Grill Daddy review: It steams through grill messes

The product: The Grill Daddy
The price:
Grill Daddy original,$14.99 plus $7.99 shipping and handling. Grill Daddy Pro, $24.99 plus $10.98 S&H. Grand Grill Daddy Platinum, $59.99 plus $9.85 S&H
The claims: Its heavy gauge stainless steel brushes and its steam chamber make grill cleaning a snap.
The Buy-o-meter rating:
4 out of 5

When it comes to scrubbing backyard grills, my heart belongs to the Grill Daddy. Not only does this handy tool scrape and steam off grill gunk in a hurry, but it's a gas to use. I demonstrated the Daddy for dinner guests and -- true story -- they lined up Tom Sawyer-style to scour my grill. Now that's what I call a cleaning aide!

The Grill Daddy changes the natural order of grilling. Instead of scrubbing a cool grill after you eat, you scrub a hot grill before you slap on the sirloin. That way, the grates are "as clean as can be before you put your food on," says inventor Michael Wales, the Grill Daddy's daddy.

Grill Daddy weds super-thick stainless steel bristles -- about twice as thick as most grill brushes -- to a chamber that drips water onto a hot grill, which generates steam. The steam melts grease and gristle, then the bristles virtually polish the grill. A scraping head cleans between grates and in corners.

Replacement brushes are available for about $7, plus shipping.

The Grill Daddy Brush Company sent me three models to try out: The original, 14-inch plastic Grill Daddy for small grills; the super-sized, plastic Grill Daddy Pro, with a graceful swan neck and ergonomic handle; and the shiny, stainless steel alloy Grand Grill Daddy Platinum, whose extra weight uses gravity to plow through messes.

All three models worked as advertised and kept my hand safely away from the heat. With minimal arm effort, the Daddys removed food chunks and melted grease. After scrubbing my old charcoal Weber with the tools, I saw naked steel for the first time since shoulder pads were in fashion.

My favorite model is the 23-inch Grill Daddy Pro, with its extra grip and oversized brush head. However, if I were giving a Daddy as a gift -- Father's Day would seem appropriate -- I'd pick the Grand Grill Daddy Platinum, a handsome and expensive-looking tool that costs only $59.95 retail.

The Grill Daddy does have a few flaws and a catch or two in the ordering process.

The product's principal website was confusing and automatically upgraded my order from the $14.99 model to the Pro model for $24.99, which raised my Consumer Ally hackles. A "what's up" call to Wales resulted in a new, more buyer friendly website.

The brush's sharp bristles can be a danger to pets and little kids: My friend's Labradoodle got clipped on the nose when she jumped up to lick the grease off the tool. Also, changing the brush heads requires fiddling around with a nut, washer and bolt: A snap-on, snap-off mechanism would have been better.

Bottom line on this barbecue brush?

Keep this sharp brush away from Fido and Junior. But let Daddy take a shine to your backyard grill.
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