Fighting Mold in Your Smoker or Grill - Backyard Boss
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Fighting Mold in Your Smoker or Grill

If you enjoy grilling delicious food on your BBQ like most people, then you know how important it is to properly care for, clean, and maintain your most prized summertime tool. Over time, tar and excess grease can eventually build up along the bottom of your grill or smoker and make a nasty mess while attracting both bacteria and insects. But, by incorporating a few good housekeeping rules you can help keep your grill or smoker in top form.

Cleaning a Grimy BBQ Smoker

Smoked meat on the grill
Image Credits: Katerina Jerabkova on Unsplash

If you’ve cooked food a number of times in your smoker without giving it a good cleaning, then it’s likely you have a significant layer of nasty sludge and black mold covering the bottom of your BBQ pit. Don’t worry, there’s still hope. Although it’s a very messy task, you’ll need to clean out that caked-on sludge in order to get your smoker working efficiently again.

Mold loves grease and moisture. Therefore, every time you’re done cooking, it’s time to superheat your BBQ cooker and add more fresh coal if needed. It’s important to burn off every bit of residual food and scrape the grease off the inside using a plastic putty knife on a regular basis, especially if you don’t use it very often. After your cooker is clean, store it with the vents wide open and somewhere dry to prevent moisture from getting trapped inside the pit.

What Attracts Mold to Your BBQ Grill?

burgers on a grill
Image Credits: Maude Frédérique Lavoie on Unsplash

In addition to moisture and grease, one of the primary causes of mold build-up on your grill is its cover. The cover traps moisture that leads to mold as well as rust. If your smoker or grill is constructed of stainless steel or well-painted, it doesn’t actually need a cover. Cheaper or spray-painted units generally do require a cover, so they’ll need to be cleaned more thoroughly. Otherwise, leave your grill or cooker open so it can breathe.

Ceramic Grill and Mold

If your grill is made of ceramic and you find mold on it, do NOT do the following:

• Do not powerwash
• Do not use solvents or chlorine
• Do not use a wire brush or metal scraper

Basically, heat is your primary tool when it comes to cleaning a ceramic cooker.

How to Clean a Metal Smoker or Grill With Mold

A person cleaning the grill
Image Credits: BBQ Junkie on CreativeCommons
  1. Remove any ceramic briquettes, lava rocks, charcoal, or any other porous type materials.
  2. Fire up your grill or smoker as high as it will go in order to burn off all the mold and grease. Use twice the amount of charcoal. Keep in mind that if you try to powerwash or scrape it off first, you run the risk of breathing in harmful spores and still have a great deal of mold to deal with as well.
  3. Once your unit is cool, scrape off and scrub it thoroughly using a pressure washer or quality wire brush. Remove the unit’s parts and either pressure washes them or scrape them down. The only grease needed here is a bit of elbow grease.
  4. Use warm, soapy water to wash everything off and rinse well. Hot water will work well too!
  5. Last, fire up the unit again in order to thoroughly burn any remaining grease, mold, or soapy residue left behind.

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Finally, you’re ready to safely cook your favorite grilled or smoked foods.

BBQ Grill Maintenance

You should ideally give your grill a good cleaning once or twice a year, depending on how much you use it. This will require you to disassemble a few parts. First, disconnect the gas and take out the parts of your grill layer by layer. Once you reach your burners, thoroughly inspect them and make sure nothing is blocking the gas flow. A clogged burner will unevenly cook your food and result in a poor grilling experience. If you can’t clean it, then just replace it. If your BBQ grill uses ceramic briquettes or lava rocks, make sure that they’re not excessively covered with old cooked-on foods. Over time, it’s likely they’ll need to be replaced as well. Cleaning your grill is very important so don’t forget to keep your grill grate clean too!

To Wrap Up

Remember, a clean BBQ grill is a safe BBQ grill, not to mention it will extend its life as well. That’s why you have to keep it clean all year long. It’s highly important since the last thing you want to happen is getting sick or get allergic reactions. Also, while grilling on a clean grill you can elevate the taste of your food. If you don’t want to spend long hours scrubbing your grill, keep it clean between grill sessions – before and after grilling. Trust me, it will save you a lot of time later!