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6 tips for cleaning and seasoning your cast iron grill

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Cast iron cookware has been with us for more than 2,000 years, and there are good reasons for its staying power. Cast iron handles high heat, and it maintains an even, consistent heat better than aluminum. And cast iron is legendary for its durability. But to make the most of cast iron, a little TLC is required.

Myths abound about how to care for this ancient and amazing surface, but cast iron care is actually pretty simple. Even before you get around to cleaning your grill, you can shorten your cleanup time by making sure to use plenty of oil when cooking. Oils that have a high smoke point, such as canola, olive, peanut, vegetable or nonstick cooking spray, are recommended. 

When cleaning and maintaining your cast iron electric grill, review the instructions provided in your Use and Care Guide and follow these six simple tips:

  1. DON’T soak.
    Water is not a friend to cast iron, which will rust if not dried completely. So never leave the cast iron grill surface to soak or to airdry, and never put anything cast iron in a dishwasher. 
  2. DON’T soap, with one exception.
    One of the old wives tales about cast iron is that you can’t use dish soap on it. Soap will not hurt durable cast iron, but soap will degrade the nonstick surface that builds up on cast iron with repeated use and repeated applications of oil. The one time you do want to use soap is to remove an occasional rust spot, which can be prevented altogether with proper drying and oiling of the cast iron surface.
  3. DO wash, but gently.
    • After cooking, turn the grill off and unplug it. Make sure you lift the cast iron grill top from the appliance completely
    • Use a metal or heat-resistant spatula to move excess grease and food particles into the drip tray.   
    • Let the cast iron grill top cool completely. If additional cleaning is needed, wash the grill top in hot water with a nylon brush or sponge. Do NOT use metal scouring pads. Pieces can break off pad and touch electrical parts, causing a risk of electric shock. 
    • Rinse and dry thoroughly. Rust spots will appear if cast iron isn’t completely dried when stored. Before storing, always wipe the cast iron grill top with a little oil to keep it seasoned.  
  4. DO deglaze to remove stubborn spots
    If stubborn spots persist on your cast iron grill top even after performing the basic cleaning described above, follow these steps for deglazing: 
    • With appliance plugged in and drip tray in place, preheat to 300°F (149° C). Over top of preheated grill top, pour about ¼ cup of water. Water will bubble up to dislodge food particles. When bubbles subside, use a spatula to scrape water and residue into the drip tray. 
    • Hold a lint-free cloth with metal tongs to wipe grill top surface dry.  
    • Repeat both steps above if necessary.  
    • Before storing, always wipe grill top with a little oil.  
  5. DO remove rust spots.
    Luckily, these are easy to prevent and also easy to remedy. Remove cast iron grill top from the base and wash it in hot, soapy water while scrubbing rust spots with steel wool. (Scrub ONLY the rust spots with steel wool.) Rinse and dry thoroughly with a lint-free cloth. Then re-season.  
  6. DO season and re-season.
    The flat-top grill surface is pre-seasoned, but add a little extra oil the first few uses to build up the non-stick quality of cast iron. This process is known as seasoning. Cooking with fats and cleaning gently will preserve the seasoning on the grill. If it begins to lose its smooth, shiny appearance or food begins to stick, it’s time to re-season. How often you use your grill will determine how frequently you need to re-season it, but the average is two or three times a year. Re-seasoning is easy:  
    • Remove cast iron grill top from the base. 
    • Rub top only of cast iron grill with a thin layer of oil. Wipe off any excess.  
    • Place grill upside down on top rack in oven.  
    • Add a long piece of aluminum foil directly under grill top on lower rack to catch any drips.  
    • Bake at 450°F (232°C) for 1 hour.  
    • Allow to cool completely in oven.  

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