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My father insists on "burning off" the grill by letting it run on high after each use. Is there any advantage to doing so?

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The idea is to clean the cooking surface. I typically fire up the grill, then, just before placing product on, use a wire brush to clean the grill surface. No reason that you couldn't do this at the end of a cook, preparing for the next cook. The advantage to cooking on a clean surface is that there is reduced chance of food sticking to the grill.

  • You don't need to do a "burn off" off at the end to do that. Just clean the grill with wire brush at the end of cooking while the grill is still hot. "Letting it run on high" makes it sounds like he's trying to clean the grill by burning everything on it until it turns into ash. – Ross Ridge Sep 8 '15 at 4:06
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    @RossRidge - I'd have to disagree with you there. That same technique is what is used for "self-cleaning" ovens. If you are grilling foods with marinades, pastes or sauces that have acidic and/or sugar content, trying to clean that with the brush, or leaving it until next time, is going to be more difficult or is going to be a lot tougher on the grilling surface. Getting all that residue to ash and scrubbing it right away is going to be better for the lifespan of the grilling surface if you use the grill for the kinds of stuff that I do (Korean BBQ being tough on the grill). – PoloHoleSet Sep 19 '17 at 16:48
  • @PoloHoleSet Yes, that's exactly what I think should be avoided, trying to "self-clean" the BBQ every time it's used. Cleaning marinades, pastes and sauces is easy enough to if you do it immediately after cooking as I suggested and it doesn't damage the grill. On the other hand turning everything to ash like a oven's self-cleaning cycle will do more than just remove the cooking residue, it'll remove the protective seasoning layer from the grill and dramatically shorten its life if you do it every time as the original poster suggested. You're also wasting a lot of fuel unnecessarily. – Ross Ridge Sep 19 '17 at 17:24
  • I burn off my kamado style grill after every use. The grill is rated up to 900 degrees F, and it keeps everything very clean. You need to remember the hazard associated with accidental ingestion of wire bristles from grill brushes. This causes injuries every year. – Kevin Nowaczyk Sep 19 '17 at 17:32
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    You need to get it to ash (and you don't have to do it to the level of the oven, where the ash itself is pretty much disintegrated) first. If you try to use a brush on heavy, mostly-cooked paste, you're going to leave that residue on the grill and it's going to just gum up your brush, as well. It has to be burned, first. Again, not to the level of a self-cleaning oven, but the brush doesn't work unless you let it burn a bit first. I've been looking Korean bulgogi for decades. The residue won't come off the way you say. Same with other heavy, paste-types of marinades, as well. – PoloHoleSet Sep 19 '17 at 17:32
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I have seen two grills of friends who have warped by using the high temp cleaning approach. The grills today are not made for such high temps like grills our fathers had. One grill that I saw now has a problem with the grates falling into the firebox. He ended up adding shims to keep the grates in place. Be safe not sorry. In our area we have professional grill cleaners...

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