It’s important to keep your grill in a good condition to increase its service life and make your money worth it.
The best way to keep your outdoor grill from rusting is to avoid pouring liquids onto your grill. This includes sauces such as BBQ sauce - no matter how much you want BBQ chicken wings.
You should marinate your food in the kitchen or before grilling them. Otherwise, the liquid can clog the burners, which will develop rust.
If you do get sauce or liquid on your grill, make sure to clean it immediately. Keeping your grill clean is the easiest way to keep it from rusting, as prevention is key.
Turn the burners off and use a grill brush to scrub away any particles you might not see. Charcoal grills should be cleaned when hot with a brush and water.
Aside from regular cleaning, you should always give your outdoor grill a deep clean every few weeks or so. You should treat your grill in the same way as an oven.
Soak the detached grates in hot water, dish soap, and baking soda. Use a grill brush to scrub off any excess food or nastiness after an hour of soaking.
You should also pay attention to the burners and trays, which will require a deep clean to prevent moisture build-up. Basically, clean every area of the grill - even the outside - to prevent rusting.
As most people use their grills in the summer months, you should make sure to cover and store the grill away in the winter. Moisture is the biggest factor in rusting, so you need to protect your grill with a high-quality cover that protects it from rain and snow.
Even better, move the grill into a shed or garage. This is especially the case if you live in areas of high humidity or excessive snow.
Our top tip is to oil your grill grates after cleaning with a layer of vegetable oil. This will prevent the food from sticking to the grates. However, make sure to not use an aerosol spray can of vegetable oil, as this can explode near the flames.
Is it OK to use a grill with rust?
It isn’t ok to use a grill with rust. A rusty grill is often the result of lingering food and sauces from previous cooking, which means you haven’t cleaned the grill since the last time you cooked.
This can spread bad bacteria from the lingering food that has probably been exposed to a lot since the last time you used the grill, which will then transfer to the new food.
Whilst consuming a little bit of rust isn’t going to be harmful to humans from one meal, you shouldn’t make a habit of this.
Rust contains iron oxide which is somewhat safe to consume, but regular consumption of this isn’t healthy. Continuous ingestion of rust can lead to problems in the intestinal tract - plus it doesn’t taste as good as fresh food.
Consuming regular amounts of rust can lead to iron poisoning, which can lead to the unfortunate symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain. Not really worth it for the sake of grilling a burger, is it?
Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent grills from rusting so you don’t have to use a rusty grill. If you’re in a public park with a grill that definitely hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, you might want to think twice before using it.
For your own grill, you should make sure to clean it after every use with a cleaning brush to get rid of lingering food and sauces.
You should also commit to deep cleaning the grill every few weeks or so, which will include cleaning the grates, burners, and the outer layer of the grill.
The key to rust is prevention, because it’s much easier to stay on top of cleaning your grill than having to scrub it relentlessly for hours if it’s riddled with rust.
In short, if you wouldn’t willingly lick the grates of a rusted grill, then you probably shouldn’t cook food on it. If you don’t have any other option but to cook on a rusty grill, it won’t be unsafe to eat the food - just don’t make a regular habit of it!
What grills don’t rust?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to find a grill that is completely rust-resistant.
There are some grills that are made of a great material that prevents rust build-up, but the truth is, if you don’t clean your grill regularly, rust can always occur. Also, you should clean your grill regularly anyway, because a dirty grill is gross.
Stainless steel grills are the most likely to not rust. Stainless steel is mostly resistant to corrosion, plus these grills are generally affordable and some of the most durable grills available.
The propane stainless steel grills are the easiest to use and control compared to charcoal grills, as it means you can control the temperature with the turn of a knob.
However, this does mean that there are more compartments to dismantle and remove to clean. As cleaning is essential for the prevention of rust, regardless of how rust-resistant the product claims it is, this is something worth considering.
The reality is that no grill is completely rust-proof. Even the highest quality grills require cleaning after every use if you want to keep them in the best condition. You can’t simply buy a grill that claims to be rust-resistant and never give it a good scrub because “it said it won’t rust”.
To be the perfect grill mom or dad, you need to take the necessary precautions to prevent rust, regardless of how rust-proof the grill claims to be.
This includes cleaning it after every use, deep cleaning it every few weeks, putting a cover over it during moist times such as humidity, rain, and snow, and storing it in a dry area during the non-grilling months of winter.