With the sun finally coming out, there’s no better time to dig out the barbecue and welcome the warmer weather with a party. But after multiple uses over the previous summer, and then a winter of lurking in the shed, your grid isn’t necessarily going to be at its best. Fortunately, cleaning it (even after months of neglect) need not be a daunting task – just follow these simple steps, and your grid will be grime-free and ready to go.
Make sure you clean your braai grid after every use to prevent food from sticking to the bars. Wait till they have cooled and use warm soapy water along with a good stiff wire brush to scrub the grid clean. The brush will help remove any particularly resistant burnt-on food stains.
The first steps to a clean braai grid
Be careful to follow the manufacturers’ suggestions when choosing a cleaning method and products – every braai is different, although most should follow a similar outline as the guide below. It goes without saying that you should always leave your braai a decent amount of time to cool down before cleaning it.
With the grid in place, get your braai to full heat. If you have a gas barbecue, that just means turning the heat on full. For a charcoal braai, throw in fresh coals and wait for them to reach a red-hot temperature.
Put the lid on, and leave it for 15-20 minutes. This bakes off – carbonizes – grime and food particles, making cleaning braai grid parts easier.
Wait for the barbecue to cool down, and then scrub the bars with a steel brush. Make sure to angle the brush into awkward corners.
Steps 4-6: How to deep-clean a braai grid:
If you’ve used your braai recently, you won’t need to do much more. Once a month, however, it’s worth doing a really thorough scrub to ensure you have a really clean braai grid. Here’s how:
Having used the baking-off method above (and after waiting for everything to cool down – accidentally braaiing your fingers is a bad idea), remove the grids.
Using warm soapy water, wash the bars. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that could damage the grid. There are some products specifically designed for cleaning braais, and some general multipurpose cleaners which work wonderfully, but it’s worth checking the manufacturer’s guidelines. Test any cleaning solution on a small area first to ensure you’re using a grid-friendly product.
Rinse and dry them immediately, then rub on a light cover of vegetable oil to prevent rusting.
Steps 7-8: How to clean braai grid trays
Most braais will have drip trays for collecting grease, oil, and ash – these will need cleaning out with every use. Once again, it’s best to give the trays a while to cool down before tackling them – hot grease can give you a really nasty burn.
When you’re cleaning braai drip trays, you can save yourself a nasty job by soaking up grease using cat litter, if you have it. If not, pour the cold grease out into the bin, rather than the sink.
Wash all trays using warm soapy water as before.
Steps 9-10: How to clean braai grid burners & lids
The rest of the braai doesn’t take much cleaning, as you can see:
Dust down the inside of the braai with a steel brush and, if necessary, a little warm soapy water.
If you have a gas braai with food caught in the burners, check your manufacturer’s instructions to find out the best way to extract it. Some recommend removing the food carefully using a pin. Whatever you try, be sure to turn off your braai entirely and wait for it to cool before attempting anything.
Following these steps will result in a cleaner and healthier braai – just in time for the warm weather. So grab a cold drink, call over some friends, and make the most of it!
Once the summer is over be sure to give your braai grid a deep clean before storing away.
Regular cleaning of your Braai during the al fresco dining season will make your deep clean at the end of the summer much easier.
Make sure you don’t forget to clean the drip tray as grease and ash can build up here, leaving you a nasty surprise when you go to use your braai grid the following summer.