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How To Clean A Flat Top Grill | 7 Things To Know

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How to clean a flat top grill

If you want to cook the best food possible on your flat top grill, you need to take care of your equipment. A dirty cooking surface can ruin that great plan you had for dinner, whether it’s covered in rust or peppered with burnt remnants of previous meals.

You want the best flavors possible, so you want to keep that cooking surface clean for the next time you fire up your flat top grill for a pancake breakfast.

How to clean a flat top grill with rust

One of the worst feelings when it comes to owning a flat top grill is discovering that the cooking surface is no longer that beautiful dark brown, almost black, nonstick surface, but instead is a rust-red mess. However, if you find rust on your flat top grill, there is no need to panic. You will need to put some effort into reclaiming the cooking surface, but you will have most of the tools you will need if not all. The most uncommon tool you will need is a grill stone, typically made from pumice. If you do not have that, you may have wet-or-dry sandpaper. 

Rust is a surface problem, and the first step is heating your flat top on medium-high to high. You will be working on a hot surface, so make sure you have protective gloves that will keep your hands safe while you clean your grill. After you have heated the grill for 15-30 minutes depending on how much rust you have, turn the burners off and let the flat top cool down. The heating process loosens the rust so you can move to the next step and scrape the rust off with a metal scraper. You will need to keep scraping until you do not see any more rust left on the flat top. 

After all the rust is gone, you will add enough oil to cover your flat top in a thin layer, then scrub the entire surface with a grill stone or wet-or-dry sandpaper. Once you have scrubbed the entire surface, wipe it down with a paper towel. You will then oil and wipe down the surface until there is no rust or metal debris left. 

Once the surface is clean, you will need to season the flat top again by heating and oiling the surface back to that deep brown nonstick surface. Once you have gotten that color back, you will be ready to cook again!

How to clean a flat top grill after cooking

Just like with any grill, the easiest time to clean a cooking surface is just after cooking while the surface is still warm. You will take your metal griddle scraper and scrape off any food particles or standing grease. Then spray some warm water across the flat top and wipe it up to free any food particles that prove to be stuck on it.

Repeat this process a few times to ensure you have completely cleaned the flat top. The final step will be turning the flat top back on and re-seasoning the surface with a small amount of oil to ensure the nonstick surface will be ready to go for the next time you want to cook a meal.

How to clean a flat top grill with ice

Some people may think of using ice to help clean their flat top grill because water can help steam food off the cooking surface. However, you never want to use cold water or ice during the cleaning procedure.

You are cleaning while the flat top is still warm, and introducing a drastic temperature shift can cause your flat top to warp or crack. No amount of cleaning will fix that problem, and the whole point of cleaning your flat top grill is to protect your investment, not irreparably damage it. 

How to clean a flat top grill without chemicals

You could conceivably use dishwashing liquid and warm water to clean the flat top grill. You use it to clean your dishes all the time, and it certainly can help clean up lingering grease. You do need to rinse the cooking surface thoroughly to ensure no soap remains and then dry it before re-seasoning the flat top.

You could even use grill cleaners to help clean the surface. However, you likely want to avoid chemicals since you are cooking food on this surface. You want to look at using a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and warm water to help with stubborn food particles for an all-natural alternative.

How to clean a flat top grill with lemon juice

If you cannot stand the smell of vinegar, there is still another alternative. Lemon juice mixed at a ration from two-to-three parts warm water to one part lemon juice can take advantage of the acidic properties of the lemon to break down stubborn grease and food.

Final Thoughts

When you cook on your flat top grill, you want to be able to focus on creating the best flavors for your meal. You do not want to be confronted with old cooked-on food or rust. Taking the time to protect your grill with a cover or cleaning the surface after cooking will make your cooking time much easier and enjoyable.