Let’s get one thing out of the way first. No, dirty grill grates with leftover grime do not “add flavor”. It is a myth and you should always clean your grill grates for better handling, taste, and longevity of your grill. Especially for something as expensive as a Traeger Grill, please do your due diligence and clean it after every couple of uses.
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But how to clean Traeger grill grates exactly? Worry not as I have brought you the five exclusive methods so that you can use simple household objects to clean that fancy grill. Let’s dive in
How To Clean Traeger Grill Grates After Use
I understand it is difficult to clean your grill every time you use it. Especially after a long enjoyable day of flipping burgers with our friends in the backyard, we all want to fall back to our couch.
However, with a bit of know-how, it does not really have to be difficult. You most likely already have all the things needed and the basics are mostly the same for all the methods. It’s just a matter of actually getting your hands dirty.
Cleaning Traeger Grill Grates With Onion
This method utilizes a vegetable that everyone is sure to have in their pantry. Onions are filled with natural compounds that break down fats and grimes to keep your grill grates squeaky. Other than that you don’t need much else except your grilling fork and a clean-dry rug.
Here’s how it is done-
- Keep the gas on after the grilling session.
- If you already turned the flames off, turn them back on and keep the grill covered for 10-15 minutes.
- Cut a white onion in half (with the skin on) and put some rock salt on the face.
- Stick it to your grilling fork.
- Scrub the grates down with the onion from a distance. Be sure to use the juicy side of the onion.
- If food is stuck between grills, cut thin slices of white onions and scrape them down.
- Turn off the flames and let the grates cool down.
- Once cool to the touch, wipe them down with a clean rug.
- Throw the used onions into your coal bag.
Onions work so well due to them being filled with acids that cut down the fat and emulsify them. At the same time, the moisture of the onion will vaporize to give a pseudo steam cleaning effect.
The coarse salt just helps in getting a better grip. This method has virtually no downsides and as an added bonus, the used onion you threw in the bag of coals will give extra flavor (unlike grimes) to your next bbq.
You Can Clean Your Traeger Grill Grates With Vinegar
Although not as simple and easy as the onion method, vinegar also works well in cleaning grill grates. You will need a few more things like a spray bottle, and a good quality metal brush but the results will speak for themselves.
The method is as follows-
- Take a 60/40 mixture of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Let your grill cool down until it is warm but not fully cool to the touch.
- Spray the mixture generously all over the grill grates.
- Be a bit more generous on the places that seem to have more food stuck to them.
- Wait for 5-10 mins or until the grates cool down fully.
- Use a metal brush to gently clean the entire surface until there is no more residue stuck.
- Don’t forget to work at an angle to get fat off the sides.
- Flip the grates over and repeat the process for the backside.
- Wipe the entire thing down with a clean damp washcloth.
The main advantage vinegar offers over an onion is that it can be done a lot quicker and in a pinch. You can even pre-make the spray mixture before the BBQ for easy cleanup afterward.
Having said that, some fancy Traeger grills with porcelain grates will not react well to vinegar.
So ensure your grates are made of aluminum or stainless steel before following this method.
How To Clean This Grill Grates With Lemon
The last two methods work because both Vinegar and onion are filled with mild acids. You know what else is like that and you can find it easily in your pantry?
Lemon. So you can easily understand why it works just as well. You can replace vinegar with lemon juice as it does the same thing we did in the last two methods. But where is the fun in that?
Here is a different but just as simple process:
- Crank your grill all the way to high and close the lid.
- Let it run for around 20 mins for all the residual food to be burnt to crisp.
- Turn off the grill and let it cool down.
- Cut a lemon in half and press the face in rock salt or regular table salt.
- Use your hands to scrub and scrape the grates.
- Don’t apply too much force, let the acid and salt do their jobs.
- Do this for 5-10 minutes depending on the size of your grill grates.
- After you are done take a nylon or metal brush and gently rub down the grates to get all the little pieces of food off.
- Take a wet or damp clean rug and clean the grates.
This method definitely requires more elbow grease and a bit more time but it is well worth it. Just don’t scrape too hard if your grates are porcelain and they will be shiny new in no time.
Not only that, if the other two methods are a bit too “gross” for you, lemon is perfect. It will not only thoroughly clean the grates but leave you with a beautiful citrusy smell.
Clean Traeger Grill Grates With Aluminum Foil
This one is for all of you who do not have a nylon, metal, or grill brush around the house. A crumped-up aluminum foil ball will have seventy to eighty percent of the abrasive force necessary to thoroughly clean grill grates clogged up with disgusting fat or grime.
