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Re: cleaning the cast iron grates and griddle
Try This.... Place the grates in a sink of hot, soapy water and let soak for 15-20
minutes. For tougher stains, add a cup of sudsy ammonia to the water.
Make sure grates are thoroughly dried after each cleaning. After the
cleaning process, Lightly coat the bottom of the
grates with a cooking spray and then blotting them dry. Or If you self clean the oven on occasion, put them in the oven when running the self clean cycle.
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This is taken verbatim from page 11 of my Frigidaire Gallery range:
"Seasoning, using and caring for the griddle Before first use:
-Wash griddle in hot soapy water. Rinse and dry completely.
-Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the entire surface (front and back of griddle).
-Preheat your oven to 350*F. Place the griddle on the upper rack in your oven.
-Bake griddle for 1 hour at 350*F, then turn oven OFF and let cool before removing.
-The surface may have a tacky feel to it from the seasoning process. If desired, wash the griddle in hot soapy water, rinse well, and dry completely.
Using the griddle:
Remove the center burner grate and carefully replace with the griddle (some models). Preheat the griddle for 5 minutes on medium to medium low setting. Slow preheat ensures even heat distribution during the cooking process.
DO NOT preheat the griddle on HI setting. Preheating on HI may warp the griddle and prevent even heat distribution.
After each use:
-To prevent rusting, store in a dry place and keep uncovered.
-After each use, clean with a stiff brush and hot water only.
-Do not clean griddle in the dishwasher.
-Dry immediately and apply a light coating of vegetable oil to griddle before storing.
Place them in the oven on self clean or if you do not have the setting, place all the parts into a black trash bag, spray oven cleaner on the surfaces and place the trash bag in the sun for a few hours. Rinse and spot clean the balance. This also works for re-seasoning cast iron pans (the bag thing). You may need a few applications for the pans....
Don't use oven cleaner! It isn't recommended by GE. Their book explicitly says to put the grates in a plastic garbage bag and pour a some ammonia into the bag. Tie the bag tightly so all the gas stays inside. Put in a garage in case it leaks because it can smell bad. Wait 24 hours and the stains will come off with a hose and some light rubbing. I didn't believe it at first but it works great! My wife loves our 'like new' oven.
I'm assuming it's for a gas stove... and we're talking about the grates on top. If so, check to see the texture of the part that touches the stove. If it's rough, like cast iron, Use a product like Gas Grate Cleaner. (sells at most stores. Grey, white, black and red container, looks like Comet.) If it's smooth underneath, put it in the dishwasher! Or soak it in the sink. Or, you can use the gas grate cleaner as well.
Inside racks? That Cleaner works awesome on them too.
glass cleaner WITH ammonia, and a small toothbrush works well. mop up with an old washcloth, rinsing often. for pieces which have gummy residue, and which can be removed to the sink for soap and water finsing afterwards, try GooGone.
This addresses the cleaning question only. I was a chef for 27 yrs.
Once the griddle surface has begun to rust, and this can and even will be the case on a new stove, you have to get agressive with it. You're going to use sanding tools and oil.
If the griddle top is heavily rusted, I use my electric palm sander fitted with fine emory paper (the black stuff that can get wet). Wet down the surface with a small amount of oil and work the sander evenly over the entire surface in rhythmic strokes from front to back or side to side. I don't have a scientific reason for this but my gut tells me not to work in circles or random strokes. Try to work the entire surface evenly to avoid creating high or low spots. Use a straight edged spatula or I use a dough cutter (flat edge of about 4" and available from culinary store for under $10) to cleanly scrape the dirty oil off the surface. Sand in shorter durations & clean often to avoid grinding dirty flavor into the surface.
Once you have it clean its time to season it. With a better oil focusing on flavor, spread a thin layer over the surface and cook at about 250 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes. Repeat this after every use until you build up a layer of cooked oil almost like enamel to resist rust between uses. This makes a teflon like finish to your griddle.
For regular use and cleaning scrape down immediately after cooking and while the griddle is still hot. When its cool use a hand sanding block you can get from the hardware store. The one I prefer is a firm sponge with emory paper wrapped around it. I store this in a bowl on the shelf above the stove because it is oily and dirty. Alternately you can also use rock salt and a kitchen rag to loosen food particles stuck to the griddle but this makes for messy laundry or throw away rags. We also use viengar or lemon juice and water to loosen food while the griddle is still hot or warm. NEVER USE SOAP!!!!!! You want your food to taste good don't you?
The oil used for cleaning can be anything with minimal flavor like canola oil but the oil used for seasoning the griddle should be a high heat type like sunflower.
Personally I only cook in black cast iron pans and the above method is how I treat them as well. Rock salt and water is all I ever need to clean them between uses.