An Easy Guide to Cleaning Your Pellet Grills Thoroughly

Pellet grills are all the rage these days and are found in most backyards, and since you’ve found your way to this blog, we’re guessing you have one too.

Pellet grills are easy to use and an excellent investment, but you already know this. However, it’s the grill’s maintenance that requires effort and expertise.

Don’t worry; we’ve covered you with the best tips and guidelines for cleaning pellet grills.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Why Is It Important to Clean Your Pellet Grill

Before we get to the actual cleaning process, we must understand why cleaning pellet grills is necessary.

You may have noticed the layers of grease and ash after each use. The ash or grease may be negligible initially. However, over time, it’ll build up significantly. This is concerning for a few reasons. For starters, it’ll affect the food you’re cooking. The ash will make its way into your food, affecting its taste and quality.

Moreover, with a cleaner pellet grill, you can control the temperature of your grill much more efficiently since the airflow will be better, and the heat will be distributed more equally. Also, cleaning the grill is necessary to ensure it functions well and there’s no risk of grease fires and scorched food.

Meat being cooked on a pellet grill

What Kind of Cleaning Supplies Will You Need

A pellet grill has multiple parts, so you’ll need several tools and supplies to clean it.

Paper towel and cleaning solution in a spray bottle

Here are the few you’ll need:

  1. Brushes, scrubbers, and scrapers: Make sure to choose non-metal scrapers and brushes to ensure you’re not damaging the grill. Also, it’ll be helpful to have multiple brushes of different sizes to reach smaller gaps in the smoker and quickly clear away the surface.
  • Paper towels and rags: You need both so you can first clean away the grease and other elements using the paper towels and then wipe down with the soft rags.
  • Cleaning solutions and degreasing products: You’ll require different cleaning solutions for the exterior and interior of your grill—ideally, a stainless-steel cleaning solution for the outside and a BBQ degreaser for the inside. You can also create your solution with soap and water.
  • A Shop Vac: A shop vac or a handheld vacuum cleaner is a great tool to suck out all the ash from the pellet smoker.
  • Nitrile gloves are essential to keep your hands clean and safe from any cleaning solutions.

How To Go About the Deep Cleaning Step-By-Step

Your pellet grill has multiple parts, so it’s important to deep clean each part one by one. You can disassemble the grill first before cleaning each part or just remove parts as you go.

Step 1: Start with The Grill Grates

A person using a brushing tool to clean a pellet grill

Remove the grill grates and use your scraper and brushes to remove all the buildup. Once the grease and ash are gone, you can use warm, soapy water to clean the grills, and in case it still feels greasy, you can use some of the other cleaning solutions and degreasers.

(Pro Tip: If you remove leftover food particles after every use, less burnt food will be stuck to your grills when you’re deep cleaning them.)

Step 2: Use Your Vacuum

Once your grills are removed and cleaned, you can use a handheld vacuum or a shop vac to clean out all the ash collected in your smoker and firepot. This simple step will make your pellet grill much more efficient. Ideally, it would be best if you vacuumed after every long cook.

Step 3: Tackle the Grease Bucket

Next, you need to clean out the grease bucket. This will take some work because you will have to use a scraper to scrape the grease. Once that’s done, you can use warm water and soap to wipe the bucket with a soft cloth. Alternatively, you can use a degreasing solution if needed.

(Pro Tip: Line the bucket with foil; it’ll make it easier to clean in the future.)

Step 4: Check the Chimney

Ideally, your chimney should be free of soot, so if you see any, wipe it away. A soft rag should do the job, but if there’s a lot of soot, use a nylon brush. Avoid using any water, and if you do, ensure it’s dried off completely before you fire up the grill.

As a general rule of thumb, remember that soot in the chimney will lead to a fire, and water in your pellets will damage them and make them useless.

Step 5: Put Everything Back Together

Once you’ve cleaned everything, you need to just put all the components together. Later, you might want to fire it up and leave it on medium-high heat for an hour. This will help with some self-cleaning.

Step 6: Clean the Outside

Also, don’t forget to clean the exterior of your pellet grill. Just use a stainless-steel cleaning solution and a soft cloth to clean it.

How Often Should You Clean a Pellet Grill

Meat being cooked on a pellet grill..

There’s no one answer to this question. In general, the frequency of your cleaning depends on your usage. If you use the grill very often, you’ll have to clean it often, too—probably after 3 or 4 uses. If you use it occasionally, but for a longer duration for a bigger cook, you’ll probably want to clean it after every use.

Also, it depends on what you’re cooking. For instance, if you grill fish or other seafood, you wouldn’t want the smell to linger, especially if you’re making burgers the next time.

How often you need to clean your grill also depends on the kind of grill you buy; some are easier to clean. If you’re unsure about the best ones available, check out the perfect pellet grills for barbeques at BackYard Alpha. We also have some other amazing pellet grill tips for beginners, including tips on cleaning pellet grills—check it all out!