Virco Disappointment

lew0409August 12, 2002

I have seen all the great things about the Virco grill that everyone has written, but I am having some problems.

I am having problems with sticking. Serious problems with sticking. So much so, that the meat rips when I try to turn it. Then the what is left get baked on to the grill.

Also, I am finding it hard to clean, inside and out. What is everyone else doing?

I am really considering returning it and getting my money back. I was hoping this would be the grill to end all grills, but I am having too many problems with it.

Any advice or help would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just out of curiousity, when you say your having too many problems, are there more, or is the sticking the primary one? I can tell you that on fatty foods, my own experience is that I simply place the food on the preheated grill and wait for half the cooking time. Once that time has passed, the food releases just fine and flips easy enough. No offense, but are you waiting for the grill to get good and hot? Are you trying to turn the food to soon? Also another thing that I do, is with less fatty foods, I rub them with olive oil first and I have no sticking problem whatsoever. When I first got the grill, I used to have this problem as well, I had to learn how to cook differently. I used to always try and flip my food WAY to much. Now, I usually just turn it once or twice, using a nice spatula so as to not pierce the food. I have found that by turning the food less often and cooking on high heat, I actually get a more tender, juicy end result.

As far as the cleaning goes, I think that with a stainless steel grill, you are cerainly going to see the dirt and grime easier than a black or painted grill (goes with the territory), but there are some good cleaners that I have read about and used with great success. For the outside, use a product called "Bar Keepers Freind". This should remove most, if not all, of the grime and discoloration. You can use it with a scotchbrite pad in the direction of the "grain". To finish the outside, use "Stainless Steel Magic". Once you do, your grill will look like new again.

The inside is a whole different story and I think everyone has a different opinion on this and here is mine. I really don't know what all of the fuss is about cleaning the inside. I have heard people talking about soaking the grates in ammonia filled bags, scraping everything off, using cleansers on the entire inside and tons of other stuff. I REALLY don't get it, I mean, it's a GRILL, with fire inside! These aren't going to look like new, unless you never use it, and in my opinion, a new grill does not produce nice tasting food like a well seasoned grill. The only thing you need to worry about, is when your done cooking something, just crank the burners up to high for about 10 minutes. This will burn everything, or most everything off the SS plates, then use a nice stiff wire grill brush and knock off the debris from the grates. When the brush cools down, toss it in the dishwasher to remove any bacteria. Before you cook anything, turn your grill on high for 5-10 minutes, then use the brush again before you put your food on the grates. There won't be any bacteria or anything else left behind that can hurt you, just good flavor. What you WILL have is a nicely seasoned barbecue that, after more use, will taste better and better. Once in a while empty and clean the drip pan, that's about it. I don't mean to seem so forward with my opinion, but it just seems like so many people are "over the edge" when it comes to cleaning the inside of the grill. What I have found is that when I do my brushing of the grates before cooking, there is a nice oily residue from previous cooking that also helps in the food not sticking. With cooking on high, as I do, around 500-600 degrees, there is no way you are going to have a bacteria problem, so enjoy your grill, clean the outside to look as nice as you want, but don't worry about the inside SO much, keep everything burned off to help eliminate flare ups, and brush the grates and enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2002 at 3:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree 100% with bsbbq. My stainless steel grates are black and have a nice crust on them and it took quite a few sessions to get them that way. Why would you want to ruin the seasoning. By using a gas grill technically you are giving up some of that BBQ flavor that you would get from a charcoal grill so any extra "seasoning" on the grates, etc. should be left on IMHO. Just turn the burners up after each session and burn off the excess.
I also agree that you may not be preheating enough. You need to get the grates good and hot prior to putting on the food to make sure you sear the outside quickly. Then reduce the heat after a couple of minutes.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2002 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's all in your grilling technique. Not the grills' fault if the food is sticking. Grills are like fireplaces - they get black inside. It's the nature of being a grill. :)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2002 at 6:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just used my Vico on Sat night. It made teriffic burgers! I followed the advice and "seasoned" the grill, also letting it heat up well. Nothing stuck, and it seared the juices in fine even on well done burgers. I can't wait to try it out on a steak.

