Mold is inevitable when using a grill, whether it’s a fancy smoker or a basic BBQ. This is because mold loves moisture and grease, making it the perfect breeding ground. Mold is far more likely to occur on a grill that has a cover. If your grill or smoker is made from metal, it’s pretty easy to get rid of a mold infestation.
Fortunately, the grill itself can be used in the cleaning process, thanks to the heat. Preheat your grill 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the right temperature (and to kill any bacteria). Your grill should be 400-450°F for high, 350-400°F for medium-high, 300-350°F for medium and 250-300°F for low heat.
- Put on a facemask, gloves, and any other PPE necessary. Disturbing mold releases spores into the air, which can be harmful if breathed in. Breathing in mold spores without a face mask may cause sinus issues and make you feel unwell.
- Remove any old charcoal, ceramic, briquettes, lava rock, or any other porous material remnants from the grill. Discard the charcoal and ashes into a fire-safe container outside, away from fences, buildings, and other flammable surfaces.
- Light up the grill. Make sure the heat is as high as possible to kill the molds and burn the accumulated grease. You will have to put a lot of fuel into this step.
- Allow the grill to cool completely.
- Once cooled, use a wire brush or a similar tool to scrape off all of the gunk and burnt grease and mold from your grill. If you don’t have a wire brush, a brillo pad or scourer will work too.
- Once you’ve finished scrubbing, use hot and soapy water to clean every part of the grill thoroughly. Once you are satisfied that the grill is spotless, rinse it.
- Finally, heat up your grill one last time. This is to burn any residual mold, soap, or grease, making sure that your grill is mold-free and ready for the summer.
How do I stop my grill from molding?
Mold is growing because there’s something for it to consume, the only way to prevent it from happening is to clean your grill more effectively, or carbonize it before the fire goes out. Remember, hot air is less dense, so as the BBQ cools it will draw air in, hence the spores. Once there they thrive in the sheltered and often damp conditions in a closed-up barbecue.
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to lessen the chances of mold forming on your grill in the future.
Arguably the most important thing to do to prevent mold is to scrub your barbecue clean before you put it away. But it’s also a good idea to think about where you’re storing it for the winter.
If your barbecue is staying outside, make sure you keep it away from direct sunlight. This is because once the temperatures begin to rise at the start of spring, mold can grow from any residual food left behind due to the temperature increase.
Additionally, you could consider storing your grill indoors. While we know that this isn’t always an option for everyone, but if you can leave your grill indoors, you definitely should.
A garage or shed makes the perfect spot, as they offer protection from the elements all year round. Try to select a spot that is out of direct sunlight and without any leaks or drips. Be warned, a shed or garage with a leaky roof is the perfect breeding ground for mold.
The best way to prevent mold from growing on your grill in the future is to clean it thoroughly after every single use. Once you’ve finished using your grill, carefully brush down the grates while they’re still hot. This is because the food particles will be warm and easier to remove. Use a towel or a scourer pad to remove any remaining burnt-on particles.
Is it safe to cook on a moldy grill?
Research shows that dirty grills, BBQs, and smokers contain a lot of bacteria. In fact, a recent British study found that the average grill contains twice as many germs as a toilet seat! This occurs when food particles are left to spoil on the grill and begin to grow mold.
If you notice mold on your grill, smoker, or BBQ, you must clean it before using it. If you use the grill while it’s moldy, the mold spores are likely to come into contact with your food, so you’ll probably end up eating them. While consuming small amounts of mold spores is unlikely to cause you any harm, it’s best avoided.
Some people are considered “mold-sensitive” which means that mold toxins are not rapidly excreted from the body thereby affecting all other organs in the body. If you have a history of mold exposure, toxic mold may be responsible for your stomach problems. That’s because mycotoxins, the toxic byproduct of some molds, as well as the immune response to mycotoxins can cause damage to your intestinal lining and harm your gut microbiome, leading to leaky gut.
If you happen to find mold in your grill, don’t panic. Clean out the mold by scraping it off of any surfaces it has grown on, and let your grill run on high for at least 15 minutes.