Charcoal Grill Maintenance

I know my last post was geared to all those gas grill lovers out there, but fret not my charcoal friends. I haven't forgotten about you. Grill cleaning and maintenance is just as important for charcoal grills as they are for gas, and now is the perfect time to learn the ropes. After all, year-round grilling brings great flavor to every season, but there are some particularly great grilling days coming up soon as the holidays approach.

Every griller knows how much families and friends look forward to this time of the year. Nothing beats gathering everyone together to enjoy a bold, delicious grilled meal. So in order to get your Weber charcoal grill ready for these important events, follow this simple checklist to ensure it's in perfect working order to fire up the most festive of feasts.

  • The inside of our lids are coated with baked-on porcelain enamel that cannot peel, but occasionally you may see some small pieces of debris that look like paint. Don't worry though. These are not paint of any kind. They're actually deposits of grease and smoke that collect during normal use. They are non-toxic and can be easily removed by brushing them away with a stainless steel brush before you start grilling. To prevent future build-up, wipe with paper towels or a mild soap-and-water solution after every grilling session. Make sure the grill is warm, not hot, when you do so.
  • Cleaning the inside of the bowl can be done in just two quick steps. First, use the One-Touch® system to clean excess debris and ash out of the kettle bowl. And second, clean any leftover residue with a mild dish soap and steel wool pad—for best results, make sure you have both, not just one or the other.
  • Your cooking grates can be cleaned very easily before grilling is done. Before cooking, preheat the grill by opening all the vents and keeping the grill at a high temperature for 10­–15 minutes. Then use a stainless steel bristle brush to remove any excess debris left on the grates. This is important because any residue left on the cooking grate could cause food to stick during future grilling.
  • With the charcoal grill cool to the touch, use a mild detergent soap or glass cleaner to wipe down the lid and the bowl. This will eliminate any excess debris and will help bring back your grill's original spotless liquid glass shine.
  • Last, clean out the ash catcher and you are all done.

Really, a little cleaning can go a long way in keeping your charcoal grill at its best. So follow these 5 simple steps and you're sure to have a very happy grilling holiday—not to mention tasty grilled meals every other day of the year.

What are your thoughts? (15)

10.27.14

Gary R

Hello Kevin,

I appreciate the cleaning tips. I know that after each session we should use the one touch cleaning system to get rid of the ash but my question is how often should I clean the inside of the bowl with mild soap and steel wool pad? I am in Florida so everyday is grilling season, lol. Every 4 uses? Once a month? I just purchased my grill on Oct 1 of this year and still haven't cleaned yet aside from outside and emptying the ash catcher. Your advice would be appreciated.

10.26.14

Kevin Kolman

Hello Gary,
Congratulations on the new Weber grill! It is great to hear you ask about cleaning since so many people forget about this important process. A clean grill can be directly correlated to great grilling performance, so great job! I would recommend keeping the bowl clean of ash with the One-Touch System after each time you grill. Once a quarter, take the grates out and give the bowl a good cleaning with soap and water. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

08.29.14

Anthony M

I've recently bought a Master-Touch kettle barbecue (UK) and am getting along really well with it. Normal grilling is great and smoking ribs is something I am getting to grips with, although I'm finding it difficult to get my local butchers to understand what the different rib cuts are. If you ask for ribs over here you seem to get spare ribs, where a large proportion of what you get is pork belly, however showing them pictures of the various cuts found on the web is helping.
My main question is about cleaning the grill grates, most images I've seen of Weber grills in action show the grill grate as being black with the cleaning process seeming to involve using a steel brush to remove food debris. I have only had the kettle for a few weeks and have cleaned the grill back to shiny chrome every time I use it, am I over cleaning it? I ask this particularly as I seem to be rubbing the chrome off. I only use non metal abrasive pads (scotch-brite scouring pads) and am seeing coppery coloured patches appearing after 3 cleans. Am I in fact rubbing the chrome off? I find it hard to believe but what else could it be - I thought the chrome plating on these grill grates was of the highest quality.
I would appreciate some advice on this.
Regards
Anthony

08.29.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi Anthony,

First, congratulations on the Master-Touch purchase. Enjoy the great grilling experiences it will provide. Now, to answer your question. The grates are plated and should not be rusting. You should only use a stainless steel grill brush to clean your grates each and every time. The scouring pad could be causing some of the issue, but it’s not for certain. Please contact Weber Customer Service for further assistance and to see about getting it replaced. Keep us posted.

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

01.18.14

steve s

Met you at TAMU brisket camp and subsequently bought 18 inch smokey mountain. First attempt at chicken-looked great, taste was not memorable. Ribs looked and tasted great. Brisket cooked for 8 hours,hickory blocks and briquettes, wrapped at 160 and rested after 190 for an hour. Bark looked great, although not too thick, minimal smoke ring and lacked juiciness. I would grade it a B-. Seasoned with salt and pepper and spayed with 50/50 water and Lea and Perrin before wrapping. Any suggestions to improve juiciness and smoke ring.

