Picture this: you’ve invited the neighbors over for dinner and you plan to grill up some burgers. You buy a few pounds of grass-fed beef, shape the meat into 1/3-pound patties perfectly seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, you cut the tomatoes, onions and lettuce. You buy brioche buns, mustard, ketchup and mayo and you’re all ready to get cooking. You light your grill and let it heat up for 15 minutes. The guests have arrived and are all gathered around the grill, ready to watch you cook the perfect burger. You bring the platter with the uncooked patties out from the kitchen and, armed with your spatula, begin arranging the patties in perfectly straight lines on the grates. The meat sizzles as it hits the hot stainless-steel grates and the aroma of cooking meat makes your mouth water. The neighbors all watch, telling you how delicious the burgers smell and look, and you feel like a backyard hero.
After a few minutes, the fat from the burgers turns to liquid and begins to drip onto the heat trays beneath the grates, the heat trays that have caught the grease from the last 20 times you’ve cooked on the grill and that are already beginning to smoke from the heat of the burners. Another minute or 2 goes by, and now the grease from the burgers is catching fire as it hits the heat trays and the flames are leaping up through the grates and touching some of the burgers. You notice this and begin to flip the burgers, so the flames won’t burn the side of the meat that’s nearest the flame. But when you flip the burger, all the grease that has accumulated on top of the burgers drips down onto the heat trays and the bottom of the heater box, causing the flames to spread and go higher. Now, as the grill reaches maximum heat and the burners are all oozing grease, the flames are reaching up through the grates, emitting black smoke and charring the greasy burgers. Some of the patties catch fire and the flames continue to rise. You try to move the now burning patties away from the flames, but no matter where you move them to, the flames rise to meet the meat and the grease continues to feed the flames.
The neighbors watch in horror as their dinner is consumed by uncontrollable flames and black smoke. In an attempt to stop the flames, you turn the gas off, but the grease in the heater box and on the heat trays that has accumulated over several months continues to burn. As a last resort you grab your neighbor Dave’s bottle of Pliny the Elder and pour it onto the flames, temporarily putting them out and creating a cloud of steam with the rare and expensive beer that Dave was so proud to have brought. As the steam dissipates, everyone stares down at the hamburger patties that now resemble smoldering hockey pucks. Somewhere a neighbor child cries, and Dave, with his nearly empty beer bottle, snickers something about the fire department being on their way. In less than 6 minutes, you have been transformed from backyard hero to neighborhood zero.
What caused this unfortunate and all to common disaster, and how could it have been prevented? Outdoor grill fires are caused by excessive grease being heated to the point of combustion during the cooking process. The grease can come from fat melting during cooking or oil from marinades and sauces that drip off the food and into the heater-box below. Grease will start to smoke at 375⁰ – 450⁰ and will ignite at 450⁰ – 500⁰. If you cook with the lid down on your grill, you will reach these temperatures very quickly, often in the time it takes you to walk to the cooler and grab a cold drink. You can prevent a grease fire from occurring by cleaning and maintaining your grill. Cleaning the grease out of the bottom of the heater box and off the heat trays should be done every 1 to 6 months, depending on how often you use your grill. This is dirty and time-consuming work, so you will probably want to hire a grill cleaning service to come and handle the job for you. A grill cleaning service will have the proper tools and knowledge to clean and degrease your grill, extending the life of the grill and ensuring that the disaster described above never happens to you.
Another nightmare scenario is finding rodent droppings inside your grill. Mice and rats are attracted to the smell of the food and grease in your grill. They will often build nests in the heater box or cabinet underneath the grill. They gnaw on plastic coating of the electrical wires, causing the lights and ignition system to stop working. If you find rodent droppings, or any other sign of the presence of rodents in or around your grill, you will want an experienced grill cleaning service to come clean and disinfect your grill before using it again.
At Southern California Grill Cleaning, we clean, repair, install, assemble and maintain all brands of grills, including Lynx, Viking, Lion, Bull, AOG, Fire Magic, Weber, Napoleon, Hestan, Kalamazoo, Alfresco, AMG and more. We provide deep cleaning and surface cleaning services to keep your grill looking and cooking like new. As part of every cleaning job, we test all the components of your grill, including the gas valves, burners, ignition and gas lines. Any parts that are malfunctioning can usually be repaired immediately, or if the part needs to be ordered, we take care of ordering and will come back and complete the installation. We utilize a steam cleaner to remove all the grease from the heater box, upper and lower walls, heat trays, cooking grates, burners and lid. We also use a wire brush and power drill to remove any burnt-on carbon deposits from your cooking grates. In addition to removing grease, the steam kills all bacteria that may be present from the food particles left in and on your grill. After cleaning the interior components, we clean and polish the exterior of your grill and then test everything one final time.
So, do you need a grill cleaning service? If you want to use your grill to cook healthy, delicious meals and be the backyard hero, rather than the neighborhood zero, then yes, you need a grill cleaning service. For a grill cleaning service in Torrance, Palos Verdes, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and the rest of Los Angeles and Orange County, call us at 310-925-5971 or fill out our online service request. Remember, no one likes a filthy grill.