Some of you may have heard about the recent push for BBQ lovers to stop using bristle brushes for cleanup. CBC had a segment about this during their afternoon show Here and Now. They even published an article about it. It seems that while bristle brushes are a fantastic way to thoroughly clean left over food debris from the grill, they pose a real health hazard. There have been numerous instances of tiny bristles coming loose and sticking to foods placed on the grill. Unfortunately, some of these bristles have become lodged in throats and other critical parts of the body. Like many of you, I love to BBQ. For my family and I, nothing beats a lazy afternoon in the backyard with some chicken and vegetables on the grill and Miss O kicking a ball around. However, this recent revelation was quite disturbing. How did you take it? I’ve always used a bristle brush because they’re so plentiful (they’re a standard tool when you buy a BBQ grilling set) and I’ve never given a second thought to other ways of cleaning up. But the recent news about the health risks got me thinking about other, safer ways of cleaning the grill. Here’s a list of really easy ways to effectively clean up your BBQ. If you’re a seasoned grill master and have additional ways to clean, please share them in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Use an Onion to Loosen Dried on Food
After you’ve finished grilling and while the BBQ is still hot, cut an onion in half and rub the cut side across the grill. This helps to loosen food stuck to the grill before it harden and dries. It’s a great way to start the cleaning process and can make cleaning a little easier to manage.
Use Aluminum Foil Paper
I tried this option this past weekend. After your grill has cooled down, take a foot long piece of aluminum foil paper and roll it into a ball. Scrub it across the grate to loosen dried or burnt food particles. I found it worked really well but I had to make about three balls before I felt satisfied that the food particles were completely removed. The only downside is if you have dry and hardened food stuck to the grill surface (if you don’t use the onion method – I didn’t). These particles can be much harder to scrub off so it’ll take a lot of elbow grease to remove them. I also removed my grates and washed them in soapy water to be sure all food debris was removed.
Once scrubbing was complete I pushed food scrapings into the drippings containing at the bottom of the BBQ and threw the contents in the garbage.
Clean with Scouring Pads
This is another effective way to clean. However, try to find the ones that aren’t made from metal. Using metal or wire pads will defeat the purpose of using an alternative cleaning method. Using pads that aren’t made of nylon runs the risk of leaving behind hard to see particles that could end up in your food. From experience, I can say that nylon pads work just as well as wire ones.
Soak Grates in Coffee
I recently heard about this one but haven’t tried it. I’ve heard it works well to remove stubborn dried on food. All of you have to do is brew A LOT of coffee and place the grates in a tub or garbage bag with the coffee and allow them to soak for about an hour. Once done, rinse off the grates and you’re all set.
If you can’t bare to use coffee this way (I see you coffee drinkers), then you can mix vinegar, water (or ammonia) and baking soda together instead. Place everything in a garbage bag and allow the grates to soak for up to 24 hours and then rinse them off.
Use a GrillStone
If you’d rather your cleanup be quick and easy, you can use GrillStones. They’re a little like the pumice stones you can use on dry skin. GrillStones are great for cleaning because they do a fantastic job of quickly removing dried on food. Over time they even begin to conform to the shape of your grates which makes cleaning even easier. They’re not toxic so you can rest assured that nothing will transfer onto your food.
Grease Your Grill
Finally, to reduce the amount of food debris left on your BBQ after grilling, start by greasing your grates with vegetable or canola oil before putting on food. Just like cooking in a pan, the grease will minimize sticking. This is especially true if you’re able to grill at a slightly lower temperature. Foods won’t burn quickly and they won’t harden due to the lower temperatures.