The Big Green Egg has one purpose in life and that is to make you proud.

Actually it’s just a kamado ceramic cooker but you’re here to baby that beauty and that means taking care of it to pass on to the next generation of BBQ enthusiasts. The more time you put in to clean and maintain your EGG, the more enjoyment you will get from your upcoming smoking, grilling and baking experiences. So let’s talk about how to clean it right!

scrubbing big green egg grill surface with brush
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Why Keep The Big Green Egg Clean

There’s a good reason the Big Green Egg has been around for a half-century. It has a proven track record of making delicious dishes and looking good in the process. Owners like you have helped extend their life and the quality of meals with regular cleaning. Here’s why:

Peak Flavor

Remove all traces of the last BBQ cookout, and you have pure startup conditions to bring together all of that mouth-watering taste and flavor for your next signature entrée dish. A little scrubbing and wiping will go a long way to ensuring the best BBQ food.

Max Efficiency

The oval design and the adjustable top and bottom vents of a kamado cooker are intended to maximize airflow for even heat distribution as you smoke, grill and bake. Ash cleanout means optimal airflow at any setting you desire, so you’ll want to remove obstruction. Gasket checkups help ensure no heat leakage.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Limited effort for each cleanup means limited effort the next time. If you skip cleanings, then you’re guaranteed to have a harder chore down the line. Just make it part of your regular charcoal barbecue routine.

Beauty and the Beast

The Big Green Egg is both. It’s a beautiful piece of art on your deck or in your backyard, expertly crafted with a stunning finish, and you can help keep it that way for a long time by keeping it shiny and protected. It’s also a beast when the flame begins, and you want to unleash that power by helping it run right.

Steps to Clean You Big Green Egg

The first couple of cleaning steps come right after you’ve finished cooking and eating. Every new cookout delivers its own pure flavor thanks to your choices of proteins, vegetables and seasoning blends, so you don’t want to carry over your shrimp recipe to next week’s steak kabobs. A warm grill means that oils and food debris are easiest to remove. After all, you wouldn’t leave a mess from food on your stovetop after cooking!

SOS safe scrubber

1. Buy a Safe Scrubber

Get a good and durable grill brush to clean the BBQ grid right after each use. The BGE brand sells its own palmyra bristle dual brush grid, but I’ve found that the SOS stainless steel version is an excellent and affordable choice. It’s bristleless with an oversized head and will not leave metal fragments for future cooks. Just check the condition after repeated uses and then replace it after common sense wear and tear. Pizza stones typically take on a darker and stained look over time, and that’s normal so show it proudly.

2. Wipe the Grid Surface

With the grid still warm and the scrub brush step done, wipe the grid with a clean and damp towel. Use the other side of the towel to wipe any ceramic surface as needed. Then close the EGG lid and vents and let it cool naturally, and then cover after each use. It will be clean and ready to start all over for your next backyard barbecue!

removing big green egg cooking surface

3. Remove Cooking Surfaces

Now you’re all set to BBQ again. Every 3-5 EGG cooks, remove any existing ash. Start by using the Big Green Egg grid grip tool that easily twists 90 degrees so you can simply lift the cast iron cooking grid and set it aside.

ash shakeout on big green egg

4. Ash Shakeout

Make sure the charcoals and ash are cool. Have a stiff paper bag or bucket handy, and with a gloved hand scoop out any leftover lump charcoal in the fire box for temporary removal. Lift the smaller fire grate and gently shake it and dust off so any ash falls below.

removing ash from big green egg

5. Ash Removal

Use an ash removal tool, one of three sizes offered by the brand: 2XL and XL; Large and Medium; and Small, Mini Max and Mini. Then holding up your ash removal pan to the open draft door, use your removal tool to scoop out any ash and toss it into your bag or bucket. Kamado Joe’s ash removal process is more efficient, but Big Green Egg ash removal isn’t far behind. See our full Kamado Joe vs. Big Green Egg breakdown here.

Tip: Stainless Steel Fire Bowl

To speed the ash removal process up, you can insert one of these bowls into the EGG’s standard ceramic fire box. It has two handles and you can simply lift the leftover charcoal fuel out with your hands and shake out the ash into the trash and put it right back. Even better, it has maybe 60-70 holes instead of the ceramic fire box’s handful of holes, thus speeding up startup temps. I keep telling myself to do this and probably will one day.

returning charcoal to big green egg

6. Return the Elements

Reposition the fire grate and then return the leftover lump charcoal. You can top it with more charcoal and wood chips at this stage if you want, but I prefer to wait until the next cook so it avoids any humidity seeping into the charcoal on the days in-between.

wiping down interior of big green egg

7. Interior Wipedown

Residual grease is generally removed from the interior ceramic casing each time you crank up the heat in future cooks, but you still might want to occasionally wipe down the inside ceramic components as needed. That includes the standard fire ring and fire box, plus the convEGGtor if you added one. Just be sure to use extreme care when handling any of these items and set them aside on a safe and soft surface such as cardboard. Then replace the objects safely, along with the cooking grid or other surfaces.

8. Exterior Cleaning

Every now and then, use a safe and non-corrosive spray such as Big Green Egg’s SpeediClean exterior ceramic cleaner and a soft towel to wipe down any dust and grease on the green casing. You can use mild detergent and a non-abrasive, damp cloth. Big Green Egg also offers a non-scratch formula stain remover to get rid of any stubborn stains. Keep that gleaming grill shiny so you can show it off.

big green egg metal band

9. Hardware Checkup

Routinely tighten the nest bolts and nuts on the outer ring of your EGG, especially after the first few uses. Keep 7/16 and 1/2 inch wrenches handy for tightening. The heat-sealing gasket on your Big Green Egg should last for years, but you may need to replace it from time to time. Be sure to check at least once a year for wear and tear to avoid heat leakage that can prevent you from maintaining optimal cooking temps. You can buy these gasket kits at most any Big Green Egg dealer, and there’s an easy video for replacement. Overbites and leaks caused by faulty outer band positioning could speed up gasket degradation.

10. Spring Cleaning

While you need to perform regular maintenance and Big Green Egg cleaning, it’s always wise to give it a thorough checkup and cleaning once each year. During spring cleaning, take out the inside ceramics and use a shop vac and ash tool to remove any hidden ash behind the fire box on the sides of your barbecue smoker.

11. Storage

Store your Big Green Egg smoker in the safest place possible. Ideally that is in a cool and dry space. Mine is on our back deck in Florida, so I opt for the most durable cover. Just do whatever it takes to keep your EGG clean, your EGG will love you back for years and years.

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About Mark Newman

Mark has 20-plus years of BBQ experience working on just about every device and cooking medium.

He is a crafted expert on open fire cooking.

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