The 10 Best Grill Brushes
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in September of 2015. While barbecues may be synonymous with relaxation and good times, cleaning up afterwards has significantly less appeal. The right tools make this process a lot easier, although it's imperative to pay close attention to traditional brushes, as they may shed hazardous bristles over time. We've selected the most effective scrubbing accessories to keep that grill free of debris and burnt grease. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 26, 2020:
Just like you clean your pots and pans after cooking, you have to do the same to your grill if you want to keep it in good working order. Having clean grates on your grill also means you won't run the risk of it imparting an off-putting burnt grease flavor onto your food.
While models with metal bristles are no doubt one of the most effective — there is a reason people have been using them for decades — there are some potential dangers that come along with them. We don't think it necessary to completely forgo their use entirely, but rather to be aware of their issue so you can do your best to avoid a problem. If using a model with metal bristles, such as the Libman Long Handle, Kona 360, MaxxGrill Scraper, Grill Daddy Pro, or Forney 70518, you'll want to check the head before each use to look for worn spots or areas where the bristles appear thin. This indicates there is a good chance it is shedding bristles and it is probably time to replace it, or in the case of the Grill Daddy Pro, simply replace the head. You should also check the grates of your grill after cleaning it, so you can make sure it is free of any shed bristles before putting your food on it.
The Kona 720 utilizes long metal coils rather than bristles, which they claim eliminates the possibility of shedding. However, we feel that there is still potential for some of the coils to break and leave bits of metal on the grate, so we recommend treating it the same way as you treat metal-bristled models.
A better option for someone who wants a brush with bristles, especially those who don't want to be diligent about keeping an eye out for shed metal bits, may be to go with the Grillbadger Natural or Char-Broil Cool Clean. These utilize natural plant fibers or nylon, respectively, which simply burn up when they come into contact with fire, so there is little chance of ingesting one and getting injured. While the Grillbadger Natural can, and should be, used on hot grates, you can't use the Char-Broil Cool Clean until everything has cooled down, otherwise it can melt. Neither of these is as good at removing really stubborn burnt food particles as a metal-bristled option though and may require a bit of extra elbow grease.
Another option can be to go with the Martin Grill Gadget Universal Scraper or The Great Scrape Shovel. The former makes use of a brass disc to scrape away carbonized particles and grease, while the latter utilizes a hardwood. Nether of these run the risk of shedding bristles, and both can be used on very hot surfaces.
Palmyra Bristles BBQ Cleaning Brush The Williams-Sonoma Palmyra Bristles BBQ Cleaning Brush is rugged enough to remove stuck-on carbonized food, but gentle enough not to damage porcelain grates thanks to the use of natural bamboo fibers. It has a long handle to keep your hands away from the heat, a loop on the end for convenient hanging, and is an eco-friendly option that looks as good as it works. williams-sonoma.com
Grill Rescue Just like you wouldn't clean your pots and pans or dishes without water, the maker of the Grill Rescue believes you shouldn't clean your grill without it either. It is a bristle-free option that uses steam to release stubborn debris and grease from the grates and has a removable and replaceable, dishwasher-safe head. worldsbestgrillbrush.com
Making The Most Of Your Barbecue Grill
Also invest in a good set of grill tools that make cooking over the flames easy and enjoyable.
Far too often, when people think of grilled foods, they think about hamburgers and hotdogs, and not much else. This lack of imagination can close the door on a world of culinary wonders, from deserts like grilled peaches with cream or fire roasted crostini, to starchy delights like fresh grilled bread or grilled pizza, and from hundreds of different ways to prepare meats and vegetables over the licking flames of your grill.
And keep in mind that while the summer is traditionally considered the "grilling season," there's really no reason not to use your barbecue all through the spring, fall, and winter as well. Hearty cuts of meat like lamb chops and flank steaks are delicious when slowly cooked on a medium heat grill, and you can bring extra flavor to traditional holiday fish recipes by preparing the seafood on the grill too; which also avoids filling the home with a fishy scent before lots of guests arrive.
The best way to make sure your grill gets as much use as possible all year round is to make sure that it is always clean and in good working order. Taking the time to periodically clean your grill means it will always be ready for the next cooking session with minimal maintenance needed.
If you live in an area prone to rain or snow, it's a good idea to make the modest investment in a decent cover for your grill. That alone can help keep dust, pollen, insects, and other unwanted things off your barbecue. With a good cover, you can always rest assured that your grill will be as clean as you left it the last time the next time you need it.
Also invest in a good set of grill tools that make cooking over the flames easy and enjoyable. Beyond a great spatula, a long fork, and some good tongs, make sure you get a solid grill brush, too.
How To Choose A Grill Brush
When choosing your grill brush, first think about your own physical strength and condition. Nothing cleans a grill better than elbow grease, so to speak, so a brush designed to maximize the pressure you can apply to the surface is going to provide the best cleaning possible. In most cases that means using a simple brush with a thick, straight handle and metal bristles that will catch plenty of grime and debris when enough force is being applied.
Just know that these brushes often require more passes and take up more time than use of a standard straight bristle option.
If you have a good pair of grilling gloves that will protect your hands and forearms from the heat of a hot grill, a grill brush with a short handle will maximize the amount of control you have over the brush and might be your best bet, especially for dealing with trouble areas where there is lots of buildup.
However, if you are not sure you have the arm strength or flexibility to generate enough scouring force, there are grill brushes available that can help to compensate. Consider a battery powered brush with a rotating head, for example, to help you remove char from the grill surface. Just know that these brushes often require more passes and take up more time than use of a standard straight bristle option.
You can also consider a grill brush with a much longer handle, or with one designed to be used with two hands at the same time. Both of these options can maximize the leverage you bring to bare on the surface of the grill. A long handle can also help keep you safe from the heat of the grill.
A Few Great Grill Cleaning Hacks
It is always easiest to clean a hot grill, so when possible, scrape away at your grill shortly after the cooking is finished. If time permits, though, you might also want to periodically fire up and clean your grill when you are not even planning to cook. That can be a labor and time intensive process if you use charcoal, but it's worth the cleaning session you'll enjoy when no fresh food mess or grease has just been added to the grill. For gas grills, it's simply a matter of turning on the grill for a few minutes, switching it off again, then cleaning its grates. Using a bit of water sprayed over the hot grill using a spray bottle can greatly help your brush when you are cleaning a hot grill.
Between cookouts, consider letting your grill grates soak in water mixed with dish soap from time to time.
To keep your grill surface relatively clean during long cookout sessions, you can swab the grate with vegetable oil each time you have pulled a round of food off and then let the heat and flames burn off the oil. A few quick swipes with a grill brush will then do much to lift off the build up before the next round of foods goes onto the heat.
Between cookouts, consider letting your grill grates soak in water mixed with dish soap from time to time. A few minutes in a bucket of soapy water, followed by a thorough rinsing and then a good scrubbing, will do wonders for lifting grime grease off of the metal.
If your grill has grate sections that are small enough to fit in your dishwasher, then by all means consider putting that workhorse of a cleaning machine to work. Just make sure to first scour and scrape as much of the built up grime and char as possible, as you want to minimize the material that might otherwise build up in the dishwasher's drainage pipe.