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? (19)


Gene R

I have a 22" Silver that I bought several years ago. The ash remover has been replaced once, however it is now rusted tight and cannot be removed to put in a new unit. Any suggestions?


Steven K

This is a great article! What do you think of a grill cover in a climate like Seattle? I recently purchased a performer deluxe and want to protect it! I've heard that in humid/damp environments the cover can cause rust since the grill won't dry out.


Kevin Kolman

Thanks for the feedback!! If its a Weber cover then yes I would get one. Our covers do a great job protecting and keeping your grill looking grate!! Although I understand your reservations, don’t worry, it has been tested, retested and is the best way to spend more time grilling instead of cleaning! Hope this helps and if you have any other questions please let us know here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!!


June W

I have a Weber kettle (new last year) and I like to clean it the same way I clean the oven on my stove. I put some ammonia in a glass bowl and set it on the cooking grate. Let it sit for a few hours, and the grease and residue literally can be wiped off with a paper towel. Saves a lot of scrubbing and messy clean up.


Kevin Kolman

A very innovative way of cleaning your kettle! I am going to have to try this method. If you can maybe share some pics on Kevin’s Backyard either Facebook or Twitter. Would love to see the before and after if you have them. Thanks for sharing the cleaning tip and always Happy Grilling!


Paul I


I recently purchased the Weber Performer Silver and love it! I have used it twice now. However, after the first time I used it, it seemed to have built up a sticky residue around the lid. This has now made it difficult to move the top air vent open and closed as it sticks, and also the lid now sticks when I go to take it off. Both times I have used it I have slow smoked poultry using apple wood chips and lump charcoal. Would you have any idea what caused this, and also the best way to clean this sticky residue?




Kevin Kolman

Hi Paul,

Congratulations on the new Weber Performer! Don’t worry about the residue. It likely consists of smoke and leftover moisture. The best way to clean it is to use the Weber Grate Cleaner. This does a great job of breaking it down and removing it. If you cannot get your hands on that, warm soapy water with a mild dish detergent will do the trick.

Happy Grilling!


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.


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!


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.


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!


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.


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!


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!


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?


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.


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:

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!


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