Cleaning up probably isn’t most people’s favorite part of hosting a summer barbecue, but a raw onion and a little elbow grease may help get your grill clean after the guests are gone.
Step 1: Get an Onion
Be sure to use a raw onion. Any large variety — white, yellow or red — should work.
Step 2: Cut the Onion
Cut the onion in half, says BobVila.com — it doesn’t matter which direction you cut it. Then, peel the papery layer off the outside of one half of the onion.
Step 3: Warm Your Grill
It’s best to clean a warm grill, as The Family Handyman says heat will help loosen up the residue on the grates. If the grates are no longer warm, BobVila.com says you should turn the grill back on to heat the grates again. (Do not start cleaning, though, until the flame is out and the grates have cooled slightly.) Once the grill is warm, stick a barbecue fork into the the round side of the onion, with the flat side facing down, says The Family Handyman. The fork will help keep your hands away from the warm grates.
Step 4: Clean the Grill
To clean the grill, use the fork to rub the flat side of the onion back and forth over the grates, says BobVila.com. This should loosen up built-up grime and take it off the grill. The Family Handyman also notes that onions have anti-bacterial properties, so this cleaning method may actually help to kill germs lingering on your grill. Another upside is that the onion can leave some seasoning on the grates, says BobVila.com, so your next grilled meal may have some added flavor.
If the residue is particularly stubborn, The Family Handyman recommends spraying it with some lemon juice or white vinegar, as the acidity will help loosen the grime. Then, rub the onion over the grates as directed above.
If you’re about to fire up the grill for another meal, you can throw the onion into the charcoals for some added flavor, says BobVila.com. If you have a gas grill or won’t be cooking again right away, simply dispose of the onion used for cleaning. If you have a compost bin, toss it in there and the whole cleaning process will be environmentally friendly.
Grilling a good meal is a summer tradition for many, but scrubbing the grill with a wire brush doesn’t have to be a part of the experience. Half an onion can help you clean your grill easily and may give your next meal some added flavor.