How to Clean Your Barbecue
At this time of year, assuming the weather is good of course, the barbecue tends to take a pretty good hammering and why not; it’s one of our favourite pastimes and us Brits know exactly how to do it.
There are one or two issues to attend with at the end of these functions, such as tidying away all the mess but how many of us clean the barbecue afterwards?
A friend of mine never bothers to clean his barbecue, sure he keeps it covered in Winter inside the safety of his garage but he swears by not doing it saying “the heat is enough to clean it and anyway it only adds to the flavour” but is he right? I can vouch for him that I have never been ill (touch wood) after one of the many feasts that we have each year, but from a personal point of view it is an absolute must in my household. Food poisoning can be extremely uncomfortable and is not something I wish to be responsible for.
There are an abundance of methods to clean the grill, some I use myself and some I have pilfered from some of my colleagues, after going around the office and asking how and if they do it. Based on my research and to my surprise, I discovered that people preferred using greener methods to clean their barbecue and not many opted for the chemical approach. I recently wrote another article on a blog informing people how to get rid of slugs using natural and un-natural methods so I am going to do the same with this one.
So if you’re ready, fasten your seatbelts and let’s get going….
Heat – This is an old classic and is extremely effective. Simply light the barbecue, wait for about 10 minutes and then using a wire brush, brush of all of the fats and any other residue that may be lingering. Be careful not to get burnt.
Lemons – Now I know this sounds pretty random, but this is a simple and very effective way of cleaning the grill. As you all know lemons are very acidic and if you cut one into half and rub along the wires of grill using a fork, leave for a minute and the follow up with a brillo pad or brush and hey presto you have a clean grill.
Vinegar – There is a well-known book on the many uses for vinegar and I bought this for my family many many years ago as a Christmas gift. I never ever saw it again, which probably says a lot for my lack of talent in buying gifts (maybe I should stop buying people things that I want?) but I do know that it has some wondrous uses and cleaning a grill is one of them. Make up a spray bottle of 50% vinegar and 50% water and spray onto the grill and scrub. The mixture is extremely effective and can be used for various other cleaning jobs too.
Salt – Are these natural concoctions getting stranger? I thought so to, but one of the team suggested using salt on the grill plate and even on your pots and pans, as this will absorb grease making them easier to clean using the heat method.
Baking Soda – I have heard of baking soda being used for all sorts of things from making carpets smell nice to cleaning toilets and from what I hear it also very good at cleaning grills and it’s safe to use as its non-toxic. Simply mix half a cup of baking soda with a bit of fairy liquid and water, rub onto the grill and scrub. The grill will be shiny in no time.
Potatoes – I’m kidding right? Nope not at all. Using the same process as a lemon, get a large potato, cut in half and rub over a hot grill. Voila, you will have a grease-free grill. I would recommend not using the potato afterwards
Onions – Where people get these ideas from in the first place amazes me but for the final method, I have been told that an onion is just as effective as all of the tips above….Using the same instructions as with the potato or the lemon, cut a large onion in half and rub up and down the length of the wires when the grill is hot.
One key point to remember if you decide to use cleaning solutions to clean the grill, then I strongly recommend after doing so that you light the barbecue for at least 15 minutes before placing any food on to the griddle.
Aluminium Foil – I really think this tip should probably be placed in the above section as it works a treat and does not contain harmful chemicals. Begin with a cold grill and cut evenly, two rectangular pieces of foil; enough to cover the wires and fold over the rack, scrunching the foil together so that it joins. Light the grill and close the lid if you barbecue has one. Assuming you have a gas grill, the next step is to turn the barbecue off to allow it to cool. If you have a charcoal barbecue, you will need to remove the rack after about 15 minutes and allow to cool. Once the grill has cooled down, remove the foil and scrunch it up into a ball. Using this ball rub up and down the length of the grill rack and remove any remaining grease.
Oven Cleaner – I have never really trusted oven cleaner myself – how so many chemicals, can be safe cleaning the oven without harming us afterwards is a mystery so in the rare occasions that I have used it, I always wait until the day after before using the oven again and even then I heat up the grill part with the door open to make certain that none is left. To clean the barbecue grill simply use as you would with your oven indoors.
Kitchen Cleaner – I am seriously starting to regret writing this ‘other methods’ section as I really would not use kitchen cleaner personally, but as it is a way in which to clean it then I shall proceed rather reluctantly. Watch this…… Spray onto grill and scrub. My hearts just not in it. Sorry.
Oven Bags – These really take the back work out of cleaning the oven as you can place the grill racks in these bags, add a bit of cleaning solution, close and shake to cover. Leave the racks in the bag for several hours and wipe clean.
Hopefully by now you will be masters in the art of cleaning the grill on your barbecue, so I wish you a very happy summer and remember to take care when barbecuing.