As a general rule, a kamado requires very little maintenance but there are a few things you can do regularly and some that need doing every so often to help maintain your grill.
INTERMITTENT CHECK TO CARRY OUT.
Just a few checks worth carrying out every so often
Check and maintain the grill bands. These are the metal bands that circle your grill and are attached to the lid hinge. Checking the tightness of the grill bands a couple of times a year to ensure that they haven’t started to work lose and give them a little tighten if required.
Once in a while the hinge tension will need to be adjusted, keep an eye on this and follow the procedure outlined in your manufacturer’s instructions.
The seals on a Kamado or gaskets, are seen as a wearable item and will only usually have a warranty lifespan of 1-2 years.
You should watch out for any wear on the seals between the dome and base of your kamado grill, if these were to perish, which they will over time, then the grill will not seal properly leading to reduced performance and ability to control the temperature of the grill.
Typically, the seal will wear first near the hinge. If the seal needs replacing the gaskets are readily available online and are easy to fit.
The enameled finish of your kamado helps insulate and protect the ceramic body of your Kamado. Although resilient to the weather, you can easily damage the finish by using harsh chemicals or a wire brush.
The best way to clean the outside is to wipe the glazed ceramic surface with a damp cloth using just water. Do not use any cleaning products.
The trays and other parts of the grill can be wiped down using a soapy water solution.
An all weather cover is one of the beset ways of helping protect you grill
Before each cook you should agitate any remaining charcoal from the previous cook using the ash tool so that the ashes drop through the bottom grate. Remove the ash pan, empty and replace. Removing the ash is important to help maintain the grills airflow
Also give the inside of your grill a quick brush down with a non-wire brush before doing a cook. Do not use any water or cleaning products inside your Kamado, the ceramic is absorbant and the chemicals can cause damage plus taint your food when cooking. The is designed to be self-cleaning so it needs nothing more than this before a cook.
You are now ready to add fresh fuel and cook.
After your cook, and in preparation for its next use, remove all food residue on the grates with a suitable hard bristled brush, (avoid cheap wire brushes as they have been known on occasion to lose bristles on your grate which can be dangerous).
HEAT DEFLECTOR CLEANING
If you don’t use a drip pan then you’ll quite quickly get a build of fat and drips from your cooks. It is important that they are regularly cleaned as they can be a common source of flare ups during a cook.
Simply scrape off any build up with a plastic scraper (not metal) and turn it over for the next cook so that the worse side burns off with the heat from the coals. Do not soak in water or use any cleaning chemicals on your heat deflector.
You can chose to wrap your deflector stone in foil so that it can be remover after a cook.
KAMADO DEEP CLEANING
From time to time (particularly after low and slow cooks) the inside of your kamado will get dirty, you may also find mould or mildew if you haven’t used the grill for a long time and your kamado probably needs more than just a sweep out. A simple deep clean would then be best to carry out which itself is very easy to do.
The deep clean process is simply about burning away the spills and bits stuck in your grill and the grates.
DEEP CLEAN PROCESS
- Place all components such as cooking grates and deflector plates in their allotted place in the grill.
- Heat up the grill with the lid closed and air vents/dampers wide open. Aim for about 500-600°F.
- Allow the grill to stay at this temperature for about 30 minutes, before then closing the vents and allow the grill to cool down.
- Once the grill has cooled, open the lid and remove the grill grates and deflector plates. The long exposure to the heat will have burned away much of the dirt and grease, but you will then have to use a grill brush to clean away the rest. Don’t use any soap, water or chemicals for this.
- Remove any coal inside the kamado, and then take out any other components in the grill (e.g. fire box).
- Remove any residual ash. This can most efficiently be done with a vacuum clean or a plastic bristled brush. Follow this up by using a slightly damp cloth or paper towel to pick up any stubborn ash.
- Remove the ash tray and empty it.
- Put all components back in the grill, place lid back on grill and your all ready to start again
Some Important Don’ts
Don’t use any chemical products to clean the ceramic grill, inside or out.
Avoid getting any of the ceramics wet such as the interior of the grill or deflector and pizza stone.
When doing a deep clean, build up the temperature gradually as you would with a cook to prevent the risk of damaging the ceramic of your kamado.
Do not use cleaning chemicals or soap and water on your deflector or pizza stone.
also, do not soak in water. It may cause it to crack with the next use.