This is a cardinal rule
. Clean the grill.
Frankly, not doing so is downright disgusting.
I mean, think about it. A common error that is made is the assumption that the carbon deposits on the grill add flavor to the food you are cooking. Well, OK, that's not entirely an error, but let's think of what is on there if you never clean your grill.
Last week's jerk chicken.
That beer can chicken you had for Easter.
Some carne asada you cooked up for mother's day.
Ground beef from the hamburgers you cooked up on a whim some cold February morning.
Last summer's baby back ribs.
Are you getting sick yet?
Well, aside from that, the fact is that you probably don't want your hamburgers tasting like chicken - unless, of course, you're making turkeyburgers.
So as such, here's a few tips for keeping that grill clean.
* Brush it three times: when you light up, before you place your food, and after you serve the food. Use a wire brush.
* Use a non-stick cooking spray directly on the grill for things like steaks and burgers. Certain brands will have instructions for this, and suggest it anyway. Follow the instructions. It would probably help to not spray it over the open flame though.
* If the grill gets really dirty, use an oven cleaner of some sort. Easy-off is a common brand here in the United States. Make damn sure you clean it after the prescribed time; too soon and it won't work, too late and you're likely to forget, leaving you with lye flavored T-bone steak.
Other than that, you might have a few fairly clever ideas. I'd love to hear them, and will include them if you like.
rootbeer277 sez: "Grills are self-cleaning. Just turn it on as high as it will go and give it an hour or two." This will work damn good for a grill that's mainlined into your home's gas system (or an electric grill), and he notes that it probably applies to charcoal barbecues as well. Yeah, you have to heap on the coal every hour, but it's relatively inexpensive. Note you can do it for tanks of propane, but here in the US (where homes are mainlined to natural gas and propane comes at filling stations and supermarkets), that can be expensive and is considered wasteful.
happigirl sez: "Aussies often clean the plate on a BBQ using a can of beer on the hotplate - you pour it on, scrape and then rub with paper towels until it stops coming off black, adn then you add a bit more - the beer caramelises and makes the meat taste even better." I'm gonna have to try that one day for a steak, but I would imagine it applies specifically to unslotted grills - note she says "plate".