How To Clean Pellet Grill: Simple Hacks

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Choosing one from a handful of the best pellet grills also involves understanding how to clean pellet grills.

Since it is an advantageous outdoor cooking apparatus, it can be costly. As such, it would be a waste if you can’t make it last as long as it should.

Today, we shall discuss some pellet grill cleaning procedures and the things that can help you get things done faster and with ease.

Why You Need To Clean a Pellet Grill

Since pellet grills cook different kinds of meats by burning wood pellets, it collects grease and ash over time. The buildup of cinders and fat residues can affect your pellet grill’s functionality, and it even reduces its intended lifespan.

Cleaning your pellet grill after every use or at least regularly has the following benefits:

Maintains Food Cleanliness

Every time you use your pellet grill, pellet ash can accumulate into the cooking chamber. Since the smoke circulates in the cooking chamber while you cook, small ash particles latch onto your food, making it dirty.

The only way to keep serving clean food is by regularly purging your pellet grill of accumulated pellet ash.

Retains Proper Pellet Grill Functionality

A well-maintained pellet grill can function like a new one every time you cook. Keeping it clean ensures unhindered airflow, resulting in the device’s intended temperature control capabilities.

Too much internal ash buildup in the firebox and air intake systems can cause inconsistent cooking temperatures. It can also be the reason for the firebox not igniting at all.

Stretches Pellet Grill Lifespan

If you keep your grill in tiptop shape, it can last longer than its intended service life. It also saves you lots of money by avoiding expensive service repairs and preventing you from purchasing a replacement sooner than you need to.

Pellet Grill Built-In Features for Easy Cleaning

Well-known pellet grill manufacturers make maintenance effortless by integrating easy-to-use cleaning features into their products. These features come at a value that jacks up the product cost, but they are time-savers that make pellet grill cleaning a delightful task.


Pellet grills use a mix of varying metals for the construction of their different components. These metals have unalike characteristics that affect maintenance and food production, especially for the cooking grates.

  • Cast-Iron

Cast-iron grill grates are the most durable, but they are also the most expensive. They’re also prone to rust and, therefore, require the most maintenance.

With cast iron, you will need to scrape off any remaining food bits and season them with oil after every use.

  • Steel

On the other hand, steel and stainless steel grates are the most affordable, but they are the least durable.

While they have a non-stick surface that makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze, they can lose their temper over time and start to chip. With increased chipping, steel grills lose their non-stick abilities.

  • Porcelain-Coated

Porcelain-coated pellet grill components bridge the gap between cast-iron and steel. They are the solution that makes things have a mid-range price while improving longevity.

With a porcelain coat, parts can either have a cast-iron or steel base and take advantage of the benefits of each. However, porcelain can chip off and make your pellet grill prone to the disadvantages of both cast iron and steel.

As such, we do not recommend using metal cooking and cleaning tools when handling a porcelain-coated pellet grill component.

tips on how to clean pellet grill

Pellet Hopper Purger

Wood pellets for pellet grills typically come in the form of compressed sawdust or small wood particles.

Every time you pour a bag of pellets into the hopper, finer particles accumulate at the bottom. This accumulation of smaller particles can block the transfer of full-sized pellets into the auger.

With a pellet hopper purger, you can open a bottom hatch to release the accumulated fine wood bits. In addition, the purger enables you to remove any small items you might accidentally drop into the hopper.

Ash Collection Tray

In some models, you can throw out the accumulated ash without lifting the cooking chamber lid. The ash falls into a removable compartment below the firebox, and you can empty it as necessary.

Portable Grease Bucket

In most pellet grills, a sloped tray below the cooking grate collects the grease and juices that drip from the food you are cooking. It transfers the liquids into an outlet that pours into a bucket hanging or sitting outside the cooking chamber.

In some models, the grease collection system also uses a removable drawer to catch the dripping juices.

How To Clean Pellet Grills

Different pellet grill models call for slight variations on the recommended cleaning processes. Nevertheless, this detailed guide provides the basics for effectively cleaning any pellet grill.