Just one question though. I'm having a slight problem with the hood scraping the left side of the body as I open and close it it. If I lift on the right side of the handle it "tweeks" the lid just enought to clear. What does anyone suggest? I thought of removing the hood and try "tweeking" it a bit to change the clearance or can I use a dremel to grind the hood a bit to create more clearance? Does stainless steel lend itself to that or will I create burrs? Otherwise an outstanding grill! Thanks.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2002 at 6:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I thought I was an ingrate because I do not clean the inside of my grill and specifically the grates either. I have porcelin coated grates and I know that cleaning them incorrectly can damage them (using a wire brush or cleaning them when hot), so I solved that problem by not cleaning them and we are both happy. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who is not anal about cleaning the grates, but I might actually clean them once before winter. I also subscribe to the strategy of just turning over the heat plates to clean them, but I have not even gotten around to that yet either. Ok, yes, I'm not your model grill owner.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2002 at 7:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


To clean your grids well and very easily, place a piece of foil, double thickness across the whole top of the cooking grids, across the entire surface. Turn the heat up to high and close the lid. Give it 10 to 20 minutes depending on the grill that you own and how high the temperature gets to.

Turn off the grill and remove the foil. What will be left of the sediment is a white ash. Just wipe off when cool.

I have a DCS grill that gets really hot and stainless steel grids. Sediment is reduced to ash in about 10 minutes.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2002 at 8:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So, what are the odds our disappointed friend, who first registered August 11, is none other than the diplpcgepea entity, whose last alias apparently has been locked out?

On the other hand, I would think a certified grill expert would know how to prevent sticking.

Try a thin coating of olive oil on the cool grill before cooking. Use high heat only to sear the outside of the meat, then turn down the burner(s) to finish off the cooking.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2002 at 10:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lew0409, the best advice here is from BBSQ. There is no doubt that stainless grates are somewhat less forgiving initially. They will "season" just fine with repeated use. Also, brushing a light coat of canola or corn oil on the grates just before you place your food to be cooked on there will help the process along. A little patience and following some of the others advice and you'll be glad you found this forum and purchased your Virco.

The other outcome is you return it and some lucky Costco member gets a nearly new Virco at a discounted price!

Mr. Spambham, a swing and a miss. Wrong again. Strike two!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 6:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Food will stick to most grills when they are new. I did not get upset with my purchase because I knew that time would season the grates. I have had my Virco for several months, but have only used it about 10-12 times. The seasoning process is still evolving, but the sticking is less prevalent.

The cleaning of the exterior is very easy. Just follow bsbbq's instructions. Ann's technique for the grates sounds like a great way to do a heavy cleaning.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 9:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yeah, I suspect this is a troll... but on the off chance that lew needs help...

What are you trying to cook Lew? If it's something with very little fat in it, it's going to tend to stick on any cooking grate that is very clean and has no oil or 'seasoning' built up on it.

I think all the advice given so far is very good... I have a brand new grill, not a Virco but I am confident the Virco is not the problem in Lew's case.

Last night I put some brand new stainless steel cooking grates on my Great Outdoors grill... First I cleaned them in soap and water, let them dry, brushed some olive oil on them, cranked the grill up to high for about 5 minutes and closed the lid. When I came back to put the food on, the new grates had a nice dark brown color to them, from the Olive oil getting cooked onto them. I cooked two steaks, two skewers of shrimp, a peice of corn on the cob, and two zuchini halves, and none of it stuck to the grill.

When I fliped the steaks for the first time, there was some minor sticking so I used a spatchula and slid it between the meat on the grate and fliped. The corn never stuck a bit, nor did the zuchini. The shrimp I had basted with butter, and it too never stuck.

Afterwords I used a stainless steel brush and cleaned off some of the BBQ sauce that had baked onto the grates... The new grates are now a healthy brownish black color, and are ready for my next grilling session.

A perfectly spotless cooking surface, free of all oils is your enemy... If you should ever clean your cooking grates that well, you'd better put some cooking oil on them and let them heat up with the oil on it, to season the grates... Your better off never cleaning it to that degree again.

If you still have problems with food sticking too much... by all means take your grill back (if you can), and go out to eat at a nice resturant, or go inside and cook on teflon coated pans, if they are not all scratched up.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Without being sarcastic like some others are sounding, I think bsbbq summarized it best. I too was turned off by the mess that seemed to quickly accumulate from cooking on stainless steel but then realized I like the large cooking surface, I like the rot. and rear burner, I like the electronic ign. I like the side burner for when I do want to use it, I like what seems to be a solidly built grill that should take a very long time to wear out. Both my brother-in-laws have the stainless Wilmington that they love to slow cook on..I like the Virco because I can do both. Oh...they also every year or so spray theirs down with oven cleaner, let it soak and garden hose it off. They told me it ususally requires two applications but does a very nice clean up on the grill. I have seen the results and when I get down that road I intend to do the takes off nearly all the build up. Look at it this way, you could take it back in a year or so if you are dissatisfied with its performance (assuming you got it new from Costco). I aggree with bsbbq, the only way it will stay like new is if you dont use it. Stainless or not though I still think the burners will tend to wear out in 8 to 12 years. Thats just part of direct cooking, Virco knows it and thats why they can't warranty the burners more than 5 years but that's reasonable to me!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just purchased a Virco Gas Grill However, all the units had an Dent on the front panel over the third dial from the left. Is this normal ? I opened two at Costco and they all had the same dent ??? Can any one else confirm this ?


