Clean Your Grates
Whether you have rusty grates from sitting unused for an extended period of time, or simply have leftover residue from last year, it’s important to start the season with clean grates. (Plus, clean grates make better grill marks!)
For normal build-up on a gas grill, turn all your burners to high for 15 minutes. When your grill reaches these high temperatures, leftover debris will turn to ash and will easily brush off. Be sure to turn burners off before you start scrubbing.
Stainless steel brushes work great, but may leave behind tiny metal bristles that get in your food. Two all-natural alternatives are a hardwood grill scraper and an onion. (Yes, an onion!) Simply cut an onion in half and rub it over pre-heated grates using your barbecue tongs (or a two-pronged grill fork) until you see the gunk being removed. You get the best of both worlds–a clean and seasoned grill.
For a deeper cleaning, soak grates overnight in a mix of 2 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda. Any leftover debris should rinse off with water and a little elbow grease.
Routine brushing of the cooking grates prevents food and bacteria buildup, and a light coating of oil or cooking spray prevents rust and keeps food from sticking. Use your sparklin’ clean grates for the best grilled chicken ever.