How To Clean Pellet Grills: The Complete Guide

How To Clean Pellet Grills: The Complete Guide

By: Brisk It Culinary Team

Every barbecue connoisseur loves firing up their pellet grill and cooking up some delicious smoked or grilled meats for friends and family. But the smoking process doesn't end when the meal is finished. There's one more crucial step to mastering the art of grilling: cleaning pellet grills. 

It's an often-ignored or forgotten task, which can have consequences like damage and deterioration or unpleasant flavors. In serious cases, potentially dangerous grease fires can result from a failure to properly clean your pellet grill. 

For proper pellet grill maintenance, learn how to clean pellet smokers from the experts at Brisk It Grills. Here's everything you need to know about keeping your pellet grill spic and span!

Why Clean Your Pellet Grill?

It may seem obvious to some, but for those who don’t have much experience grilling or smoking, cleaning your pellet grill is important to creating top-quality smoked meat.

Better Taste

The smoke a pellet grill produces tastes good. However, ash and grill gunk do not. As you use your pellet grill more and more, ash, grease, and other byproducts will build up. This is a natural result of the smoking process. But without regular cleaning, this residue can settle on or stick to your food, creating unpleasant flavors. 

You worked hard on that marinade, so don't let it be spoiled by a dirty pellet grill. Your taste buds will thank you for putting in the time to clean things out.

Protecting Your Grill and Avoiding Grease Fires

Failure to clean your grill can lead to deterioration and malfunctioning. Too much grease, gunk, and ash can make it difficult to properly light your grill or impair its ability to circulate smoke around your food and cook it thoroughly. In the most extreme cases, clogged grease traps or grease buildup can even lead to a grease fire. 

This can easily ruin a fun day of backyard barbecuing and even result in a serious fire danger, which can damage your property or – worse – hurt you or your guests. A simple periodic cleaning goes a long way toward ensuring your precious pellet grill is around for years to come.

Wondering How Often to Clean Pellet Grills? We’ve Got the Answer!

Now that you know why to clean your pellet grill, you may be wondering how often you should clean it. Ideally, owners should take a few minutes to do a light cleanup on their grill after every use. This can be as simple as brushing the grate to remove any built-up gunk or ash, something that should be done while the grill is still warm to ease the process. It's also good practice to clean grease traps and wipe down the grill's exterior after every use.

Periodically, you'll also need to deep clean your pellet grill as well. For regular grillers and smokers, this will typically be every few weeks. During these cleanups, owners should remove and empty any remaining ash, deep-clean the grease traps and tubes, and scrub the burn pot. It's also crucial to remove debris and clean out the exhaust outlet to allow proper airflow, which is a must-have for quality smoking.

The Best Way to Clean Pellet Grills

Cleaning your pellet grill may seem unpleasant or complicated, but it doesn't have to be! As mentioned, keeping a pellet grill in good condition requires regular cleanings after each use. This will make more significant clean-ups much easier and less time-consuming. 

You'll need a stiff-bristled brush (ideally without metal bristles), which can be used to remove any charred meat, fat, or other gunk on your grill grates (DO NOT use stiff brushes or sponges on the exterior of your grill - it will damage the paint and finish!). You'll also want rags or towels to wipe down the exterior and other parts of your grill, potentially using a grill-safe cleaning solution of your choice. It's also crucial to remove any significant grease present in the drip tray.

For more significant and periodic cleans, you'll want a few more tools as well. A putty knife, clean wooden paint stir, or specialized grill or griddle scraper will help remove any buildup inside the cooking chamber of your grill, and a small vacuum or an industrial shop vacuum can be a useful way to quickly remove ash from the cooking chamber and firepot. Smaller brushes or cleaning utensils are also a good idea for cleaning out those hard-to-reach areas. Finally, clean your grease trap, as well as any trays or tubes. This relatively straightforward process will bring your pellet grill back to tip-top shape.

Some grills have features that support an easy cleaning process. Our Brisk It Origin-580 Smart Grill, for example, is equipped with a handy ash cleanout feature that empties the burn pot of ash with the simple pull of a lever. In this case, you can clean ash quickly and easily after every cook.

Staying Safe With a Clean Grill

Safety should always be top of mind when grilling or smoking, and the threat of a grease fire is no joke. They can be difficult to put out and can easily spread to nearby vegetation or even your home. And while it may not be the most important effect, a grease fire is also a great way to ruin your meal! So if better-tasting food and extending the life of your grill aren't reason enough to clean your pellet grill, this should be.

Keep It Clean – Your Grill Will Thank You

So now that you are an expert on this less-than-fun but essential grill maintenance process, you can get back to barbecuing! With just a few minutes after every smoking session, a short but efficient cleaning ensures you'll have more delicious food, a longer-lasting grill, and a safer smoking and grilling experience.

Now that your grill is sparkling clean, try some pellet grill recipes from Brisk It, makers of the Origin-580 Smart Grill with a specialized oil management system and ash cleanout tray.