If we had to rank chores from extremely annoying to just mundane, cleaning the grill would be at the top of that list. Charcoal under your fingernails? Grease on your shirt? Yeah, it’s the last thing any of us want to spend a Saturday doing (let alone a Saturday when it’s 80 degrees and sunny). Unfortunately, if you live for a summer backyard barbecue, there’s no other way around it. But could we at least make the task quicker and easier?
We went looking for ideas on Reddit, where real people get really serious about how to clean odd household objects (ceiling fans included). After perusing various grilling-related threads, we discovered that there are five primary cleaning methods Redditors approve of (each one dependent on how much time you’re willing to sacrifice or how much filth you’re dealing with). Below, we outline each approach.
An Overnight Soak
Let time do the heavy lifting. “Try soaking the grate in a garbage bag with white vinegar overnight,” suggests Reddit user Swyggled.
Redditor donetski87 prefers a similar method for grimy grates, letting them hang out in a solution of vinegar, ammonia, and a dash of baking soda: “My grates came out brand-new and no scrubbing required, just wiped right off. Use a heavy-duty bag, though, as I found my thinner ones split in places and wasted some of the solution.”
Let It Burn
With nearly 65 up votes in r/AskCulinary, it’s clear that heat is one of the simplest ways to maintain a spotless grill. “Last time I did mine, I put foil on top of the grates and set the temperature on high until it stopped smoking—for about 10 minutes,” says user firemogle.
Similarly, you can also try putting the grates in a self-cleaning oven, says another contributor. “Turn on the self-cleaning option and let it work overnight. In the morning all you’ll have to do is wipe the dust from the grates and inside of your oven with a damp paper towel,” says Moonlightgroove.
An Intense Exfoliation
If jacking up the heat post-barbecue doesn’t fully do the job, grab a tough brush. “Pick yourself up a stainless steel wire-bristle brush and use it right after you’re finished cooking to scrape off the leftover food while the grill grate is still warm,” says Swyggled.
Use it with caution and swap it out for a new one every one to two seasons, Swyggled adds. (After some wear and tear, the tiny steel bristles can fall off into the grill and even get into your food.) As an alternative, other commenters suggest using a piece of wood to scrape off the residue. “I just washed off a cedar plank after grilling salmon and have been using that. It works great,” says Redditor Snead.
You can also use a nylon brush, hints Karl264, but only on a cold grill, as the bristles can melt when exposed to high heat.
A Bubble Bath
While there are a few different methods for wiping down the cooking grate or warming rack, there’s no real workaround for cleaning out the interior burner. You have to dismantle the piece and dive in. “Disconnect the gas, remove the burner assembly, and scrape out the inside,” says user rodijon_kjd. “As long as everything is apart, soak your burners in soap and water.”
When it’s time to stow your grill away for the season, wash the grate down with mild dish soap, as well. “If you live in a temperate climate, store the grill grate inside or it may rust,” warns Swyggled.
A Power Wash
If you only have 10 minutes to spare, clean the grill grates with heavy-duty machinery. “Put the grates in the driveway, spray them with some Easy-Off, hit them with a pressure washer, and let them sit for a few minutes,” says rodijon_kjd.
Your backyard barbecue game just got a little stronger.
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