How To Clean And Maintain A Pellet Grill

Pellet grills can become overly crusted with carbonized grease, soot, spills, creosote and tar among other soot by products and while some people consider this good seasoning for your barbeque, it actually isn’t. When the accumulated crusts start to flake off your food, then you know the grill requires some major cleaning. However, you should not wait until that stage to clean your pellet grill. Simple cleaning and maintenance between each cook can go a long way in improving hygiene and barbeque taste as well as increasing the lifespan of your grill. It is also recommendable to conduct a major cleaning after every 50 hours of cooking which translates to once every several months if you do not use your grill often enough. Here are a few tips on how to clean and maintain a pellet grill including things to watch out for:

Cleaning between each cook

A simple cleaning procedure done after using your pellet grill should not hurt as it takes only a few minutes to complete. You can also choose to do it before the next cook. Some pellet grills come with a knob that can be turned to empty the contents of the burn (ashes and residue) to the cup. This should be done before you fire up the grill. Besides emptying the burn cup, you should also perform the following;
• Wipe away any food residue or grease spots from the side shelf or lid
• Use a wire grill brush to scrape down the grates. You can use a spatula instead of a wire grill.
These simple cleaning procedures will help you prevent burnt food taste from affecting your fresh cook. They will also reduce the effort spent during deeper cleaning.

Occasional cleaning

As aforementioned, you should deep clean your grill after approximately 50 hours of use. Depending on how often you use the grill, this could be anything from several days to several months. Commercial grills definitely need to be cleaned more often as they are used almost every day. Follow these steps on how to clean and maintain a pellet grill exterior and interior.
1. Make sure the grill is cold before you start cleaning. Turn the power source off and let it cool preferably for 24 hours. 
2. Empty you pellet hoper so it does not get wet then fill up a wide bucket with water and dish soap.
3. Place the chimney dome and grill rack in the bucket. Remove any foil and scrape/brush off any debris from the drip pan. You can also add the drip pan if it is particularly dirty. Empty the grease bucket and add it to the bucket containing water and dish soap.
4. Use a scrub and brush to remove any debris and spots from the parts in the bucket. You can use wire brush provided the parts are not made of plastic. For best results, you should let the parts soak in for about 2minutes before you start brushing off the dirt.
5. For other exterior surfaces that cannot be detached from the grill, simply spray the cleaner and let it settle for 5 seconds to break down grease and spills. Use a rug or paper towel to wipe off any smoke stains. It is advisable to wipe with the grain or in circles to avoid smearing the dirt on other surfaces.
6. If the first attempt leaves some spots and debris, repeat the whole process for better results and then air to dry before using.
1. Keep the interior of your grill dry as the electronics inside are very delicate and the pellets may disintegrate if exposed to moisture. 
2. Although the cooking grate, racks, heat diffuser plate and drip tray are components of the interior section, they can be detached and cleaned alongside the exterior in the steps mentioned above. Take keen note of how the parts are installed or arranged so you can re-install them correctly.
3. Using a shop-type wet/dry vacuum cleaner, vacuum the interior of the grill to remove any loose debris and residue. The holes appearing on the side of the firepot should remain clear after vacuuming. 
4. Use a rag sprayed with cleanser to wipe the interior of the smoker and temperature probe. If you note places with grease buildup, use a flat edge tool to dislodge the grime away. 
5. You can dip a rag in hot soapy water to clean the interior sides of the smoker. This should be a rag you are not attached to (it will be impossible to clean afterwards. 
6. Rinse everything thoroughly and leave them outside to dry. Remember not to rinse electronic parts directly. They should only be wiped with a barely damp cloth. 
7. You can cover your dip tray and diffuser plate with aluminum foil for an easy time cleaning next time.


Maintaining a pellet grill

Cleaning is one form of maintenance, but it is still important to learn how to clean and maintain your pellet grill separately. To maintain your grill, turn it on and off using the instructions provided by the manufacturer and consult these manuals whenever you forget anything. Allow the smoker to run a few more minutes (up to 10) after the last cook and then use a brass-bristled brush to remove any debris from the grill grate. Remove the grill bucket at keep it away from animal reach; rodents like raccoons are always attracted by the smell of grease. Use a damp rag to wipe the outside of the smoker after each cook and replace drip pan foils after the smoker has cooled (the next day). It is also important to regularly inspect your pellet grill for peeling paint, difficult joints and rust. When you notice such issues, fix them immediately.
Deep cleaning is only required a few times every year unless the grill is used for commercial purposes. It is the simple cleaning sessions done after each cook that contribute to maintenance and ensure your grill remain in good shape. The main cleaning procedure should restore your grill to a more desirable state without the accumulation of debris and spills. It is advisable to find the right tools used for cleaning a pellet grill so you can easily brush off any dirt before and after each cook. More importantly, you should follow your manufacturer instructions on dissembling and cleaning the pellet grill to prevent accidental damages. 
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