How to Clean a Flat Top Grill in 4 Easy Steps

Dirty flat top grill? Learn how to clean a flat top grill in this article.

Outdoor cooking is fun and once you start grilling, everyone is instantly looking forward to the food you’ll be serving up. However, things get even more exciting when you start using a flat top grill to expand your menu! The large, flat surface of a flat top is really a stage for different items you can add to your barbecue like scrambled eggs, bacon, caramelized onion and anything else that you can think of.

A flat top grill is highly convenient and efficient. It is the “one pan” complete meal that will satisfy your family and guests. Unfortunately, more cooking area means more space to clean up. Compared to your regular grill grate, a flat top retains more oil and whatever sauces that you have used while cooking. Using a lot of oil means having a whole lot of grease build up especially if you are fond of preparing meals on it. There is also the fact that food cooked on the flat, open surface usually leave some debris behind and if you do not know how to clean your flat top grill thoroughly, these residue from old meals will end up imparting its flavor onto whatever you will be cooking next.

These things should not dissuade you from enjoying the great advantages of flat top grilling. It is pretty easy to get into a habit of properly cleaning the equipment and it is not going to be a monumental task at all. Once you know the tools that you need to use as well as be able to tell when it is time to give your flat top some good cleansing, it should not feel like too much of a chore at all.

How Often Should You Clean Your Flat Top Grill

You have to consider whether your grill needs deep cleaning or just a regular, normal clean up. Often times, the surface might look like it’s neat and tidy but you definitely still need to clean it properly before you cook something on it. You have to remember that the surface is where you place the food that will end up inside your mouth and body, so keeping it in top, healthy condition should be priority.

Keep in mind that you are serving food to other people so, cleaning the surface after cooking a batch of food should also be considered. You want to continue serving safe, edible food thus, cleaning after cooking is a must each time you use your grill.

Cleaning your flat top grill regularly before and after every use will not only guarantee safe and clean, well-cooked grub but also, ensure that your flat top griddle can be used for a very long time.

How to Tell If Your Flat Top Needs Deep Cleaning

  • The food you cook starts tasting a little bit off, like there is some weird taste or greasy smell that you can’t identify. It could be from grease build-up on your griddle.
  • The food you are cooking might look a little bit different or have an unusual color than what you are used to. This means that there might be some unwanted left-over residue from your past cooking session on the surface.
  • You can visually identify the oil and grease build-up clumping on the corners and sides of your flat top grill. These stains and residue can be unappealing as well as highly unsanitary for cooking food.

How to Tell If Your Flat Top Needs Deep Cleaning

  • Dishwashing Liquid – liquid dish soap and wet sponge.
  • Lemon Juice – combine one part lemon juice and two parts warm water.
  • Vinegar and Water – combine equal parts of vinegar and warm water in spray bottle.
  • Steam – turning the grill on high heat and using the hot water while you brush and scrape the surface clean.

Once you have selected the easiest or best method of cleaning that works for you, it is time to gather the tools that you need to clean your flat top grill. Remember to invest in good quality cleaning equipment for your griddle because you do not want to compromise the integrity of the food you will be cooking. Plus, you want to be sure that what you are using on your flat top will not damage the grill itself.

Tools You Need to Clean Your Flat Top Grill

  1. Grill Brush – A good grill brush has thick bristles and a wooden handle which is highly effective in brushing off any left-over food or gunk stuck on the grill surface.
  2. Grill Scraper – A flat blade used to scrape off food from the griddle while it is hot.
  3. Grill Scrub Pad – A sponge that is made for scrubbing grease and debris on the grill surface.
  4. Supplies for your selected cleaning method.
  5. Cooking Oil or Spray
  6. Cloth or Paper Towel

How to Clean a Flat Top Grill ( 4 Easy Steps )

IMPORTANT: If you just used or cooked on your flat top grill, make sure that it has cooled off before you touch any part of the surface. You do not want to accidentally place your hand on a hot surface. Let your griddle cool down before touching it with your bare hands! Safety should always be a top priority.

Step 1: Scrape It Clean

Once you are sure that your flat top has cooled down, use the grill scraper and start scraping the entire cooking surface as well as its sides. Scrape off every debris or grease that you can spot, no matter how big or small it might be. Push all the scraped off debris or gunk into the grease tray but don’t forget to clean it up as well.

Sometimes, there will be debris that won’t be easily scraped off, especially if it’s some type of hardened left-over food or clumped up burnt grease. To loosen up this clingy dirty residue, pour a little bit of warm water or use warm water with soap and scrub it off with a grill pad or grill brush.

Avoid using any chemicals on your flat top because aside from the fact that it could damage the griddle, putting stuff that might leave chemical traces on something where you cook food can be harmful to you and your family. The last thing you want is to have food poisoning.

Step 2: Use Your Selected Cleaning Method

  1. Dishwashing liquid– Squirt a generous amount of dishwashing liquid on wet sponge and wipe the surface until all the drippings have been eliminated. Using another sponge, wet it with hot water and wipe off the surface until you remove any trace of soap on it.
  • Lemon Juice or Vinegar – Combine warm water and lemon juice (or Vinegar) in a spray bottle, turn on the flat top to high heat and spray the surface with the solution. Make sure to spritz a little extra on parts that are still a bit grimy. Spread the solution all over the surface with a grill brush and scrape as you go.
  • Steam – If you are afraid to use vinegar (because its smell can be overpowering) and you also don’t want the scent of lemon lingering on your flat top, then simply use water. Simply turn on the griddle up to high and pour water on it while scraping away with a grill brush. Drain it off then add more water, repeating the procedure until the surface is clean.

STEP 3: Wipe It Down

Once you see that the surface is thoroughly clean and without any greasy residue, grab a cloth and start wiping it all down. Again, let the equipment totally cool off before you start wiping it. Make sure that you not only wipe down the large surfaces but also corners and crevices that might have retained some water or liquid that you used for cleaning.

This step ensures that you are wiping out any little trace of residue, grease or dirt that has been left on your griddle’s surface. Wiping down the flat top ensures that you are protecting it from rusting or developing any molds.

STEP 4: Oil It Up

Now that your flat top is spic and span, you need to oil it up a bit to protect it from rusting as well as help maintain its non-stick layer, especially if you had built it up meticulously during seasoning period. It helps keeping the cooking surface in top condition all throughout the year.

Using your favorite cooking oil or spray, apply a thin layer all over the cooking surface of your flat top. Spread it evenly as you would when you are oiling a cast iron grill pan or grill plate to keep it from corroding or rusting especially if you have plans of storing it for a span of time because you won’t be using your flat top grill for a while.

Cleaning your flat top grill is pretty easy, especially if you don’t allow it the chance to heavily build up on left over grease or food trimmings. Normal, routine cleaning after each cook will save you the number of times you need to actually deep clean your flat top.

Taking care of your flat top grill is important as well. Keep it covered and protected when not in use especially if it is exposed to elements outside. Don’t forget to give it a wipe down if you haven’t used it for some time. Always keep in mind that if you take good care of your equipment, it will work wonderfully for you for a very long time.

…And that’s it! You’ve now learned how to clean a flat top grill. Nice and Shiny!

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