How to Clean a Cast-Iron Grilling Grate
Cleaning Cast-Iron Grills:
Clean Right After Use
It is best to clean your cast-iron grilling grates as soon as possible after you finish grilling. Allow the grates to cool down a little, but make sure they are still warm. You can still follow these steps if you’ve left a dirty grill to sit, but it will take more work.
Scrape the Grate Clean
Use a wire brush to scrape all food particles off the grate. Spray the grate down with a solution of four parts water to one part apple cider vinegar to sanitize it; then wipe it off with a paper towel. You may need to repeat this process several times until you can get most of the food residue off the grate.
Wash with Mild Soap
Apply a mild soap to a sponge and wash the grate to remove excess grease. Rinse the grate well with warm water to completely remove all the soap.
Dry the Grate
Use a clean cloth to make sure it’s completely dry. Cast iron can withstand nearly anything except water. Water will cause your cast iron grilling grates to rust.
Season the Grill
Use a paper towel or clean cloth to lightly coat the grate with vegetable oil, olive oil, or vegetable shortening.
Heat the Oiled Grill
You want the oil to saturate every pore of the cast iron to protect it from rust. Heating the grate after applying the oil is the best way to make sure that the grate is fully covered. Once each grate is clean and oiled, wrap them with aluminum foil and place them on the grill. Fire up your grill on high, close the lid, and leave it for about 10 minutes. Turn off the grill and repeat step 5 while the grates are still hot. Make sure to wear protective gloves, so you don’t burn your hands.
Use It or Store It
If you are cleaning the grate so you can use it, you are now ready to fire up the grill and start your barbecue. If you are cleaning the grate for storage after using it, make sure the grates are completely dry and well-oiled before storing them in a dry place.