By using these 16 effective cleaning methods, you’ll keep your braai in excellent condition and enjoy many more braai sessions in the future.
Come rain, shine or snow, not even mother nature can keep a South African from a braai. The only thing that might stop a braai, is the thought of a tedious clean-up afterwards!
But keeping your braai clean isn’t only essential for maintaining its performance, it also ensures delicious meals every time. And instead of blowing the budget on expensive and potentially harmful cleaning products, you can use common household items to tackle grease and grime effectively.
1. Clean while it’s warm
Leaving the grease to settle and ‘crustificate’ will make it more challenging to clean, so make a point of dealing with grease while it’s still warm. Grab a damp cloth, a bucket of warm water and scrub persistently for the best results.
2. Bicarb and water
To tackle both grease and caked-on food, sprinkle a generous amount of bicarbonate of soda over the braai grid. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then spritz with warm water and get stuck in with a scourer sponge. Rinse it off, and your braai should be good to go!
3. Vinegar-and-water solution
Create a vinegar solution by mixing equal parts white vinegar and water. Spray it onto your grid and let it sit for half an hour. Then spray again with some undiluted vinegar, and let it sit for another half an hour before wiping clean with a damp cloth.
Top tip: sprinkle over a little table salt before you wipe the grid clean to successfully remove any rust from the grid.
4. Leftover coffee
Coffee’s acidity is guaranteed to break down stubborn food particles, so if you have leftover filter coffee, pour it over the dirty braai grid and watch the crusted-on food slowly slip away!
If your grid fits in the dishwasher, simply place it in the dishwasher and run a heavy-duty cycle. This is guaranteed to remove grime and any crusty bits with minimal effort!
6. Specialised cleaning brush
Always opt for a grid-cleaning brush where possible. They come with a longer handle and a rough scourer – it will make cleaning easier and less strenuous.
7. Soak in soapy water
Fill a large plastic tray or sink with hot water, add dishwashing liquid and let the crusty grid soak as you go about your day. It will take at least half an hour for the burnt-on food to loosen, so the longer you let it sit, the less you will have to scrub by hand.
Once the braai has cooled down, spritz some water over a sheet of old newspaper and lay it on top of the grid. Top with the braai lid and let it work its magic for half an hour. The heat and damp newspaper will produce steam, making it easier to remove grime from the grid.
9. Lemon and salt
Slice the lemons in half, dip them in coarse salt, and while your braai grid is warm, rub and squeeze the lemon halves all over the grid. The salt helps scrub off the crusty bits while the lemon cleans and disinfects, leaving your grid lemony fresh!
While the grid is still hot, attach half an onion to the end of a braai fork and use it to rub back and forth over the hot bars. Not only will the water from the onion produce steam and clean away any crusted-on food, but it also has built-in antibacterial properties to keep your grid clean and hygienic.
Top tip: Toss the used onion into the coals to add smokey onion flavour to your braaied goods.
11. Coat the grid with cooking oil
Coating the grid with cooking oil helps prevent food from sticking and protects against rust. Before each use, give your braai grid a good coating of cooking oil, and do the same after you’ve finished cleaning the braai for best results.
12. Tomato sauce or beer
Tomato sauce isn’t just a popular braai-side condiment, it’s also good at removing rust. Apply a small amount to areas with rust, leave it to sit for a few minutes, and watch it work its magic before wiping away to reveal a pristinely clean braai grid.
If ever you find yourself wondering what to do with leftover beer, pour it over the warm grid and then get stuck in with a wire brush to make it sparkle. The acid in the beer helps clean away any grime or leftover food bits from the grid.
13. Easy cleaning with foil
Leftover tin foil can act as a budget-friendly alternative to expensive cleaning tools. Crumple it into a ball and use it to scrub away excess food from your braai grid.
14. Heat it up
Once you’ve finish cleaning your braai, make sure to heat it for at least 15 minutes. This ensures any residual cleaning substances burn off, so you won’t be left with chemical- or soapy-tasting food!
15. Clean the braai base
To properly clean your braai, you have to go beyond cleaning just the grill and lid – it’s essential to remove old ash and coal from charcoal grills or clean off any grease that has splattered into the base of the braai with a damp kitchen towel.
16. Replace drip tray
Regularly check your drip tray, as grease can accumulate over time. If the tray is full of grease, replace it! Drip trays are typically made from aluminium and are usually designed to be easily replaced.
Article adapted from Cleanipedi. Stock images used and sourced on Canva Pro.