    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 3:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for everyone's feedback. I will follow the instructions from bsbbq. I upgraded from a sunbeam with ceramic grates that were well seasoned. I used it all year long to bake, cook and bbq, so I was used to a whole different kind of cooking. I was under the assumption that it was supposed to be clean to get maximum performance. I will work on getting my grates seasoned.

I had another disappointment that I didn't list earlier, but is not consequential. The upper self will not support a pie or cassarole dish. I use them to bake breads and desserts, etc. for the meal. It is nice to cook the whole meal outside when it is hot.

My sunbeam had two additional shelves and they worked great for the baking part of the meals. But, that is a design issue, and I will work around it. The shelf is great for potatoes, veggies and browning buns, I have found.

For those of you who asked, I cook everything (as the preceding paragraph reveals). But, when they are not in a dish, they are all cuts of meat and poultry. Some lean and some not so lean. The non-lean cuts stuck the most, even with a lipid (usually in a marinade) on the the meat. I will test the advice and return with an update.



PS - This is not another poster trying to get back in. It was a new Virco owner that wants to keep the grill and use it effectively. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Lew, mind sharing some recipies or suggestions on cooking the taters, bread, pies and such for the rest of us. Mi esposa would love for me to do an entire meal outside. It's been 105 here lately and my relatives are coming Friday night for a b-day dinner we are hosting. I'd love to give my lady a break by taking over the cooking chore and doing it outside all at once. Thanks, and good grilling!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 4:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I'm not sure where you got the info that lead you to beleive that stainless somehow worked better if kept really clean. Where ever you got that, it is wrong. Stainless is really no differnt then any other grill material, except for the fact that if you want to, you can easly clean it... That is you can use nearly anythinng to clean it, and your not likely to harm the Stainless itself... that does not mean that cleaning it makes it better.

As I have said before, my experiance on brand new stainless is that if you put a little oil on it and heat it up good, even just once before you start cooking on it, it should work as good or better then any other grilling surface.

I've never attempted to do anything other then grill on a grill... I can see how being able to cook nearly anything on a grill would be nice... I guess I've just never been that adventursome...

Stainless does have one draw back... in tht it is one material that is hard to modify. I mean you can drill holes in it and connect things to it with nuts and bolts, but anything more elaberate then that gets difficlult...

    Bookmark   August 14, 2002 at 11:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


mine had the dent also, but my friend's (who bought at the same time from the same place) did not. I called Virco, they will be sending me a new front panel when they get one in which they expected would be a couple of weeks. It's not keeping me from cooking so that is fine. It's interesting to here your story though as I was sure it wasn't me who dented it (pulling it out of the van and all) but had that slight doubt. Now I can rest completely assured it came that way.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2002 at 3:26PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
what equipment should be bring in Barbecue
I'm going to and my friends crazy once before back...
Front Avenue grill at Costco
Do you know anything about this grill? Not sure what...
Ignighter problem with Weber or Dukane Gas Grill
Ignitor Problem with Weber or Dukane Grill- I have...
Windbreak for BBQ
We live in an area that is extremely windy at times....
Member's Mark Gas Grills Part 3 (Continued Discussion)
This discussion thread is about the Member's Mark stainless...
Sponsored Products
Filament Design Pendant Lights Coit 1-Light Bronze Mini Pendant CLI-MS4072010
Home Depot
Talista Wall Mounted 1-Light Outdoor Antique Bronze Wall Lantern with Frosted
$29.91 | Home Depot
Filament Design Pendant Lights Coit 1-Light Satin Nickel Mini Pendant
$54.60 | Home Depot
Sea Gull Lighting Pendant Lights Parkview 1-Light Antique Brushed Nickel Mini
Home Depot
Filament Design Pendant Lights Coit 4-Light Satin Nickel Pendant CLI-MS4052609
Home Depot
Trumpeted Square Antique Gold 86-inch to 120-inch Double Curtain Rod
$70.38 | Bellacor
Filament Design Other Outdoor Items Twist Production 1-Light Outdoor Yellow
Home Depot
Filament Design Pendant Lights Coit 1-Light Satin Nickel Mini Pendant
$94.50 | Home Depot
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™