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Don’t Make This Mistake: Forgetting to Clean Your Grill After Cooking

The urge to put the lid down on a dirty grill to hide the greasy grates after a barbecue is real. Who wants to clean the barbie while everyone else is enjoying their succulent grilled chicken and juicy ribeye? While we understand the struggle, we can’t condone it, because it’s a huge mistake to not clean your grill immediately after cooking.

The main reason for cleaning the barbecue as soon as you’re done grilling is that it’s easier to remove any food fragments and residues that are stuck to the grates while they’re still hot. If you allow the grill to cool down, the bits of food, marinades, and sauces you’ve used during your cookout will harden and cling to the grates, requiring lots of forceful scrubbing later. Using a chemical-based cleaner to remove those stubborn fragments could cause damage to the grates too.

Secondly, even if you have the best intentions to clean the grill the next day, life happens and things get forgotten about. Any stuck-on food that’s left to molder on the grates for an extended period can begin to rot, become a breeding ground for germs, and even give rise to rust on the coating that can adversely affect the performance of your grill. If you tend to leave your barbecue in the backyard without a cover a dirty grill can also attract pests. 

It’s unsafe to grill on a dirty barbecue

Cleaning grates of grill

As well as being unsanitary, using your grill again without cleaning it first (because you believe the heat will cook off the burnt-on fragments) could cause the existing grease on the grates to flare up and create a hazard. Plus, the residue on the grates could hamper your grill from reaching the right temperature, resulting in charring, uneven cooking times, and acrid smells.

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Luckily cleaning your grill after you’ve finished cooking is a simple and quick process when you do it immediately. Additionally, you won’t need to use chemical cleaners or special tools if you act fast. Simply clean your grill with an onion by halving it and rubbing it over the grates while they’re still warm. This trick works because onions have natural antibacterial properties — they release sulphuric acid when cut, which inhibits the growth of bacteria. Plus, you’ll likely have an onion nearby if you’ve prepped veggie kebabs for your cookout. Lemons have similar antibacterial characteristics to onions and can also be used to clean a grill. All you need to do is put salt crystals on a halved lemon and use it to scour the grates clean. Finally, if you’ve got cast iron grates, be sure to rub some oil over them once you’ve cleaned them to prevent rust and protect their seasonings.

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