The Best, Most Effective Way to Clean Disgusting Grill Grates
Cleaning my grill is one of those maintenance tasks I know I should do on a regular basis, but I dread doing. In fact, I dread it so deeply, I find myself stacking my chore list with anything and everything else. You should see how clean my windows are!
A big part of my problem, aside from the gross factor, is that I haven’t found a reliable way to get rid of all that built-up grease and char without a multitude of expensive specialty products or don’t-breathe-while-using chemicals. I can’t tell you how many grill bricks and bottles of oven cleaner and degreaser I’ve blasted through. If I had one sure-fire way to clean it — with stuff I typically have on hand — I’d probably be more likely to do it more often.
So, when I saw the recent results of Kitchn’s grill grate cleaning showdown, I was intrigued. The hands-down winner was a mixture of Dawn dish soap and baking soda — two things I’m never without. Could it be that the solution to my problem was in my kitchen all along?
With summer grilling season here, and my grates already looking really dirty (because I didn’t clean them last fall), I realized it was time to stop procrastinating. Plus, I had no excuse. I already had everything I needed.
I followed the method in the article, mixing up a big batch of the cleaning mixture — 1/2 cup baking soda and enough Dawn to make a thick paste. As recommended, I scraped the grates clean as best as I could with a ball of aluminum foil, then set them out on newspapers so I could coat every centimeter in the paste.
The scraping part was intense and took a while. The underneath part of the grates had been neglected for a long time and were really caked with crud. Luckily, the foil ball worked fantastically well as a scraper and molded itself between the gaps, so I could easily get all of the surfaces. It didn’t chisel everything off, but got things looking a lot more manageable. Little bits of aluminum flaked off, but I wasn’t worried because they’d get rinsed away eventually.
The paste part was easy — and satisfying, too. I could see the mixture starting to break up the grease right away, turning brown and gunky instantly as it got to work. I let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Then, I got a fresh ball of foil and started scraping again.
I could tell the mixture had dissolved pretty much all of the grease and made a lot of the stubborn, burnt-on stuff I couldn’t scrape off the first time a lot easier to remove. I rinsed the grate in a big bucket of warm water and was amazed at the difference!
Now that I was into it, I could see there were still some stubborn areas that weren’t budging. That’s when I remembered my new chainmail scrubber! I added a little more paste and started scrubbing with the chainmail, and those tenacious chunks of gross in the in-between areas didn’t stand a chance. It’s like the grates are brand new!
Now that I have a solid, inexpensive way to clean my grill using readily available supplies, I’m sure I’ll be doing it a lot more often!
How do you clean your grill grates? Tell us about it in the comments below!