There is nothing better than great food cooked outdoors with friends and family. The downside is the barbecue grill can get really dirty. Barbecue grates are notorious for having burned-on yucky build up, especially if barbecue sauce or other seasoning is used when cooking. Because of this, I recommend you clean the barbecue grill twice.
We clean our grill before and after barbecuing. You get good results cleaning the grate after because the grill is hot which makes scrapping gunk off much easier. We give the barbecue a quick clean before just to make sure it’s as clean as it can be before putting the meat on to cook.
Why Keep your Grill Clean
It’s much easier to clean if you do a quick clean right after using the barbecue.
Your food will taste better.
A clean grate will help to give your food the cool char lines (just like the picture).
Food debris stuck to the grate will mold and spoil and can cause illness.
The black char that sticks to the grate contain toxins that cause cancer.
Do NOT use a wire brush to clean your grill. If the brush is rusty, old, poorly made, the grate isn’t thoroughly inspected and wiped off after cleaning – or even just a random occurrence, the wire bristles can become dislodged, stick to the grate and can then end up on the food you eat.
Alternatives to Wire Brushes
Use a sturdy metal scraper, a paint scraper or putty knife that you dedicate for grill cleaning instead.
Scraping the Grill Clean
To get food residue off the barbecue grill a good scraper will be your best friend.
We turn the grill on high after the food is removed to help burn off any residue. You can do this either before or right after you have cleaned the still-warm grill.
It turns any remaining bits to ash which can be later wiped away. If you are using charcoal and don’t have that kind of temperature control, just put the lid on after removing the food to help dislodge the build up before trying to clean it after it’s cooled down.
Soaking Away Hard to Remove Residue
If you are still having problems cleaning your grill after scraping off the leftover food take the grate out of the grill and soak it in hot soapy water.
This will help moisten any stubborn food particles that would not otherwise come off.
This method is also good to clean the underside of the barbecue grate that are hard to reach while the grate is still inside the barbecue grill.
Cleaning the Grill with Vinegar
Another tip to stay green when cleaning your barbecue grill is to use a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water.
Many people already use a vinegar/water solution to clean around the house and you will enjoy a similar experience when using the solution to clean your barbecue.
All you have to do is spray on the solution, let it soak for a few minutes and then scrub off the residue.
As you can see, there are many natural ways to clean up a dirty barbecue grill fast.
Image Credits: Stainless Steel Grill Brush