Just like every other type of grill, kamado also requires regular cleaning and making sure it’s clean and functional. If you’re wondering how to take proper care of a kamado smoker so that it’s in a great shape every day, you came to the right place.
First let me discuss the basic activities that every kamado owner has to perform regularly in order to keep their kamado grill in a perfect shape and ready for the next cooking.
Basic Care and Maintenance for Kamado
Before I move on to a detailed description of how to get a kamado grill thoroughly cleaned, I’d like to remind of few basic maintenance activities that each owner of a kamado should perform regularly. Of course, all of that is to keep your kamado in a great condition.
It is one of those activities that have to be performed regularly. It is the best to clean the kamado of ash after each cooking, but if you don’t have time or don’t feel like it and there’s not much ash, you can do it after the next cooking.
Why is this important? Ash clogs air vents and thus limits air access, which is required for the charcoal to burn properly. Luckily, cleaning a kamado of the ash is very easy, which is why it is better to do this after each cooking.
So let’s get right to it, follow the tips below.
- 1Stir the remains of the leftover charcoal so that the ash falls through the holes in the fire grate right onto the ash drawer.
- 2Then in order to get to the ash drawer you need to open the lower draft door. Hidden behind them is the ash container, which has to be removed and emptied. I recommend putting some other container or a bucket under the draft door in order to catch the residue ash.
- 3Once you have emptied the ash drawer, all you have to do is put the ash container back in its place. Was that simple? Of course it was.
There’s nothing complicated about that, which is why I suggest removing the ash after each cooking because, as you can see, it’s a very simple task. Thanks to the innovative use of an ash drawer, there’s nothing bothersome about ash, as it used to be the case with older models of charcoal grills without an ash drawer.
In the event you haven’t cooked on your kamado in a long time, there is a risk that your grill might develop mold on different elements of it, like the grates or the internal wall of the ceramics.
In such situation you should not use any chemical agents, kamado grills are self-cleaning – how does it work? What to do when there is mold? Follow all the below steps in order to successfully eliminate mold from the grill without using any cleaning agents.
- 1Get the charcoal burning, then put on the grates and the panels of the heat deflector.
- 2Open all the air vents all the way and close the lid. Leave the grill like that for a longer while until it reaches high temperature ( about 600 degrees F ).
- 3When you reach the desired temperature, try to maintain it for 15-20 minutes. After that time, close the bottom air vent and wait for another 15-20 minutes, then close the top air vent.
- 4Then let the grill cool down, once it’s cool, grab a brush and clean the grates.
This method allows to burn away all the undesired remains inside the grill without using chemical cleaning agents. It’s a natural method that eliminates the problem in 100%.
Remember not to use water or chemical agents if you want to clean ceramic plates or a pizza stone.
Problems with hinges, Heat Deflector and Pizza Stone Cleaning
If you have any problems with any of those things, you should definitely read the instructions available on this website. Let me just briefly remind what you cannot do with ceramic stones such as Heat Deflector or Pizza Stone, the list of forbidden things is below.
- 1Do not use water or soap and do not submerge ceramic stones in water. All those things can cause the stone to simply break
- 2Do not preserve and do not use oils on the ceramic surfaces of stones
- 3Do not use ceramic stones for cooking on an oven.
- 4Do not use any chemical cleaning agents.
What to do, then? You have two options to choose from.
Method no. 1
If one side of a stone is dirty then flip it over during the next cooking. That way the fire and high temperature will burn away all the remains and stains from the previous cooking through a direct contact with the dirty side of the stone.
Method no. 2
First let the ceramics cool off completely.
Then grab a soft brush ( preferably a nylon one ) and gently brush off everything on the plate.
Very important! Only keep ceramic plates/stones in a dry place. That’s the proper way to take care of ceramic plates and stones.
Deep cleaning of a kamado grill
For example, it’s been few months since you started cooking on your kamado. Over that time, you have been regularly removing ash from the ash drawer and cleaning the grill grates, but your grill doesn’t look as good as before after all those months.
What to do, then, to make the grill shiny as new again? Depending on how often you cook on a kamado, the entire grill should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a year ( preferably twice ).
When it comes to kamado, it’s a simple activity because those are grills that are self-cleaning for the most part. Below I will guide you step by step throughout the entire process of thoroughly cleaning a kamado.
- 1First thing you need to do is get the charcoal burning, then place all the cooking areas inside the grill, like heat deflector rack with deflector and ceramic pizza stone as well as grilling grates.
- 2Close the grill’s lid and let the grill warm up to a high temperature ( about 650-700+ degrees F ). Once the grill reaches the required temperature, wait for about half an hour.
- 3After 30 minutes, open all the air vents all the way and allow the grill to simply cool down. Additionally, now you can clean the grill’s grates and ceramic stones with a soft brush. What is all of that for? High temperature burns away all the undesired remains inside the grill and on all the surfaces such as ceramic stones, plates or grill grates without using any chemical agents.
- 4Once the grill has completely cooled down, you can move on to the next stage which is a thorough kamado cleaning. First remove the remaining charcoal, then carefully take out all the elements from the inside the grill ( fire ring and fire box ).
- 5Then remove the residue ash you will find inside the grill. It is most convenient to do it with a vacuum cleaner, alternatively you can use a slightly damp cloth ( never clean a grill with water, especially the ceramic elements such as pizza stone etc ! ).
- 6Finally, clean the ash drawer of the ash and put back all the elements where they belong ( fire box, fire ring, heat deflector etc ).
That’s it – wasn’t that an easy task ? As you can see, a kamado grill & smoker is a self-cleaning grill for the most part, but once in a while it’s a good idea to give it a good cleaning of the ash and food remains.
That way you can restore the grill to a great condition, like right before starting another BBQ season.
BBQ and grilling are my biggest passions.