It's getting to that time of year again when we try to have as many barbecues as humanly possible before the cooler months of Canadas autumn settles in. That being said, you have to make sure your grills are clean and ready to go at a moments notice . You never know when the stars will align for one more barbecue bash for the summer.
Need more convincing to clean your barbecue? We made a list of 10 benefits as a result of keeping your grill clean and split those benefits into three categories: Health, Grill Care, and Food Quality.
With all the barbecue we've been having, we try to do what we can to stay healthy (not that barbecue is unhealthy, but I mean...we all know the fattiest meats taste the best). If we can keep healthy while eating barbecue often... well, that's just the best deal ever...
1. Carcinogenic Build Up
One of the biggest unwanted barbecue-related health concerns is that "barbecue will give you cancer," and we aren't here to hear that. Although that statement is not exactly true, it's also not exactly false. Built up grease and gunk on your grills can pose carcinogenic health risks after it continuously gets heated, broken down, and absorbs CO2, which can be transferred to the food you cook. The easiest way to fix this is to simply not let that muck build up in the first place, so don't be shy to take a brush and scrub your grills thoroughly.
To help with that, check out our previous blog about how to decide which brush is best for you, by clicking here. Here are some different kinds of brushes that we carry:
- Big Boy The Hammer 17" Palmyra Grill Brush
- Brander Barbecue Blade Grill Scraper
- Brander Bristle Free Grill Brush
- BIg Boy Ms. Clean 18" Wood Brush With Palmyra Bristles
2. Feast For Our Furry Friends
Your dirty grills might be attracting pests. Think about it: you think your barbecues smells delicious right? Imagine what the friendly neighborhood mice think of it. The smell of grease after your barbecue will linger long into the night for all kinds of pests, including insects and even gophers. Although you may not see them by day time, it's not impossible that their fur, saliva, or even droppings could have made it into your grill. While much of this gets burnt up at extremely high temperatures when you get your grill going, just the thought of how gross it is is enough for us to give our grills a little scrub after every cook.
3. Bacteria and Cross Contamination
Forget the potential pests creeping around your barbecue for a second. What about the food that stays stuck to your grill for days, weeks, even months after you cook. That's not exactly sanitary either. Bacteria can grow on the old food which will stick to your new food the next time you cook. Not only that, cross contamination of allergenic foods may also be an issue as well. Imagine giving your father-in-law anaphylactic shock because you didn't clean last nights fish off your grills.
Mould build up is also a possible risk when you don't clean your barbecue. You might be thinking that mould can't survive a piping hot grill... but what about the walls or the inside of your lid? With evaporated moisture constantly coating your barbecue with every cook, there's bound to be bacteria and mould build up eventually. Mould may not be deadly, but you can still get sick from it and it definitely won't taste good.
5. Rust Prevention
This one is a no brainer. Your grills are made of metal. So, with enough cooks and no cleaning, your metal grids will rust - especially your cast iron. Regularly cleaning your grills will prolong the life of your investment.
Another tip to keep your cast iron in top shape is to regularly season it with oil. We've got another blog post that describes how to do it, you can check that out by clicking here.
6. Looking Out For Damage
Rust isn't the only thing you have to think about when worrying about grill damage. Having a simple cleaning routine will help you stay vigilant with leaky gas lines, full drip pans, rusted drip trays, etc. Could you imagine inviting the friends and family over for a cook out, just to find out your barbecue won't start up when you need it to?
Bacteria and mould aren't the only unwanted things that can grow in your barbecue. "Scale" is a build up of carbon, grease, soot, etc. that can get onto your food. Of course, this is the exact opposite of what you want, so clean your grill often. Depending on how long it's been building up, sometimes bristle brushes aren't enough to clean this up, so be prepared to use a knife or chisel and be careful!
8. Grease Fires
There's nothing like a big ol' grease fire that burns your eyebrows off right before the barbecue starts. However, if you like your eyebrows, consider degreasing your grill more often. Greasy grills and burners can cause huge and unexpected bursts of flames. Although the flames might look cool, we'd much rather keep our barbecues grease-free than our faces eyebrow-free.
We touched on cross contamination in the section above, but we haven't mentioned how that effects the taste of your food. Aside from all the bacteria from last weeks cook, the taste of the food you have today will also be affected. Your new food will pick up any residual sauces, grease, burnt char, tastes, and even smells of your last few cooks if you haven't cleaned your grill.
We all love those beautiful sear marks on our steaks, chicken breasts, porkchops, and you name it. They don't only look good, they also seal in the juices and caramelize the surface of your meats to get that delicious flavour we're all imagining right now. However, if your grill is too grimy, you can't get those coveted lines of flavour. Instead, you'll just get poor marks and black flakes of burnt bits covering your food. Gross.
So there you have it: 10 benefits to keeping your grill clean for your health, your grill care, and - if you don't care about the first two - the quality of your food. Show your barbecue some love by giving it a nice scrub. Thanks for checking out our latest blog post.