How to Clean a Kamado Grill Basic Tips

Sadly, the Kamado Grill, just like any other type of grill, also needs to be cleaned, luckily it is relatively easy, but you have to remember about few rules on what you can and can’t do so that you don’t damage things like ceramic elements.

You also have to remember about few basic activities, preferably after each cooking so that you can keep your grill clean for longer, but more on that below.

First let’s introduce the kamado deep cleaning method. It is a solution for those who have already been cooking on their kamado for at least several months and are convinced that their grill doesn’t look good.

Kamado Deep Cleaning Method


Depending on how much you cook, a kamado grill has to be cleaned thoroughly 1-2 times a year in order to keep it clean. It won’t be a difficult task, though, as kamado is a type of grill that is self-cleaning in a way. The air-tight construction and high temperature mean that if you close the lid after you’re done cooking, the grill just cleans itself from most of food remains, grease and other stains.

deep cleaning kamado grill

So let’s move on to the thorough cleaning of your kamado grill.

  • 1. We start cleaning by lighting the charcoal inside the kamado. Then we put all the elements and accessories inside ( grill grates, pizza stone, deflector etc ).
  • 2. Close the lid of the grill and set the air vents appropriately so that the grill warms up to the highest temperature possible. Once it reaches a high temperature after few minutes, just close all the upper air vents and wait for about half an hour.
  • 3. After that time, you have to open all the air vents and just let the grill cool down. In the meantime, you can take care of cleaning the grill grates, just scrub then clean with a brush. You can also clean the pizza stone, just use a gentle brush for that as well. Remember never to use chemical agents or water, it creates a risk of the ceramic elements cracking.
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    4. Is the grill cold already? You can move on to cleaning the inside. Remove all the remaining elements like the grill grates, the pizza-stone and other accessories. Remove the ash from the drawer located below the grill, then get rid of the charcoal remains inside and remove the fire box, the fire grate and the fire ring.
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    5. Next get rid of the ash remains, a small vacuum cleaner will be helpful here as it can remove the ash fast and easily even from the hard to reach places. Check the fire grate, if there are any clogged holes then try to get them cleaned. If there are any tougher stains then you can use a slightly damp cloth, but then you have to get the area dry using things like paper towels. Never clean a kamado with water, especially the ceramic elements.
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    6. Last but not least, clean the ash drawer again and you can put all the remaining elements back where they were.

There aren’t many things to do here, a thorough cleaning mostly consists of getting rid of food remains left inside the grill, and then successfully getting rid of the ash from everywhere inside the grill using a vacuum cleaner.

Why does the grill have to be warmed up at the beginning? That’s exactly the „self-cleaning” element of the grill, it is based around warming up the grill to the highest temperature possible and then closing the lid and the air vents to make it airtight. That way, high temperature will burn away all the leftover food remains, grease and other stains, and all that is left for you to do is just remove the ash and tiny stains.

Other Basic Maintenance Activities


The above mentioned thorough cleaning has to be performed 1-2 times a year depending on how much you cook on the grill. When taking care of a kamado grill, on the other hand, you have to remember about many other activities that have to be performed regularly. Below we’ll present several examples and tell you how often to perform a particular activity.

Ash Removal


A kamado Grill is a charcoal grill, which means that, as a result of the charcoal burning, quite a large amount of ash is produced. Too much ash causes the holes in the fire grate to get clogged which blocks the air flow and has a negative impact on the entire functioning of the grill ( especially on proper charcoal burning ). In order to prevent ash-related problems you have to remove the ash from the grill often, preferably after each cooking.

clean the firebox from ash

Luckily when it comes to Kamado, the ash removal process is ultra fast and simple.

Nearly every kamado grill is equipped with a special drawer located on the bottom of the grill where most of the ash from the grill falls into. The amount of ash in the drawer has to be checked regularly and if there’s a lot of it, it just has to be emptied. It’s a fast and easy way that allows to get rid of excess ash without problems.

For that purpose, you have to:

  • 1. Stir the ash and charcoal remains inside the grill so that it falls through the holes in the fire grate right into the ash drawer. Then open the bottom draft door which has the ash drawer behind it.
  • 2. Remove the ash from the drawer and put it back in its place – a very fast and simple task.

There’s nothing too complicated here when it comes to cleaning the grill of ash, you have to remember to regularly check the amount of ash inside the drawer and always remove the ash from inside the grill before the next cooking. Simple activities that ensure that your grill works properly.

