Spring Cleaning for Pellet Grills

As we transition from winter to spring, it’s the perfect time to perform maintenance and clean your grill. Regardless of whether you grill seasonally or year-round, spring and summer are the months when your grill will likely see the most use. Because of this, it’s essential to have it in optimal condition as we head into the “Grilling Season.”
Compared to other grills, pellet grills tend to accumulate more grease and ash. When cleaning a Traeger, Pit Boss, Weber SmokeFire, or any other pellet grill, you’ll need to focus on these two areas. Removing the ash from the grill is the first priority and is likely something that you already do regularly. Ash can accumulate in various parts of the pellet grill, but it’s crucial to have a clean fire pot or burn grate to ensure proper airflow and function. While most people use a vacuum, such as a Shopvac, to suck the ash from the smoker, there are other options available. You can use a dustpan and brush with a spoon to scoop the ash from the fire pot. Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to clear as much ash as possible and ensure all holes in your fire pot or burn grate are clear.

Due to the indirect cooking method, pellet grills tend to collect more grease than other grills. While drain pans are good at removing most of the grease from the grill, additional grease removal is often required. Make sure to empty your grease bucket or pan and clean them with a light degreaser or grill cleaner. If your grill’s manufacturer recommends covering your drain pan with foil or other means, dispose of and replace it during this time. If it’s not recommended to cover your drain pan, scrape it and clear out any buildup. For all pans, clean out any trough on which they sit, focusing on heavy buildup.

To complete the cleaning process, wipe the grill inside and out with a light degreaser or grill cleaner. Simple Green is excellent for this task, but you can use a generic citrus-based cleaner or any of the many grill cleaners available on the market. These cleaners can also be used on any porcelain-coated grill grate. For your stainless-steel grill, use a stainless-steel cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

While cleaning your grill, take the opportunity to check all the parts to ensure they’re clean and free of debris. Spiderwebs, animal hair, and other debris can block airflow or even prevent a part from moving. Check your hopper and discard any old pellets. Vacuum out any drawers and clean any meat probes.
Finally, once you’ve completed the cleaning, return all your items to the grill and burn it for at least 30 minutes at 350° to burn off any chemicals left behind.

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