How To Clean a Traeger | Step-by-Step Guide

Whether for a summer evening party or camping site BBQ dinner prep, one trusted grill is the most used appliance. Continuous charring, smoking, grilling, braising and baking, can make the grill dirty and grimy. The grease and drips from the meat and food items tend to fall and stick to the inner and outer surface of the grill. Now simply cooking on a dirty grill is not only unhygienic and unhealthy but can also mar the taste of the perfectly grilled piece of meat. Therefore, one should pay attention to the grill's condition and learn how to clean a Traeger grill. This will help keep the cooking surface clean, make the grill more efficient, and increase the life of the trusted grill.

How Often One Should Clean a Traeger Grill

One may think that one needs to clean the grill too often, whether inside the grill or outside the grill. Well, that is not true. One may not need to clean the outside of the grill as often as one needs to clean the inside of the grill. It is crucial to keep in mind a certain timeline while cleaning the grills.

Cleaning too much can be abrasive and can lead to wear and tear that can shorten the life of the components. One should gap the cleaning time and make sure that only the best things are used to clean the grill. Using grill cleaning appropriate cleaners and wipes is necessary to lessen the abrasion and damage.

This is how often one should clean the Traeger grill and its components:

The Outside Body of the Grill

Duration: every three months

One should clean the outer body cover of the grill every three months to remove any gunk and grease stuck to it. Make sure to clean the body when the grill is cold. Use some soapy water and a clean rag to wipe the surface down.

Make sure to use car wax to give shine and resistance to the surface after the clean-up. One should make it a point not to use any cleaning pads or oven cleaner, as they can make the body lose its shine and quality.

Grease Drip

Duration: Three to six months

A grease that drips while one is cooking gets collected in the grease bucket. But then it falls on the greased plate, passes through the drain, and finally falls in the bucket. Having all that residual grease on the greased plate and the drain is not good for the grill's functioning.

Therefore, once every 3-6 months, one should clean the grease from the inside of the grill. Take a wooden spoon or anything non-metallic; scrape the grease near the greased plate and drain and inside the drain. Use tissues or soft cloth to remove the grease and wipe the area down. Do not use any moisture like cleaner or water for cleaning the grease.

Inside the Grill

Duration: whenever one cooks

Grates and the area where one cooks need the most cleaning. One should make it a point to clean the grates and the cooking surface as often as possible to remove all the grease from it. One should clean the grates after every cook. Wait till the grates are mildly warm so that the grease can come off easily. Take a grate cleaning brush and scrape the grease away.

After this:

  1. Let the grill get cool down completely.
  2. Remove the grates, heat baffle, and drip pan to clean the ash from the grill.
  3. Use a small vacuum cleaner that comes for these types of utility purposes.
  4. Clean the ash from the grill interior and the firepot. 

The Smokestack of the Grill

Duration: every six months

A smokestack is a place from where the smoke passes through. Now, it is not needed to clean the smokestack that often, and one can do this every six months easily. Clean the smokestack when the grill is cold, and do not use any water in the smokestack for cleaning.

Unscrew the chimney cap and use a scraper made of wood to scrape the stacks horizontally and vertically from all the stuck grime and grease. Now use a tissue or rag to clean the inside of the chimney stack.

Process of Cleaning Grill

Few easy steps that can help one to clean their Traeger grill are mentioned below:

Clean Out the Grease

Grease buildup in the grills is one of the major contributors to damaging them. The grills come with a drip tray or grease bucket that catches all the excess grease, which is good, but that does not mean it can be left there.

To clean the bucket:

  1. Please wait till the grease completely cools off so that one does not get hurt, and also because once the oil cools down, it is also easy to scrape it off.
  2. Empty it in a disposable cup or any other container that can be thrown away.
  3. Do not pour the grease into the sink or drain because it will damage the drainage pipes.

Once the bucket is empty, now it is time to clean it. It is better to use hot soapy water to wipe the bucket clean. For future use, line the bucket with aluminum foil to stay clean for the most part.

Cleaning the Grease Drain Pan

After cleaning the bucket, next the drip pan should be cleaned. Take the aluminium foil out of the pan and throw it away, but it does not end there. Underneath the foil, the pan surface also needs to be cleaned. Because if left unclean, the grease will eat away the metal.

The best time to clean or scrape any grease remaining is when it is still a bit warm. For safety reasons, make sure to clean the drain tube also from time to time.

Wiping the Exterior Clean

To clean the exterior, use such materials that would not harm the texture and body of the grill. One does not want to have scratches on their grill or any appliances. Thus best to avoid using any scouring pads or abrasive cleaners.

Use some soapy water with a cloth to wipe the surface clean and eliminate all the grime, grease splashes, and dirt.

Ridding the Firepot of the Ash

Once in a while, the ash collected in the firepot needs to be removed. This step does not require any wiping but vacuuming. Use any standard vacuum to clean the ash from different internal components of the grill, and do not forget to also clean around the firepot.

The best rule is to clean the ash after using the grill five times straight. Following this will help in preventing any grime buildup and ensure the longevity of the grill.

If one wants to use an appliance for a long, maintenance is very important. Sparing a few minutes after the fun barbecuing to clean the grill will keep it away from decaying and function more properly.

Why Clean the Grill

Cleaning a grill is the best way to give it a longer life. If this is not convincing enough, then maybe the benefits mentioned below will. The benefits are divided into three categories - grill care, health, and food quality.