You can also just use a ball of aluminum foil in lieu of brushes in any of our other methods. But the following method works best for when you want to quickly get rid of the leftovers from your last bbq before doing another.
Here is how to incorporate aluminum foil into cleaning your Traeger Grill Grates:
- Start with cool grill grates
- Cover the entire grates with a big piece of aluminum foil
- Cover the grill up with the lid
- Turn on the heat and put it on high
- Let it run for 5 mins
- Take off the lid and remove the foil sheet
- Make a ball out of a piece of aluminum foil
- Use a pair of tongs to hold the ball and scrape it all over the grates
- Do as fine of a job as you can
- Rub it down with a rug once the grates cooled down
Fair warning, this method will not get all of the gunk out if you did not clean your grills in a while. Aluminum foil can only be a temporary substitute for nylon brushes and they do not do as good of a job. But in a pinch before a grilling session, you can do much worse.
If you have to employ this method we do recommend investing in a good quality grill brush for the future.
How to Clean Traeger Grill Grates With Vinegar and Baking Soda
All the methods we discussed previously were based on the assumption that you clean your grill fairly often. If, however, the grates have a cleaning long overdue, you should follow this method.
Unlike the others, this is all about deep cleaning the grates to get months old soot and gunk out. As for equipment, you will need a big container or garbage bag and rubber ties, the aforementioned vinegar and baking soda, a grill brush, and a clean washcloth.
Here is the process-
- Use disposable gloves throughout this whole process.
- Let your grill fully cool down. Take out the grates.
- Give the grates a quick rubdown with a dry washcloth.
- Mix 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar.
- Put the mixture in an appropriately sized plastic container or garbage bag.
- Soak the grates fully in the mixture.
- If you are using a plastic container, cover and seal it up with the lid.
- In the case of a garbage bag, use a rubber band to seal it tightly.
- Let the grates soak overnight or at least 6-8 hours.
- After soaking time is over, get the grates out and dispose of the liquid.
- Most of the residue should come out automatically but just to be sure give them a good scrape with a grill brush.
- Rinse them in cold or room temperature water until it looks clean.
- Let it dry. If you are in a hurry you can use a kitchen towel or a rug to pat dry.
Obviously, this method is meant to deep clean your Traeger grill grates and so it requires the most time. But we are willing to argue that it takes less effort as the neutralization reaction from the soda and vinegar takes the hard work off scraping.
Either way, you can do this the night before your big BBQ event to have the freshest results. After all, BBQs always taste better from freshly cleaned grill grates.
How To Clean Traeger Grill Grates Before Cooking
If you maintain good hygiene after you grill or cook using a grill, 80% of the job is done for you. Even then, it is always good practice to do a quick cleaning session before you grill.
It is not difficult at all and you can do the whole process in just 5-10 minutes of time. We will also touch on cleaning other parts of the grill and not just grates here.
Here’s what to do-
- Put on a pair of gloves.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to thoroughly vacuum your grill. This will get rid of old residues, ash, or coal dust.
- Use any of the above methods to clean the grates if needed or just wipe them down with a clean rug.
- Remove the drip tray.
- Empty out the contents along with the aluminum foil covering.
- Remove the heat baffle ( you will find this directly below the drip tray).
- The heat baffle will most probably have an ash covering it so dust it out as necessary.
- Wrap the drip tray with brand new aluminum foil and put it back in.
- Reseat the heat baffle.
- Use a cheesecloth or paper towel and soak it in a neutral flavor oil (grapeseed or vegetable) and give the grates a quick rub.
- Turn your grill on and set it to high. This process will season the grates so that your food does not get stuck. Let the grill cool down.
That’s it! It is all you need to do to prepare for a BBQ or grilling session. We do recommend quickly cleaning the whole grill as it’s not just the grates that can contaminate your meat or veggies with old leftovers and better to be safe than sorry.
How Often To Clean Traeger Grill Grates
The answer here solely depends on how often the grill gets used. But either way, you can follow any of the quick cleaning methods after every 2 or 3 cooking sessions. For deep cleaning the grates and the interior as well as the exterior of the grill we recommend once every two to three months depending on your use.
If grilling regularly is your thing, it does not get any better than Traeger. Their fancy pellet grills are state of the art and will provide you with an experience unlike any.
But the more you use your grill the dirtier it gets. So it is always handy to know exactly how to clean Traeger grill grates. Hopefully, after this article, you won’t ever have to deal with dirty grates again!!