Sometimes the greatest culinary challenge is not what you prepare for your customers/guests, but what is left behind the teppanyaki iron griddle.
Well, this isn’t your typical philosophical anecdote about culinary delights, but rather the literal “mess” that sticks on the surface of the grill and the headache that comes along with making it squeaky clean the next morning.
All those ingredients reacting to the hot vegetable oil, remnants of fried eggs, stir-fried vegetables, tiny bits of meat, dashi, soy sauce, pepper, salt and the whole gamut of herbs and spices all contribute to that dried, flaky and burned tiny lumps scattered across the grill’s surface.
And you would have to go through all of them before you can expose the clean, smooth and shiny surface of the grill back to its pristine condition before all the cooking frolic was done on the grill.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Diversifying Your Menu
- 2 Why Cleaning Your Teppanyaki Griddle is Important
- 3 How to Clean a Teppanyaki Griddle
- 4 More Teppanyaki Iron Griddle Cleaning Tips
- 5 Conclusion
Diversifying Your Menu
One of the best ways you can make your menu more diverse and appealing is by outfitting your kitchen with a teppanyaki griddle.
No matter the frequency in which you will use the grill (daily or weekly), it’s imperative that you will prioritize cleaning it regularly to avoid residual flavor carryover the next time you’ll cook something on it.
Of course, there are dozens of ways to go about cleaning your teppanyaki iron griddle, but we thought that you might want to try some of our tips below.
Why Cleaning Your Teppanyaki Griddle is Important
Whether you’re cooking pancakes and crepes or burgers, sandwiches, meats or any other teppanyaki-style dishes always keep in mind to clean your grill regularly.
Because the griddle is often exposed to high temperatures the residue from meals, fats, juices and other food debris gets stuck on the grill’s surface, albeit temporarily.
The problem with not cleaning this grease and grime is that over time they continually accumulate and turn into a gummy layer (probably bacteria-laden too) and get carbonized after constant exposure to temperatures above 300 °Celsius.
Once they get carbonized, they’re extremely difficult to remove! The carbonized organic mattter on your grill will also act as a heat dampener and cause any food you’ll cook to not cook well and taste funny.
Signs That Your Teppanyaki Grill Needs Cleaning
- Food sticks to griddle
- Food cooking unevenly
- Flavor transfer between foods
- Grease buildup on griddle surface
- Flakes of burnt oil ending up in food
How to Clean a Teppanyaki Griddle
It’s important to know that commercial and teppanyaki grills are made with either stainless steel or chromium steel.
While most foodservice establishments like restaurants and fastfood chains use stainless steel teppanyaki and commercial griddles, most chefs and cooks actually prefer to use the chrome-built ones as they have greater heat retention qualities.
Since we’ve discussed the two different kinds of teppanyaki grill (stainless steel and chrome steel), then we will also discuss the steps to clean them separately.
Cleaning Non-Chromium Surfaces
- Scape off the excess food and grease from the surface of the grill with a grill scraper (do this every time after you’ve cooked something or a batch of recipes). Slide the food debris into the waste drawer of the teppanyaki grill and throw the debris away once you’re done cooking.
- Sometimes the grill is soiled with burned food debris that you would have to use a scouring brick in order to it rub off of the grill’s surface. Just keep in mind to rub along the grain of the grill so you won’t damage it.
- Empty, wash and sanitize the waste drawer of your teppanyaki grill at the end of each day as well, then using a clean cloth polish the front end too!
- Do preventive maintenance each week as well and don’t use the grill for a good measure of 5 hours to allow it to cool off. Then using a non-abrasive griddle cleaner and a clean piece of cloth clean its surface and thoroughly rinse the entire teppanyaki grill with water. Let dry and prepare it for the next day.
- It is highly recommended that you re-season the grill’s surface again after your weekly cleaning and since the grill is used to cook food, you can’t spray it with anti-rust chemicals otherwise you’ll poison your guests. Just applying a thin layer of cooking oil all over the surface is good enough and will prevent rust from accumulating on your grill.
Cleaning Chromium Surfaces
- Remove excess grease and food debris with a grill scraper, and then use a damp cloth and wipe the grill’s surface clean.
- Scrape the surface of the grill off of any food debris and use a clean cloth and dip in in a mixture of soap or dishwashing liquid, then clean the surface at the end of each day. Clean the surface of the grill again with a clean dry cloth again after rinsing it off to remove the soap or dishwashing liquid along with the dirt.
Chrome is a bit more sensitive than stainless steel, so never use the following when cleaning it:
- Pumice, griddle stones, or abrasives
- A spatula or something with a sharp edge to scrape off food from the grill surface
- Steel wool
- Chemically-prepared liquid grill cleaner
More Teppanyaki Iron Griddle Cleaning Tips
For the most part, teppanyaki grills are often used to prepare meals to the customers, so there’s really no choice, but to clean them daily and do weekly maintenance to make them last longer.
However, if you use for private dinners and parties, then the recommended cleaning schedule doesn’t necessarily apply to you.
Whatever the case is for you this step-by-step teppanyaki grill cleaning guide will help a lot to keep your grill in tip top condition for years to come.
Step 1: Check the Traps
Most gas-fired teppanyaki grills have grease traps below the grill surface that functions as a food debris and grease collector.