Grill Care

  • Grease fire: the reason why one must clean the grease from the grates, drip pan, grease tube, and the bucket is to avoid any grease fire. The unexpected bursts of flames it not safe for the person grilling and their eyebrows. Degreasing also prevents damaging the metal.
  • Looking for damages: when one does proper cleaning after grilling, they find out about damages that are not easily visible. It does not feel good when everyone is excited to have a barbecue feast, and the grill does not work. Thus, stay vigilant about damages through timely cleaning.
  • Rust prevention: any metal appliance, when not timely cleaned, will start forming rust. And once the metal has rust, it is neither healthy nor sturdy. So, do not make the mistake of only cooking and no cleaning, especially cast iron grills. Get the full out of the investment by regular cleaning.
  • Scale: "scale" is a buildup of grease, carbon, soot, and all things that get left behind once the coking is done. And it is not a good thing, so one should avoid getting it into their food. With proper cleaning, such buildup, any other growing mould and bacteria can be kept at bay.

Health 

  • Mold: many may say that mold has no chance of growing on hot grease, but it can grow on the inner lid of the barbecue. It constantly gets coated in evaporated moisture, making the perfect living conditions for molds. Mold buildup may not seem life-threatening it can may one sick.
  • Bacteria and cross-contamination: leaving the unclean grill means there will be stuck on it for weeks or even months. Even without any bacteria formation, it sounds unsanitary. Bacteria and any cross-contamination of allergenic food will make the new food unhealthy and even result in someone having an anaphylactic shock.
  • Attracting pests: the delicious smell of nicely grilled food is enticing to humans and pests, rodents, and even insects. They may feats on the leftover grease and foods all night and leave their droppings and fur in the grill. When cooking, most of the contamination will burn off, but still, it is unsanitary to cook on the same surface where droppings were found without cleaning it. Instead of cleaning afterwards, do not let the vent happen and simply clean once the cooking is done.
  • Carcinogenic buildup: letting the grease buildup in the grill can lead to carcinogenic health risks. Because the constant heating and cooling down of the buildup absorbs CO2, which, if not cleaned, gets mixed with food and cause health issues. To fix this problem easily by simply picking up a brush and scrubbing the grills clean.

Food Quality and Taste

  • Food appearance: One of the best things about grilled food is the sear marks and the look of caramelized and juicy food. But if the grill is not clean and there is old grease covering the grills, then there is no sear mark, and in fact, the food will have burn bits off the grease sticking to it.
  • Food taste: Bacteria formation not only is unsanitary and unhealthy, but it also affects the taste of the food. Grease buildup and last cooks residual char, sauce, and another condiment ill chance the taste of the new food one is cooking.

How to Clean the Grates?

Before starting with the ways to clean grill grates, let's choose the right tools required for learning how to clean a Traeger.

Cleaning Tools

  • Nylon scrubbing pad: The scouring pad used in the kitchen can also scrub a grill grate clean. It does the work easily and quickly. But do remember not to use this scouring pad when cleaning the exterior body of the grill; it may leave scratch marks.
  • Aluminum foil: Take some aluminum foil, make a ball and use it as a scrubbing tool. Use a tong to hold it while scrubbing. This is a more sustainable method, as the foil used in cooking can be re-used for cleaning.
  • Onion: Using half an onion for cleaning sounds strange, but this vegetable's acidic enzyme helps break down the grease and clean it. Spear the vegetable on a barbecue fork with the cut side facing down and scrubbing the grates.
  • Grill stone: The grill stone is similar to a pumice stone. Rub this stone back and forth on the grill grates and then use water or a cloth to wipe the surface clean.

Cleaning the Grates

The cleaning can be done using four ways:

Hot, Soapy Water

Using hot, soapy water is a recommended cleaning way. Scrubbing the grates clean with hot soapy water will not only clean the grates but also sanitize them. The soapiness does the cleaning, and the hot water does the sanitizing.

  • Start with lightly scrubbing the grates.
  • Soak it in soapy water for around an hour and then rinse it clean.
  • Place the grates back on the grill. Shut the lid and start warming it up.
  • Once warm enough, use a brush to scrub any residuals off the grate.

Steam Clean

  • This cleaning method is always on the table. One will only require a silicone sponge and water.
  • Heat the grill to 600°F and turn it off.
  • Fill a tin, like a coffee can or large vegetable can, with water and place it on the grates.
  • Shut the lid and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Then, use the silicone sponge to loosen and scrub off the buildup.

Using Vinegar

  • Though many use the soapy water method, few use vinegar to get the job done.
  • Mix equal part vinegar with equal part water in a spray bottle. One can take two cups each as the measuring unit.
  • Spray the mix on the grill grates and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Next, use a grill brush to brush the grates clean. This method does not require any rinsing.

Burn Off

It is one of the most hands-free and easiest methods of cleaning the grates.

  • Once cooking on the grill is done, blast the grill at a high temperature. 
  • After 15 minutes, use a cleaning tool such as a brush to clean the grates one last time.

One's trusted grills go through a lot during those long BBQ sessions. There is continuous heat, grease, spices, and oil on the grates. Also, the residue sticks to the entire grill surface, which compromises the hygiene and taste of the food. One should clean the grates as often as possible. Also, clean the grease bucket, grease drain, firepot, chimney, and outer body every 3 to 6 months. Learning how to clean a Traeger will help in boosting the functioning of the grill, make it more fuel-efficient, and keep the cooking space healthy and germ-free.


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