How to clean rust on cast iron grill grates? Is it safe to eat from a rusty cast iron grill?
These questions are crucial to ask, whether at home, a park, or a friend’s party!
Grills or BBQs, we love them.
Whether you call it a grill, BBQ, or smoked food, the fact is, the name doesn’t change the taste. Anyone who loves this smokey, “charry” scrumptious, and mouth-watering goodness from the kitchen can confirm that!
But as with every good thing in life, you need to work for it.
What Do You Do With Your Rusty Cast Iron Grill?
To dish out a well-cooked, delicious-looking grilled food, certain things have to be done.
Apart from choosing between a cast iron grill grate against a cast iron grill griddle, selecting the best cleaning brush for it, seasoning it, or cleaning the grill grates and that is how to clean rust on cast iron grill grates, do you grill with a rusty cast iron grill?
But what if you’re in a location where cleaning isn’t a viable option, what do you do? Do you ignore the state of the rack, then go ahead and use the rusty cast iron grill? What do you do?
No need to stress, as we have prepared a well researched, and proven ways to handle rusty cast-iron grills, and if the situation permits, how to clean rust on a cast iron grill!
Is It Safe To Use A Rusty Cast Iron Grill As It Is?
The answer to this quest is an absolute NO, prohibodo, 不, neh, non! I could go on saying “no” in all the many languages I know (Yes, I’m a multilingual grill lover).
It’s unsafe to eat any form of metals unless, of course, you’re the dragon from the Legend of Galgameth, then, by all means, happy chewing!
But if you’re a two walking human, like everybody is, then no, it isn’t safe to cook on a rusty cast iron grill.
However, that doesn’t mean that the accidental ingestion of rust will send you straight to the Emergency ward.
Several sources have proven that the ingestion of a small amount of rusted metal won’t cause any health issues unless you consume an immense amount of rust.
What do you do when you’re out from the reach of the right grill cleaning tools?
Use Aluminum Foil
To avoid unnecessary consumption of rust, you should try placing a sheet of aluminum foil directly over the grill rack before placing your food to cook; the foil will create a barrier between your food and the rusty cast iron grill.
What Do You Do If You Have No Access To Foil?
Throw some rocks on it, and by that, I mean pebbles. The pebbles will offer an excellent heat-conduction when direct grilling isn’t an option, and by doing so, you have accidentally created a lava rock grill, well almost.
If you’re fortunate enough to have access to some essential grill cleaning tools, then there are many proven tricks that you can use to remove the rust cast iron grill grates at your home.
However, before we do that, why don’t we talk about why your beloved bbq rack turned into a rusty one, as this is important to avoid future occurrences.
How To Prevent Cast Iron Grills From Rusting?
It’s great to know how to clean a cast-iron grill, wouldn’t it be better not to let it rust? Here are some quick tips and ideas for maintaining your cast iron grill at an optimal state.
Clean after each use
This tip should not be a tip at all. It should be a prerequisite to owning a grill. Many people will forget about any form of cleaning after a barbecue, and some would close the grill lid and will only open it again the next time when they plan to barbecue.
Cleaning also reduces the appeal of barbecue grills to bugs and rodents; you wouldn’t want to grill a rodent’s feces together with your food.
Cleaning can also help the grill keep the seasoning (though it’s highly recommended always to season your bbq rack before each session), and, of course, having a clean bbq rack can also make the food non-stick.
Finally, Proper cleaning of the grill will not only help prevent rust, but it will also make the grill grate last much longer.
Avoid Washing In The Dishwasher
You probably didn’t know, but water is the leading cause of rust.
Prolonged contact with water can cause the grill to rust. After cleaning, be sure to dry the rack as soon as possible.
Washing your rack with a dishwasher will expose it to water for a long time, the water combined with soap from the dishwasher is a sure and speedy way to rust.
Avoid Soap Or Any Soapy Detergent
This one is a hot/cold pizza kind of debate, as different grill lovers will probably have different opinions about the use of soap on a cast-iron grill. Some people think that soap breaks down the oil and destroys the seasonings on the rack. Others believe that these oils have been heated so many times they become polymeric and can be safely exposed to soap.
