Why Oil is Essential for Cleaning a Flat Top Grill

Flat top grills are fun and versatile for backyard cooking, but with great food comes a little responsibility. Cleaning your flat top grill is crucial if you want it to last. Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward if you do it right, but it does take some know-how — in this case, knowing how to use oil to clean your flat top grill.

Your primary enemies when keeping your flat top grill clean are remnants from your previous cookouts along with rust. Oil helps with both of them. Let’s say you had a nice big cookout with your family and friends. You made burgers, grilled some asparagus, the whole nine yards. If you take a look at your grill, you’ll notice that, despite its non-stick surface, some bits and chunks of food have been left behind. You could simply spray some water and scrape off the debris. However, since you cooked the food with oil, and the grill is seasoned with oil, you’ll get a better result if you use oil to lubricate the bits of leftover food, too.

As for the rust, that’s where the seasoning comes in. You season your grill by applying a coat of oil to the surface. Rust is the product of a chemical reaction that occurs when water gets on the grill’s metallic surface. As you may have heard, oil and water don’t mix. If you’ve seasoned your grill properly, the oil will keep it rust-free by keeping moisture away.

How to clean your flat top grill

flat top grill with shrimp

First things first, you’ll need to get the right cleaning supplies for the job. A metal scraper and a grill stone are your best friends. A grill stone, sometimes called a grill brick, is a porous piece of pumice that is great at cleaning grill tops without damaging them. Cleaning your flat top grill without these tools will be an uphill battle, and they’re relatively cheap anyway, so go ahead and pull the trigger on that purchase. If you’re cleaning your flat top grill after every use (as you should be), the cleaning process is easy. Take the scraper and remove all of the chunks of food that have been burnt onto the surface.

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If you have a two-burner grill, pour 1 tablespoon of oil onto the surface (flaxseed oil is a good choice). If you have a larger, four-burner grill, use 2 tablespoons; it’s important not to use too much oil. Now, take your grill stone and scrub the oil over the surface. You’re essentially reinforcing your grill’s seasoning, but you should also use the grill stone to clean off any remaining bits of grime left behind.

If your grill has rusted or needs a deeper clean, the process is similar. Basically, you’ll just have to do each step multiple times, wiping the surface down between each cycle. Once you’ve made several passes with your scraper and grill stone, you’ll want to reseason the grill before cooking on it again.

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