How to Clean Your Grill without a Grill Brush

Chef Eric Gephart talks us through the "clean burn method."

meat sears on a kamado joe ceramic grill
Kamado Joe

Wire grill brushes have come under fire this grilling season, following a viral TikTok video detailing the case of a four-year-old got a piece of grill brush wire lodged in his neck after eating a grilled hamburger.

That video has garnered over 40 million views, kicked off a news cycle and raised an important question: Do you really need to use a grill brush at all?

For insight, I turned to Chef Eric Gephart, a grilling expert and the Director of Culinary Inspiration at Kamado Joe.

chef eric gephart
Kamado Joe

Let It Burn

Gephart recommends the clean burn method to clean your grill, whether you're using a ceramic grill like a Kamado Joe or some other type of grill.

"In essence, you turn your grill into a self-cleaning oven by cranking up the temperature for 15 minutes after a cook," Gephart tells me. "This will carbonize any food debris inside the grill and allow you to easily brush off the grill grates or accessories after the grill has cooled."

Brush It Off

After your food residue has essentially turned to black, charred dust, you're still going to need to brush it off of your grates in order to clean your grill. Now, this is where some people might turn to use a wire grill brush. But because the high heat has burned off any tough or sticky residue, you don't need to utilize such a heavy-duty tool. Instead, the Gephart prefers a DIY route.

"I don't own a grill brush."

"Some prefer mettle bristled grill brushes, others prefer wooden paddles that eventually form to the grooves of the grates. I prefer a sturdy pair of tongs and a ball of aluminum foil," Gephart says. "With a bit of pressure from the tongs, the foil automatically forms to the grill grate grooves, scraping even the hard-to-get to carbon."

Wipe It Down

After you've finished scraping off any residue on your grill with your MacGyvered tongs-and-foil contraption, there's just one simple step standing in the way between you and a squeaky clean grill that's ready for your next cook.

"After scraping the grill, lightly oil a towel and wipe the grill grates to relieve any carbon residue from the grill surface," Gephart says.

And you're done! The clean burn method does most of the grill-cleaning work for you, and if you do it after every time you grill, you shouldn't ever have to use a wire grill brush again.

Just take it from Gephart: "I don't own a grill brush."

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