This debate is still going on, but until there’s a conclusive answer, my grills will not be going near soap or my dishwasher.
I advise you to do the same with yours unless you want to spend your valuable time to remove rust from cast iron grill.
Additional Tips On How To Prevent Rust
- Season with an oil brush after each use
- Keep the damper slightly open to avoid condensation in the grill
- Cover or put the lid back on the grill when not in use
- If you need to store the grill for a long time, apply cooking oil to the racks, then wrap it in a plastic bag and store it in a covered grill
Say you didn’t give much thought about maintaining your grill, and now it is all rusty.
How do you remove the rust from it? It’s simple, really, and I’ll tell you how.
How To Remove Rust From Cast Iron Grill Grate?
It’s essential to learn how to know how to clean rust on cast-iron grill like discussed above, and this is to avoid unnecessary ingestion of rust metal.
There are several ways to remove rust and old food debris from a rusty cast iron grill grate. There are easy and quick ways to get rid of the rust, but like everything in life, there always a harder, longer to do it.
Quick And Easy Ways To Remove Rust From Cast Iron Grill
One. Use Your Grill Cleaning Brush
You must have read my article on the best grill cleaning brush for cast iron grill, but in case you didn’t, I’d advise you to read it when you have the time.
The best way to clean a cast-iron grill is to use a medium-soft brass brush. These brushes are made explicitly for cast iron barbecue racks. They are soft enough and will not cause any damage to the cast iron, yet strong enough to get rid of the rust, other debris, and dirt.
Two. Use Aluminium Foil
Using the grill brush is the best and safest way to clean a grill grate, but if you have no access to a grill brush, then aluminum foil is an option too.
Put a piece of aluminum foil pellets together, and then rub the foil on it vigorously along the grille of the oven, but be careful to avoid scratch and cuts from the grille, or put on a grill glove.
Finally, if you’re out camping and unfortunately forgot to take your grill cleaning brush with you, then the only option left to try now, is silica!
If you didn’t realize it, I was referring to sand, yes sand!
Just rubbing the grill against a pile of sand should quickly get the grease, rust, and food debris off after two to three scrubs.
However, you must remember to wash the grill with clean water after successfully using sand to get rid of the rust.
AS promised, these steps below the harder ways to clean your rusty cast iron grill, and they include:
Wipe the rusted area with vigorous pure white vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes. Then rub the area with a wire brush or aluminum foil “ball” and rinse with water. Vinegar is a weak acid and an excellent cleaner for the grill, as it is very safe to eat if some remain on the rack while cooking.
Measure out half a cup of baking soda and add a little water. Continue stirring and adding a small amount of water until it forms a thick paste.
Rub the paste on the grill, let it stand for about an hour, and then scrub it with a wire brush or aluminum foil ball. Rinse off when done.
Kosher Salt Paste
If you find that you need a product that is stronger and more abrasive than baking soda, then the next step is to make kosher salt and water into a paste. Once again, rub the dough onto the affected area, but this time you don’t need to let it scrub directly with a wire brush or aluminum foil ball. Rinse and repeat as needed.
After successfully removing rust on cast iron grill using the last step now, is to “season” the bbq rack.
Seasoning is essential to prevent food from sticking on the grill, and of course, to avoid future rust!
You have learned how safe it is to eat from a rusty cast iron grill, how to prevent cast iron from rusting, and how to get rid of the rust when that happens.
You deserve a bonus, wouldn’t you say so?
Now for the bonus round!
How to season a cast iron grill grate
- Make sure the grill is closed, and the oven is cold.
- Apply high heat cooking oil to the surfaces of the grill rack
- Wipe off excess oil.
- Heat all burners on the grill for 18 minutes or until the oil starts to smoke.
- After the grill has cooled down, add a thin layer of oil to the grill to prevent rusting.
And this is it!
What are your thoughts on “how to clean a rusty cast iron grill grate?” What other methods have you used that worked for you?