As you get barbecuing this summer, you're likely to encounter a few grills that aren't exactly the cleanest. At parks or campgrounds and even on your friends' grills (or, um, your own), no one wants to place food on gunked-up grill grates.
The leftover mess from previous barbecues doesn't add any flavor to your meat — your grill is not like a cast iron pan that needs to be seasoned to add flavor — so that gunk has got to go. Luckily, you can get rid of that unpleasant, charred residue by giving the grill in question a five-minute cleaning with nothing more than tinfoil.
Big Poppa's Grilling Tips, via Warren Marketing Group on YouTube, explains how to get a grate clean on a gas grill with a single piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Tear off a piece of foil large enough to cover all of the grill's grating, then lay it on top.
- Light the grill, turn the heat up to high, and close the lid.
- Wait for five minutes. Like the self-cleaning feature on many ovens, the grill's high heat will loosen up the gunk on the grill grates, making it easier to wipe off.
- Once your five minutes are up, open the grill lid and, using oven mitts, carefully remove the sheet of foil (it will be hot).
- Ball that same foil up, and use it to scrape the dirty residue off the grill grates. Use it like you would a traditional grill cleaning brush, rubbing the ball of foil up and down and in-between the grates.
After the residue is gone and scraped off the grill, you're ready to cook up your meat, vegetables, or anything else that strikes your fancy. You can now grill worry-free, with no fear of the gunky ghosts of barbecues past coming back to haunt your summer fun.
While this is a handy grilling tip to have in your arsenal, it's not recommended that you use it every time you need to clean your grill. This foil trick is best for when using public grills or when you forgot to clean it beforehand, but not as a regular cleaning method. Weber, a prominent grill-maker, says "Laying the foil on the grates can restrict the intended air flow inside the grill, which could lead to damage of the internal components, not to mention create a dangerous situation."
So we recommend using ammonia to clean off all the gunk overnight, before the day you know you're going to grill, or using an onion to clean off small amounts of gunk right before you start grilling your food.