weber grills. You can also consider pouring undiluted vinegar in a basin and dipping rusted iron grills in the bath. This could be used for smaller objects such as removable iron grill plates. Once rust has dissolved, use a nylon brush to scrub the surface of iron grills. Thoroughly rinse the iron grill grates and wipe with a clean cloth.
Safety Precautions while using rust removers
Basically, rust removal involves the use of acids that dissolve rust as well as salts that act as abrasive agents. You need to be careful when using rust removers to avoid inflicting self-injury. Mild homemade rust removers are less harmful compared to their commercial counterparts.
Other than being corrosive to metals, commercial rust removers also cause skin corrosion. Avoid letting the chemical get into contact with the skin. It causes severe skin burns that may need medical attention
Rust removers also pose a serious health hazard to the eye. When using strong industrial rust removers. You may consider wearing protective goggles while cleaning heavy rust residues from cast iron grills. Homemade rust removers are less harmful and protective goggles are not a must –use. However, you still need to be careful to avoid exposing your eyes while scrubbing off rust residues.
If accidentally inhaled, move to a place with fresh air and monitor yourself. If the symptoms persist consider seeking medical help immediately. Ensure you inform medical personnel on the type of rust remover you used.
Keep the chemical in the original container and make sure you read and understand the safety precautions labelled on the container. The original container has a corrosive resistant inner lining that helps protect it from damage.
In case of an accident, a rapid first aid response is necessary to avoid serious damage. If the chemical comes into contact with the skin, make sure you rinse that part thoroughly with cold water. If accidentally swallowed, avoid inducing vomit and instead rinse mouth thoroughly. Get medical attention if you feel too much exposed to the chemical.
Disposal of the container and or its contents should be done in accordance with regulations and safety precautions labelled on the chemical.
Cast iron grills are essential equipment for good grilling experience. Even though steel grills are also used for the same purpose, they cannot withstand heat at very high temperatures. Iron is, therefore, the most suitable metal for manufacturing cooking grills. Standard cooking grills such as Weber products require constant maintenance.
Make sure you clean the grills made of cast iron immediately after use. Since bare cast iron is prone to rust, consider purchasing grills coated in porcelain to protect the surface from rust. You should also be equipped with rust removers in the unlikely event the grills develop rust.