The Common Kitchen Ingredient You'll Be Reaching For To Clean Your Flat Top Grill

Flat top grills can be a great addition to your kitchen appliance collection, especially if you enjoy cooking up a decadent breakfast with pancakes, sausage, and eggs. Flat top grills are unique in that they provide even heating to your food without having to deal with food getting caught in the rungs of a typical grill. 

That being said, these types of grills are important to clean well and properly in order to elongate their life and avoid contaminating food through harmful bacteria. Regularly cleaning this surface will help you maintain a safe cooking environment and help your food taste better as greasy or dirty grills can lead to uneven cooking or burning of your food. Moreover, dirty grills can also be a fire hazard as accumulated grease can easily catch fire, putting you and your home at risk. 

However, skip the soap and grab a bottle of your favorite oil with a high smoke point to keep your grill in tip-top shape. Using oil to clean your flat top grill is effective because it acts as a lubricant, loosening stubborn residue and making it easier to wipe away any debris. Additionally, the oil will create a protective barrier on the surface of your grill, preventing food from sticking, and essentially making future clean-ups easier as well. As added benefits, the oil will simultaneously season your grill, providing a richer flavor to your food while also helping to prevent rust or corrosion from forming along the surface.

How to clean your flat top grill

Cleaning a flat top grill is easy and may even defy your instincts as it does not require any soap or water. Ironically, the best way to clean the grill is to actually start while your food is still cooking. A flat top griddle is much easier to clean while the surface is still warm. Use a bench scraper to scrape down any food residue or grease from the surface into the grease trap, if your grill has one. If not, you can use your tool to scrape the grease and food to the side and then remove it with that tool or a paper towel or rag. Be sure to protect your hands with a heat-resistant glove.

Once you've moved the food residue and grease, use a clean towel or rag to wipe down any remaining grease from the surface. Again, it's important to protect your hands from the hot surface by wearing heat-proof gloves. Empty the grease trough and be sure to wipe that down as well as the sides and bottom of the grill as oil can easily leak into these spaces and contaminate them. 

Finally, it's time to re-season the grill with your favorite high smoke point oil. Rub a bit of this oil onto the surface of the grill using a clean towel or rag and then heat up the grill again so that the oil cures. Then be sure to allow the grill to cool before storing it.

Precautions for using this method to clean your grill

Cleaning a flat top grill is a relatively easy process once you get the hang of it. Nevertheless, when working with any appliance, it's important to consider a number of precautions to maintain your safety and prevent any burns or fires. 

When using oil on a hot surface, remember that it can become extremely hot and splatter. It's also essential to wear heat-resistant gloves, especially if your bench scraper is completely made of metal as it will also become hot once it comes in contact with the surface of your grill.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to choose an oil with a high smoking point when cleaning or seasoning your grill. Avocado, peanut, and canola oils all have high smoke points, but very different flavors, so choose the one that best aligns with your taste. Olive oil and sesame oil are both delicious yet have low smoking points and should definitely be avoided when cleaning flat top grills as they can burn and then leave behind an unpleasant flavor or sticky residue on the surface of your grill.

Finally, be sure to use the oil sparingly when cleaning and seasoning your flat top grill as excessive oil can pool and cause buildup. Moreover, it can also make handling the grill more difficult as oil is greasy, not to mention storing it becomes problematic. By following these tips, you can safely clean your flat top grill and ensure your food is delicious, too.