Photo credit: Jeff Siepman
There’s nothing like a hot meal after a day in the wilderness. If you are camping, rather than backpacking, chances are you might want something a little more satisfying than a freeze-dried meal from a packet: maybe some steaks, salmon, corn or peppers grilled on your camping stove. The downside, of course, is that the grill must be cleaned afterward. Here are a few tips to make cleaning as efficiently and painlessly as possible.
Alternatives to aluminum
Before we start talking about how you can get that grease coated grill shining again like the day you brought it home, let’s talk about how to avoid it getting dirty in the first place. With some foresight and planning, you’ll be able to avoid having to worry about cleaning up to begin with. While many people use aluminum foil as a buffer to help prevent juices and other residues from dripping into the grill, other alternatives are becoming more popular. As this article points out, vegetables can be grilled in a basket and meats can be grilled on a plank. Alternatives to aluminum can result in food that is tastier and healthier, and because tools such as planks and baskets can be used multiple times, they don’t result in trash.
Clean your grill immediately after it cools down
The most opportune time to clean your grill is as soon as it cools down, maybe even a little before. It may be tempting to hit it with cold water while it’s still hot to help remove the grime, you’ll risk warping your grate so wait until it’s cool. Once it is you’re going to want to immediately hit it with a grill brush to get the worst of it off before setting it to soak in a pan of soapy water. You’ll finish up by scrubbing it with a grill brush later that evening or the next day.
Remember to season your grill after every few cookouts or every deep cleaning. This article recommends olive oil or coconut oil.
What if the grate is already dirty?
Let’s say Cousin Eddie borrows your camping grill and returns it to you in less than pristine shape. Or what if you yourself get a little bit lazy when it comes to cleaning the grill? As this article about using public grills (yes, public grills) points out, “Fire and heat do an amazing job of burning off any germs or bacteria that might be on the grill.”
Bear-safe grilling and grill cleaning
Even with these tips, cleaning the grill might not be the most fun part of your camping experience. However, if you (or any of your fellow campers) need more motivation, consider that the smell of left over food might attract bears. As this article suggests, “Don’t give bears a reason to linger around campsites!”
Whether you’re trying to care for the grill at your house or your favorite grill for camping these tips and tricks will help you keep it clean and in good repair for years to come. We’re sure this guide on how to clean a grill will work for you!