How to Clean Hibachi, Braai Grill or Gas Grill
Summer is on the way and it's time to uncover or dig the hibachi, braai or gas grill out of storage to give it a thorough cleaning.
Did you know that using a wire brush to
clean a grill is a health hazard?
South Africans love spending weekends outdoors in the garden having a braai with family and friends. There is nothing more South African than firing up the braai or grill and popping on some boerewors or steaks while downing a dop or two!
Cleaning the grill is probably one of the worst jobs to do, but one that needs to be done after each use to prevent food contamination. There are plenty of life hacks that offer tips on cleaning a braai or gas grill and we selected the best ones that you can use to keep a grill clean.
Use a stiff
bristle brush rather than a wire brush
to clean a grill.
1. Wire brush to clean braai or gas grill
One method, and one used by many, is to use a wire brush or steel scourer to clean a grill. But did you know that using a wire brush to clean a grill can be a health hazard? And not to mention that many grills have a coating on them that is removed when regularly cleaned with a wire brush. Once the coating is removed a grill should not be used again. The bristles from wire brushes can easily break off and become a safety hazard if ingested. So, it's a NO to using a wire brush to clean a braai or gas grill.
GOOD TO KNOW: Cheaper braai grills that are chrome-plated should be avoided and definitely not cleaned with a wire brush. These are traditionally coated with a chrome plate that contains hexavalent-chromium - a known carcinogen that contaminates food and is toxic for the body.
2. Toxic Cleaners to clean braai or gas grill
Do you use oven cleaner or another toxic cleaner to clean your braai or gas grill? Don't... the word toxic already says it all. It might be faster to use an oven cleaner on the grill but definitely not good for your health. If the grill is coated with grease and grime all you need to do is place it in hot, soapy water and let it soak until the water cools enough to scrub with a scrubbing brush. A bristle scrubbing brush won't damage the coating that could lead to rust.
Toxic and oven cleaners can also damage other components of the braai or gas grill and eat into enamel finishes, leaving them open to rust.
3. Intensive cleaning of braai and gas grill
If, after cleaning with hot, soapy water and a scrubbing brush, you find that there is still burnt-on grease, the best and least detrimental way to remove this is to make up a paste of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Use an old toothbrush to apply the paste over grungy areas and leave it on for about 30-minutes before scrubbing and rinsing clean. Using this method guarantees no contamination and you can feel secure in using the grill for cooking foods.
4. Methods not recommended for cleaning a braai or gas grill
There are plenty of other methods out there that people use to clean a grill, so let's take a look at these and you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to try them out:
• Wipe with newspaper or paper towel
I have often seen people using newspaper or paper towels to wipe down a grill. Yes, the newspaper will soak up a fair amount of grease on the grill, but it leaves plenty behind and you also end up with pieces of newspaper stuck everywhere.
• Use an onion
This is one method I have used myself on many an occasion and it works well to remove a bit of grease and grime from the grill, with the added benefits of being eco-friendly and adding a bit of taste to the cooked meats. However, as with newspaper, it doesn't remove built-up, or burned-on grease and you still need to do a proper cleaning. Perhaps use an onion to clean in-between whatever meats or vegetables are being braaied at one time.
• Clean with beer
What could be better than heating the braai and cleaning the grill with beer to add an extra hop flavour to meats? It does kinda work but, again, doesn't remove built-up or baked-on grease so it's another method for using in-between cooking various meats. Having said that, you could always make up a paste using beer and bicarbonate of soda, but that makes it quite an expensive cleaner if you use beer instead of vinegar.
There are still plenty of other supposed hacks that work to clean a braai or gas grill, but why waste your time when hot soapy water and a scrubbing brush work best?