Advice | June 30, 2016 9:00 am

The Three Grill-Cleaning Hacks Every Great Pitmaster Swears By

Pro tip: 4th of July weekend will be a good time to learn them

There are few things we love more than the taste of a juicy sirloin fresh off the grill.

One thing we don’t love, though? The lingering bite of chemical grill cleaner residue on said juicy sirloin.

So since we value the health of our bodies — and the environment — we’re happy to put forth a little creative elbow grease to ensure our backyard bounty stays naturally flavorful and toxin-free this weekend.

And we recommend you do the same, intrepid flipper of meat.

Luckily, there are a myriad of all-natural, DIY grill-cleaning methods out there. We tested three of these quick-and-easy, chemical-free ways to lift residual grime and gristle from stubborn grill grates. So follow our lead, take a page out of Mother Nature’s book and say buh-bye to questionable grill-cleaning chemicals for good.

Image courtesy of Marion Bernstein

Lemon-Salt Scrub
When life hands you lemons, salt them — and then clean your goddamn grill. Cut a lemon in half and dip the fleshy ends in coarse sea salt or kosher salt. Heat your grill on high and rub with the salted lemon. (Note: If you have a charcoal grill, no need to heat the grill first — just rub the cold, empty grill with the salted lemon, then wipe out any excess residue with a paper towel.) The lemon’s natural acidity cuts through the grease quickly, while the salt acts as a micro-scrub.

Image courtesy of Marion Bernstein

Raw Onion
Whether you’re cooking with gas or charcoal, this au naturel method definitely requires some pre-heating. Get your grill good and warm, cut a raw white onion in half (red, Spanish or yellow will work, too), stick a fork in it and then quickly begin rubbing. The rubbing action loosens up grit and grime baked onto the grate, while the juices from the onion’s thin-walled layers steam away any remaining charred food remains.

Image courtesy of Marion Bernstein

Vinegar Spray + Aluminum Foil Ball
Highly concentrated vinegar can be flammable, so unless you’ve been meaning to lose those eyebrows, no need to heat your grill prior to cleaning. In a spray bottle, combine one part white vinegar with one part water. Spray your grill grate and let rest for 3-5 minutes — the vinegar’s acid will cut right through the grease. Crumple up a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil into a ball and rub back and forth: it will act as an abrasive to remove excess grime and gristle.

Main image via: Pexels