When cleaning a teppanyaki grill you’ll need to clean the traps first before cleaning the grill surface, because if you won’t check the traps regularly, then it might accumulate a lot of grease and grimes which will become a bigger problem later on.
Cleaning the grill from the bottom up will save you a lot of trouble and allow your grill to function at optimal capacity.
Check if the burners are also clogged and clean those too to ensure continuous supply of heat needed to cook the food.
Step 2: Reduce Heat, if Necessary
In my opinion, if it is at all possible, I would recommend that you turn off the stove before you clean the grill; however, this might not be possible if you’re working in a restaurant, so the best you can do is minimize the heat.
If you really need to clean the teppanyaki grill while it’s still searing hot, then use heat-resitant gloves and tools, so you won’t get your hands or arms burned by accident.
The kitchen of a busy restaurant is a hazardous place!
Step 3: Apply Your High Temperature Cleaner
There are non-toxic liquid based cleaning solution for teppanyaki griddles such as the Monogram Clean Force that can be used at high temperatures.
This means that you can use it even while the grill’s stove is turned on and, in some cases, these cleansing agents works fast which will help you get back to your cooking in no time.
You’ll need to use a griddle brush that has a long handle to keep your hands from coming into contact with the hot grill surface.
You can also use an elbow grease de-greaser for stubborn spots just rinse it off afterwards.
Step 4: Put Your Grease Traps Back and Turn Up the Heat
By now you must have dismantled the teppanyaki griddle or at least partially as it does have some easy-to-remove parts, which had been designed to come off easily for cleaning and maintenance purposes.
Since you have thoroughly cleaned the grill on every corner possible, then it’s time to put the pieces back together and continue cooking amazing teppanyaki-style cuisines for your guests to enjoy.
Reseat the grease traps, put the cleaner and brushes away, and turn up the heat once more. You’re ready to rock and roll!
- If you don’t want to use commercial cleaning agents to clean your grill, then use lemon juice and vinegar instead as they are excellent high heat cleaners.
- Try as much as possible to squeeze into your schedule to clean the griddle completely at least once a day (your normal day may be a busy day with lots of customers, but it pays to have a clean teppanyaki grill).
- Never ignore the user’s manual for your grilling equipment as well as the instructions for your cleaners. Some accidents are caused by ignorance, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Doing maintenance work on your teppanyaki griddle and cleaning it regularly will help keep it intact for years to come and you won’t be bothered looking for a new one any time soon. On the plus side you will be able to cook an assortment of teppanyaki-style recipes.
Recommended Tools to Use when Cleaning a Teppanyaki Iron Griddle
Cleaning your teppanyaki grill can be a tough job, but with the right tools you should be able to make the metals shine like new every time you’ll do maintenance work on it.
You must not used improvised tools as they might damage the grill surface and it will affect the way the food will taste, and then you’re going to have to buy a new grill.
What you must use to clean your grill are the tools listed below:
- Grill Scraper – is a kitchen implement made of metal, plastics (such as polyethylene, nylon, or polypropylene), wood, rubber or silicone rubber used to clean cooking grills by scraping stuck particles of food from their surface.
- Griddle Pad Holder – a polyethylene plastic handle that holds the grill screen and grill cleaning pads together when cleaning the grill.
- Scouring Brick – a molded mass of abrasive or siliceous earth, usually in the form of a brick, used for scouring the surface of the teppanyaki grill to remove stains and other
soiled food remains.
- Grill Screen – a metal screen used in conjunction with the griddle pad and griddle pad holder to clean the teppanyaki grill’s surface and remove any food debris.
- Stainless Steel Cleaning Chemical – liquid based chemicals that are typically non-toxic and can just be removed easily by rinsing the grill surface with water. These cleaning agents are not to be used with chrome steel commercial or teppanyaki grills.
- Steel Wool – a wire mesh made like a brush/sponge to clean metal surfaces (mostly kitchen utensils including teppanyaki grills) and remove oil, dirt, dust and food debris.
- Cleaning Brush – a wooden or plastic brush with a long handle to keep your hand from coming into contact with the hot grill while you clean it.
- Heat Resistant BBQ Gloves – used to protect your hands from burning when you really have to get into the drill to clean it inside out.
- Commercial Grade Griddle Cleaner Pads – a silicone pad that’s used to remove the sticky soiled food debris off of the grill surface.
- Clean Cloth – you will need these to wipe the grill clean and dry after rinsing it with water.
- Soap/Dishwashing Liquid – a substitute to those high-temp chemical grill cleaners and works just as well.
- Cooking Oil – used to prevent the grill’s metal from rusting.
- Warm Water – metal expands when a high temperature is applied and it also contracts when a cold substance is applied to it. Therefore it is wise to use warm water when rinsing the teppanyaki grill otherwise the metal might experience tensions and stresses from sudden temperature change and it will break under all that pressure.
The teppanyaki grill is an excellent addition to your kitchen, because it gives you additional options to diversify your menu.
It comes both in stainless steel or chrome construction for your cooking convenience and if properly maintained on a regular basis, then it will last longer than what is normally expected of its lifespan.
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While the tips that was discussed above may not be the complete guidelines on how to clean and maintain your teppanyaki grill, it does cover a lot of details on the subject and should be used as a standard for cleaning teppanyaki and commercial grills.
You may also do further research to acquire new information on how to clean your teppanyaki and commercial grill properly apart from this blog post.
Also check out this post about cleaning the grill with just vinegar