Cleaning the Kamado Grill Grates


Another activity that has to be performed regularly after or before each cooking. Dirty grill grates not only look scary but also have a bad impact on flavor of the food. Cooking on very dirty grates might cause new food to have a distinct burned smell. Luckily, cleaning the grill grates is a very easy activity and you should make sure to clean them after or before each cooking.

clean grill grates in kamado

We will tell you in few short steps how to clean grill grates in a kamado:

  • 1. We always clean the grill grates when the grill is warmed up. Which means you can do it after you’re done cooking or before you start cooking the next time. All that matters is that the grill is warmed up, which allows to burn away food remains and grease and makes it significantly easier to clean the remaining stains. If you’re just starting to cook, allow the grill to warm up to at least 200+ degrees F, close the lid and wait 10-15 minutes.
  • 2. Grab a brush and clean the grill grates of the remaining stains. Pick a brush that fits the material the grill grates were made of, if you have regular steel grates then you can use a wire brush, if you have cast-iron or porcelain-coated grill grates then you need to use a gentle brush ( like a nylon one ) so that you don’t damage the surface of the grates.

Done, that’s it. As you can see, it is a very simple task that doesn’t require much time. Make sure that your grill grates are always clean. Don’t use water or any chemical agents, the above method that consists of warming up the grill is most effective and free of any chemical agents or even water.

Humidity


You haven’t cooked on the kamado grill in a while and it turned out that the inside is humid? It happens, always try to keep your grill in a dry place, preferably under a cover. Humidity may not look very nice, but we have good news for you. There’s an easy way to get rid of it for good.

clean mold in kamado
  • 1. Start by lighting the charcoal, then put all the elements affected by humidity ( grill grates, heat deflector etc ) inside. Open all the air vents all the way and let the grill preheat to a very high temperature ( as high as possible ).
  • 2. Try to maintain the high temperature for about fifteen minutes ( at least 500F + ), then close the bottom air vent and wait another 15 minutes or so. After that time, close the upper air vent and let the grill cool down.
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    3. Before it cools down, you can grab a brush and clean the grill grates.

High temperature burns away all the leftover food remains, stains and of course it allows to effectively get rid of humidity. All without using complicated and expensive chemical agents and water, all that is needed is high temperature maintained for a longer time, which will take care of unwanted stains.

Let us remind you once again not to use water when cleaning the grill and to keep the grill in a dry place. Those are the only effective methods of preventing the inside of the grill from getting humid.

Cleaning a Pizza-Stone or Heat Deflector


Both plates are made of ceramics which means that they need to be taken care of properly. Ceramics are delicate so you can't clean them with a wire brush or clean them in a bowl of water. There are several things you can’t do with ceramics or else one day they will just start to crack.

What to do when, for example, a pizza-stone is dirty? We’ll show you two methods that you can use to safely clean the ceramic plates in your kamado.

Method no. 1

Grab a kitchen scrapper and a slightly damp cloth and scrub off dried-up food remains. Don’t submerge the ceramic plates in water, don’t use soap and don’t rinse it with water, and don’t use metal brushes or scrappers either. Ceramics are delicate so they have to be cleaned carefully. Ceramic plates like a pizza-stone simply lose color over time so there’s no need to try to clean them as they just won’t look like new anymore.

Method no. 2

You know now that high temperature can burn away most food remains and stains. All you have to do is flip the ceramic stones ( like a pizza-stone ) over before the next cooking, the dirty side will be facing down directly towards the fire, which will burn all the remains off the plate.

What not to do with Ceramic Plates?


  • Don’t use soap to wash them
  • Don’t preserve them like you do with grill grates
  • Don’t put them in water
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    Don’t keep them in a humid place
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    Don’t put a completely cold ceramic plate in a very hot grill, better warm it up a little earlier
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    Don't use any chemical agents for cleaning
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    Don't use metal brushes or scrappers

Follow all of the above advice and your ceramic plates will be maintained in a good condition and you will prevent the ceramics from breaking as well as other unpleasant situations.

That’s about it, it’s a good idea to clean a grill thoroughly once or twice a year if you want to keep it in a good condition, it is necessary however to clean the grill grates after each cooking as well as regularly check the amount of ash inside the drawer and throw it out if needed. You should also pay attention to our advice on proper cleaning of things like grates, ceramic plates or the entire grill.

We believe that the process of cleaning a kamado grill and keeping it in a good condition is not a difficult task, it is a self-cleaning grill to a huge degree as well as one equipped with a very useful ash removal system which means that cleaning won’t become a loathed activity.

We also invite you to check out our other articles about kamado grills where you will find out how to pick the right kamado grill or simply how to cook on it and use it.