One of the most common questions we get is how to clean porcelain coated grill grates, while instructions vary from manufacturer to manufacturer they are basically the same. I have been told that one grill manufacturers instructions calls for cleaning your grids with only soap and water, I believe that that is a little extreme.
(Legal disclaimer) Always follow your grills manufacturers instructions for cleaning your grills grates and ignore the paragraphs that follow.
The reason that grill grate are coated with porcelain is supposedly to make them easy to clean. I have found that this is not really the case. With the lower end grates found on inexpensive grills, the porcelain coating is just there to cover up poorly made cast iron. In the case of porcelain coated cast iron it will give you the cleanup of porcelain while providing the even heat of a cast iron grate. Untreated cast iron grates are rust prone and need to be oiled on a regular basis and the porcelain coating stops the need for that.
It has been our experience that the cheaper the grill the more likely the grates coating will damage easily.
Most manufactures recommend use of a brass bristled grill brush or a plastic scrubber type brush to clean porcelain coated grill grates , because they are softer. A lot of grill brush manufacturers are doing away with brass bristles and going to a stainless steel bristle, these will work just as well but they are stiffer then the brass. When softer bristles are recommended it is so you do not scratch or nick the porcelain coating.
You are better off trying to minimize the scrubbing and pressure you put onto your brush when scrubbing the grates. You can do this by cleaning your grates while they are hot, immediately after cooking is best, do not attempt this with a non-metallic scrubber brush it will melt. If you have a heavy accumulation of gunk (let’s say barbecue sauce on your grates) wet the grill brush before scrubbing or try some crumpled up tin foil .
Never use the scraper end of a grill bush on to clean porcelain coated grill grates
To prevent damage manufactures should but recommend the use of silicone coated grill tools with these grates. However silicone is only heat resistant up to 500 degrees and a decent grill nowadays will exceed 800, so they would melt rather quickly.
Here is the grill brush that complies with most manufacturers recommendations and that we have found to be the most effective at cleaning this type of grill grate. The spiral bristle design on this brush just seems to be more better then a flat brass brush head on the triangular surface of most porcelain grates. Here is a link to our new post with updated content.
In conclusion just try to be as gentle as possible on your grill grates and they will be fine.
If your grates have been damaged you can replace them with a stainless steel grate but, they are expensive. A cheaper option is to place a grill grid or sheet on top of them.
About the author: Mike is the owner of 4thegrill.com, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member.
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