Did you know that a simple grilling tool is the cause of many dangerous injuries? Metal bristles from grill brushes can easily become dislodged and get stuck on a grill. From there, they find their way into food that has been cooked on the grill. Once they are in food, it's a quick path into someone's mouth. In fact, metal bristles have been found lodged in people's throats, stomachs, and intestines. Some bristles even have to be surgically removed.
Preventing Grill Brush Injuries
Regular replacement of grill cleaning brushes is the first step to preventing these types of injuries. While it doesn't solve the problem, it is a helpful first step. It's also important to know how to clean your grill. Most people fire up the grill, turn it to high, or let the coals get hot, brush the grates to remove what was left from the last cookout and throw on the food. Without properly cleaning the grates, they may remain coated with oils. This makes them sticky and a loose bristle is likely to adhere to the grate and then implant itself into the grilled food.
What to Look for in a Grill Brush
Any grill cleaning brush should be replaced regularly. If at any point the bristles begin to look damaged, excessively bent, or filled with debris, it is time to replace the brush. Buy the right kind of grill brush. A good grill brush is made with brass or food-grade stainless steel bristles. The head of the brush should be hard, food-grade plastic or metal to hold the bristles tightly in place. Avoid any grill brush that warns against use on a hot grilling surface. These use adhesive to hold the bristles in place which will degrade over time. The bristles should be of thick wire that springs back into place, firmly set in the head, and evenly cut. If you can pull out a bristle from the brush, avoid using that brush. Price is not an indication of a good grill brush; safe brushes can be found for under $5.
Grill Brush Alternatives
There are a number of grill brush alternatives on the market that will help you clean your cooking grate like a brush without the safety hazard of a brush. One is Grill Floss, which cleans all around the grate bars but requires cleaning each bar, one at a time. While Grill Floss is an excellent product, it is only useable on metal rod cooking grates and won't work on some grills. Another alternative is the GrillStone cleaning stone. Made from recycled glass, it works like a large pumice stone. It is effective, but flat. While they do eventually mold to the shape of your grill grates, it takes a while and it's still not a perfect fit.
Whatever type of grill brush you purchase, take it seriously. Look for a quality brush that fits the recommendations and provides you with a safe and effective tool to clean your grill (and avoid any injuries). It is equally important to remember to discard any old, worn-out grill brushes.