1. Have the Following Items Ready

Before maintaining your pellet grill, you need to collect some materials and equipment to make the cleaning process more manageable. Basic cleaning necessities include a sponge, a brush or a scraper, paper towels or rags, cleaning solutions, a vacuum cleaner, and rubber gloves.

Generally speaking, your brush or scraper should not be too abrasive to avoid damaging the metal surfaces. Avoid using metal tools, especially for porcelain-coated components.

When using soft cleaning rags, be sure that they are disposable, as the residues from the grill will render them nonwashable. Additionally, use a cleaning solution intended for the part you are trying to clean.

You can purchase grill cleaning kits from your nearest home center, but be sure they have suitable ingredients that won’t damage your grill.

2. Prepare the Pellet Grill

To prepare the pellet grill for cleaning, follow this procedure:

Step #1: Switch Off, Disconnect, and Let Cool

It can be hazardous to clean a pellet grill while it is still hot. Aside from the cooking grates, you can clean all components of your pellet grill while it is not cold.

Switch off the grill, unplug it from the power source, and let it cool down for some time. Doing so prevents you from getting any accidental burns from hot objects such as metals and grease.

Step 2: Empty All Compartments

Prepare some containers to collect all the contents of the pellet grill, including pellets, ash, and grease. As soon as the pellet grill has completely cooled down, dump the pellet contents of the hopper into one container.

Use your vacuum cleaner for any finer wood particles that you can’t remove through dumping. Next, dump the ash and grease into separate disposable containers.

Step #3: Transfer To a Suitable Location

Cleaning a pellet grill can be very messy, especially if you haven’t done so for some time. If you don’t want the added task of removing grease and dirt from the floor where your grill is, move it to a suitable location.

3. Clean the Pellet Grill

Before cleaning any part of the pellet grill, ensure that all of its components are completely cold. When it is safe to begin, follow these steps:

Step #1: Disassemble

More often than not, many components of a pellet grill are removable. Check your product manual and recall the very first time you set it up for your first barbecue.

Detach each removable part as your device allows it, and set aside any screws and bolts that could get lost during the cleaning process. Also, pay close attention to how each part comes together so that you can put them back where they belong.

Helpful Tip: Use a magnet or a small container to hold all the bolts and screws.

Step #2: Degrease

Pour a generous amount of degreaser or cleaning solution that can cover each part’s surfaces, in and out. If you are working on stainless steel, you can use dish soap and water for degreasing.

This part of the process is suitable for the grease collection system and the interior and exterior of the cooking chamber.

Helpful Tip: Use the right kind of cleaning solution as the wrong one may clean the components but can damage them in the process.

Step #3: Brush And Scrape

Use a sponge or wooden scraper to spread the degreaser evenly across all surfaces and let it sit to soften up hardened grease. At this point, avoid using a plastic brush that can collect all the grease and be difficult to clean.

As soon as the residues have broken down, scrape all surfaces with a brush, rag, or wooden scraper to remove the buildup.

Helpful Tip: If you are using soap and water as a cleaning solution, use warm water to speed up softening the grease.

Step #4: Wipe, Dry, and Reassemble

With a rag or paper towel, wipe away all detached residues, and allow all parts to dry before reassembly.

How Often Should You Clean Your Pellet Grill?

You should gauge how often you use your grill to answer this question; to put it simply, using it more often requires more frequent cleaning. Some components you can clean every few weeks, but others require cleaning after each cook.

It would be advisable to clean the drip tray, grease bucket, ash compartment, and firebox once every few weeks. If you use your pellet grill all the time, clean these parts every five times of use.

However, the cooking grates require a good scrubbing before or after every grilling session. Since the grates clean off easily while hot, it is always better to clean them before preheating or they completely cool down.

Having a Clean Pellet Grill Matters

Learning how to clean pellet grills is part and parcel of being an avid barbecuer. It is an inevitable chore since ash, smoke, grease, and soot are all byproducts of outdoor grilling.

That said, you can only enjoy quality smoked and grilled foods by maintaining a clean, full-functioning pellet grill. With the procedures and helpful tips previously mentioned, you’re on your way to understanding that great outdoor cooking also requires regular cleaning as a habit.

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