You can clean a Flat Top Grill with Vinegar | This is how

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  December 23, 2020

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How to clean a flat-top grill with vinegar

This is a text overlay image of the original work Cleaning the grill by Matthew Keefe on Flickr under cc.

The flat-top grill is probably one of the hardest grills to clean and that’s because it is subjected to extreme heat and the food ingredients that are cooked on it and other grease buildups accumulate over time that becomes difficult to remove.

This is especially true if the flat top grill is a vital tool in a food and drink business like restaurants, bars and grills, fast food chains and others.

But while there are chemically prepared products designed to clean flat-top grills that give a super glossy finished result, you can just use household ingredients like vinegar to achieve similar results.

Food Stains, Debris and Grease Buildup

The typical food ingredients that are being prepared on the flat top grill includes fried rice, vegetables, eggs, meats and seafood.

Seasonings such as mirin, dashi, soy sauce, salt, pepper, herbs and spices are also mixed in with the other primary ingredients, not to mention several liters of oil is used to fry the food.

With high heat searing the food ingredients at least 10% of the food are dehydrated and crumble to pieces to become food stains and debris.

The oil that was used to cook them with becomes very viscous over time due to the food debris that gets mixed with it also lingers on the grill surface.

The problem with these food stains, debris and grease buildup is that they hardened and tend to stick to the grill and become quite difficult to clean.

Cleaning and Maintenance Done on a Daily Basis

In order to make your flat top grill last beyond its projected years of service as stated by its manufacturer, you would have to clean it and do maintenance work on it on a daily basis.

Scraping the food debris and grease buildup off of the grill surface, removing the ash and other charcoal/wood pellet debris from the collecting tray and putting oil all over the grill (to prevent rusting) will prolong the life of your grill.

A flat-top grill that remains useful beyond its stated lifespan will mean more profits and savings for your restaurant or bar and grill business.

Also read about these great flat top grilling tools

Check out this video Jessica Stach posted on Youtube on cleaning a flat top grill:


Steps in Cleaning Your Grill Using only Vinegar

a bottle of an apple vinegar

Flat top griddles and planchas are incredible pieces of commercial kitchen equipment.

Whether you’re a gifted teppanyaki chef entertaining guests with your theatrical skills in cooking, or just an old bloke cooking for your family and friends, the real star of the show is the flat top grill.

The best thing about this kitchen workhorse is that you don’t have to do a lot to clean and maintain it.

Having the right tools and proper care will ensure that it will have a long life and you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a new one so soon.

Seasoning (applying a layer of protection to the cast iron, aluminum or chrome steel) a griddle once is smart to do and will make cleaning easy; however, if you want to prevent your teppanyaki iron griddle from rusting, then a second seasoning will be needed.

The purpose of the seasoned coating is to prevent food debris and accumulated grease from sticking to the grill surface and helps you to clean it with ease afterward.

There are several ways on how you can clean and season your griddle, but for this article, we will focus on the vinegar as the anti-rust corrosive agent and the cooking oil as the seasoning for the metal.

Some chefs do this every day while others only do it as needed.

Also read: the 14 best Japanese snacks you should try

Here are the steps in cleaning your flat top grill:

Step 1
Take 50% of the mixture and pour it into a spray bucket while you pour the other half in a small bucket.

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Step 2
Spray the grill surface and cooking grates with the water-vinegar mix. If you’re using a gas burner to heat up your griddle, then you may want to remove the cooking grates and spray it with the water-vinegar mix away from the gas burner to avoid getting water and debris in it.

Step 3
Wait for 5 minutes for the water-vinegar mixture to seep into the char and food residue, then scrub the cooking grates with a grill brush to remove them. It should be easier to remove them now that they’ve softened up.

Step 4
Soak the grill grates and burner shield in a large plastic basin filled with hot, soapy water.

Step 5
Dip a rag in the bucket and wring it out. Wipe the inside of the grill thoroughly – including the inner portions of the top of the hood. Replace the rags once a week to maintain cleanliness and not contaminate the grill with dirt.

Step 6
Seasoning: pour olive oil on a clean rag and wipe it over the grill grates. The oil acts as a shield from charred food debris and grease buildup that sticks to the grill grates. Seasoning the grill grates with oil occasionally will make cleaning easier, especially if you clean the grill daily.

Looking for a new flat top grill? Check out these best Teppanyaki grills we’ve reviewed

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.