Keep your barbecue in tip top shape
Learn everything you need to know about keeping your barbecue grates in tip-top shape.
Any grill master will tell you that a great charbroiled meal is only as good as the barbecue used to make it. Churning out consistently delicious eats is largely dependent on keeping a clean cooking surface, so attend to dirty grates after every use. Once you’ve removed the cooked food, shut the lid and bring the temperature up to high. Leave on for 10 to 20 minutes. (If you have a gas barbecue, turn off the gas at this point.) Don long protective gloves and, while the grill is still hot, scrub all food residue off using a metal-bristled brush.
PREHEAT YOUR BARBECUE PROPERLY
Not only will it impact the flavour (think of those all-too-important grill marks!), but it will also help food slide off the grates more easily.
Give grates a rubdown with a bit of grape seed or safflower oil before each use to prevent food from sticking.
Apply too much oil or use any oil that can’t handle high heat, such as olive.
At least once a year, grates need a thorough scrubbing using hot, soapy water. If they’re especially soiled, loosen dirt by wrapping them in wet newsprint and covering in plastic; leave overnight before washing with soapy water. Be sure to rinse all the soap off, as it can negatively affect the taste of your food.
THE LOWDOWN ON THE THREE MOST COMMON GRATE TYPES
- Porcelain-coated: Most common and easy to use; the coated surface can break, inviting rust.
- Stainless steel: Rust resistant, resilient and light-weight; often a pricey option.
- Cast iron: Retains heat well, encouraging an even sear; high maintenance.
Use a brass-bristled brush on standard porcelain-coated grates. Here are our top selections.
- PATRIOT’S PICK: This Canadian design boasts a metal scraper for stubborn stuck-on food. Napoleon grill brush with wood handle, bbqsandgrills.ca, $8.
- INVESTMENT (SHOW)PIECE: Style meets function in a stunner with rotating bristles. Rösle grill brush with stainless steel handle, Williams-Sonoma, $80.
- NITTY GRITTY: Unique tapered shape works the top and sides of grill bars at the same time. Grill brush with plastic handle, Lee Valley Tools, $16
DID YOU KNOW
If you don’t have a grill brush handy, a ball of aluminum foil can do the trick.