01.18.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi Stephen,

It’s good to hear from you again. A suggestion regarding the smoke ring…the colder the meat, the more smoke will adhere. If you are looking for that reaction, then try taking the brisket out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to smoking it. Also, is possible that the brisket was just a little sub par? That can happen with brisket. One thing I would do is make sure you let it rest for at least 2-3 hours after its done. This will help keep it moist and tender. Keep me posted.

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

07.12.13

Charlie L

Hi Kevin, I have a Weber Q320. I’m not sure if this is normal or not, but I notice that the flames on the left side of the burner tubes, where the inner burner and the outter burner meet, are higher than the right side (opposite side). I tried cleaning and brushing the tubes but results are the same. Is this normal? Do I have a clog somewhere? The rest of the grill seems to be pretty even except that one area. The grill preheats up to temperature with no issue. I just don't want any uneven hot spots. Thanks in advance!

06.13.13

Ben D

How do you go about cleaning a charcoal grill without the one touch system? All mine has is an ash catcher. Is there a way to remove the ash while keeping the remaining partially burnt coals?

01.21.13

Jarrod S

Hi Kevin,


Regarding cleaning the charcoal grill grate, you mention brushing all the debris off of it, however is it important to remove all marks, i.e. blackening, to maintain the silver color? If so, what is the best tool for this, as the bristle brush doesn't cut it. I have a new Weber and was determined not to let the grate go black all over like every backyard Weber I've previously seen! However I am struggling to clean these burnt in marks.


Your advice would be much appreciated.

01.20.13

Kevin Kolman

Hi Sedginald,
Keeping your grates clean and maintained is always good practice. The best way to go about this is to brush them with a stainless steel grill brush. This should always be done after the grill has been preheated. If you notice excess build-up, such as blackening or discoloration, try cleaning them using a scouring pad with mild dish soap and warm water. Remember to take your grates out of your grill if you are going to do this so water does not accumulate in the bottom of your grill. Check out our video regarding how to clean and maintain your charcoal grill here:



http://www.weber.com/blog/single/spring-grill-cleaning



Keep up all the great work when it comes to keeping your grates clean, and let me know if you have any other questions.



Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

09.27.12

Michael S

Is the work table on the Performer fire resistant? Can hot pans be placed on it?

09.27.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi Fiatster,

Great question you have here! It is not fire resistant, so I recommend staying away from putting anything hot on the table without a pot holder or pad. Great question and always happy grilling!!

-Kevin

08.06.12

George D



A friend just gave me an older Performer grill so I am cleaning it up and replacing a few parts to make it look better. Is there a way to polish the plasitc "granite" work table surface? Mine is faded and a little porus (not very smooth, grease stains it easily). Can you sand it or use steel wool to get the finish back?



08.06.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi GHD,

Well congrats on the great gift from your friend. The nice thing about Weber grills is that they last forever. The best way to polish or clean the table is to use a soft detergent soap or mineral oil on the table. Just make sure you rinse the table clean afterwards. I have used both of these techniques to help remove minor scratches and grease stains, along with restoring some of the color. If that doesn't work please feel free to give our customer service a call at 1-800-446-1071. Hope this helps and Happy Grilling!!

-Kevin

07.19.12

Raymond D

Hi Kevin, I'm ashamed to say that I have never really cleaned my One-Touch Silver charcoal grill. After nearly five years I am determined to return it to it's proper condition. Do you recommend anything for some serious deep cleaning? Thanks in advance!

07.19.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi Soup76,


Do not be ashamed, I promise your secret is safe with me. More importantly, let's work together to get your kettle back to looking and performing like new. First, take a look at the following link: http://www.weber.com/blog/single/spring-grill-cleaning . This will provide a step-by-step process on how to give your kettle a deep clean. Please review the video and if you have any further questions on cleaning, maintaining, or anything else grill related, let me know. Happy cleaning and happy grilling!!
-Kevin

06.30.12

Carol S

I've enjoyed every second of my Performer that my husband bought me about 5 years ago. I do have to use a lighter to get the starter to fire. That's not a problem for me. Not using a lighter to bbq feels a little wimpy. I might have to break a piggy bank and get one of the nicely colored newer models depending on your answer to my question. My question is about the cooking grate - I clean mine before every grilling with dish soap, a brillo and hot water. I haven't read anywhere that I'm supposed to do that. Your advice here says to just brush off the excess. There's still some caked on juices in spots and some spots show the silver turned orange. At what point, are the grates unusable- when the excess debris can not be removed; when the grates get an orange, rust color; or both?

06.30.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi Ccsavage:Wow, you have a great husband!! I can definitely tell from your question that you are passionate about grilling. Keep it up!! If you want to clean your cooking grates with a mild dish soap and sponge every time you can but you might be overdoing it a little. Also depending on the Brillo pad you could be adding to the issues. First, always preheat your grill for at least 10-15 minutes lid closed, vents open. Then brush the grates clean with a Weber stainless steel wire brush. Second, oil the food not the grates. This helps prevent food from sticking to the grates which causes extra clean up. If you are noticing surface rust it's time to turn that grate in and get a new one. I would not say its time for a new grill (but we can always use an extra or two) just time to replace the grate.Keep up all of the great work and always Happy Grilling!!! -Kevin