Summer is officially here! As we enter into prime pellet grilling season, we have tips for keeping your grill in great shape for many seasons to come. This guide to thoroughly cleaning your pellet grill of any brand will keep it running efficiently and effectively! Start with a cold grill, and give it a deep cleaning with these tips.
1) Remove and Clean Grill Grates
Hot soapy water should do the trick, but you may need a bit of elbow grease as well. If you find you really have to soak and scrape off any buildup, take this as a reminder to use a frogmat for any saucy or sticky foods! This grill grate cleaner will also help with everyday maintenance.
2) Check for any varmint that may have spent their winter hibernating in your grill
No, it’s not a joke – this has happened before! Check the firepot, smoker, and anywhere out of the elements that a mouse, chipmunk or squirrel may have called home.
3) Vacuum out your firepot and smoker using a Shopvac
This is very important! Get all the ash out that has collected over time with a thorough vacuuming. Cleaning these out will help with the efficiency of your pellet grill over time. The firepot should be regularly cleaned out. Give it a quick vacuum after any long cooks, or after 4-5 shorter cooks.
4) Clean the Grease Bucket
Scrape out any built up grease and dispose of it. Then wipe down the bucket. You can line the bucket with aluminum foil for easier clean up next time. With the foil liner, you can just pull it out of the bucket and give the bucket a quick wipe with a paper towel, then re-line for next time.
5) Inspect the Chimney
Is there a lot of soot built up? If so, you need to wipe it out with a soft cloth. If it’s super dirty, use a soft nylon brush to clean it out. Keeping the chimney clean is very important. If soot builds up, it could cause a fire! Having a dirty chimney will also make your pellet grill less efficient.
Don’t use water in the chimney. If you ever do, make sure the chimney is thoroughly dried before attempting to fire it up. You don’t want to introduce any water into your pellets!
6) Reassemble the Pellet Grill
Once everything has been cleaned, reassemble all the grill components. Fire up your grill on medium high heat (about 350-400 degrees) and let it burn off for about an hour. This is the same idea as a self-cleaning oven. You’re officially all cleaned up and ready for grilling now!
7) Keep the Grill Covered
Best practice is to keep it covered at all times it isn’t in use. However it is necessary to have it covered during any inclement weather such as rain or hail. Water is not your pellet grill’s friend! If any moisture gets to the pellets, they will swell up. This can cause big problems with your pellet grill, and is easily avoided by just keeping it covered.
8) Properly Store your 100% Hardwood Cookinpellets
Pellets must be stored off the ground in a dry place. An inexpensive and simple solution is to purchase some 5 gallon buckets with lids from your local hardware store. Small enough to keep multiple flavors on hand, and the lid seals to keep out any moisture. Usually you can find these for about $2.99 so grab several!
9) Label your Cookinpellets
Don’t get your favorite flavors mixed up! Once you fill the bucket, label it so you don’t have to go opening and closing everything to try to figure out where your Perfect Mix or Black Cherry went. Once you fill the hopper, you also want to keep track of which pellets you put in! Hopper magnets are easy solutions to this issue. Purchase a set or two of hopper magnets and slap the right one on the hopper each time you fill it.
10) Monitor your Cookinpellets Stock
There is no greater tragedy than running out of pellets during a long smoke!! Check that you have all your favorite flavors on hand, and enough of them. Bulk orders of Cookinpellets include the price of shipping, and you can mix and match pellet flavors and get a couple of each! Plan for 100% Hickory for those traditional smokes, Apple Mash for Pork and Chicken, 100% Black Cherry for lighter smokes, and Perfect Mix for anything and everything!
This maintenance routine should be performed at the beginning of the season, and a couple other times throughout the year. Cheers to another summer of pellet grilling and many more years with your clean pellet grill!