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2 quick ways to clean your grill without a grill brush

A few minutes of work after the last patty leaves the grill saves you hours of work later.

Taylor Martin/CNET

Now that it's summer, it's time to break out the grill. Not only to enjoy cooking outdoors, but also to keep from heating up the house and dirtying up the entire kitchen for a single meal.

While you should deep-clean your grill before you start using it for the season and when you put it away come fall, you don't need to do it every time you use your grill. Get the grates ready for your next cookout with these quick cleaning methods instead.

More on Chowhound: How to grill pizza

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Aluminum foil

clean grill aluminum foil
Taylor Martin/CNET

If you don't have a grill brush on hand, one of the best alternatives that works in a pinch is a ball of aluminum foil.

When you're done cooking your last burger, simply crumple up aluminum foil into a ball that's large enough to easily hold with a pair of tongs. Clasp the ball with your tongs and scrape away the grime. Note that aluminum foil can leave tiny bit and pieces behind, so once you're finished, let the grill cool and use a wet cloth to wipe away the debris.

It's best to clean the grill after you finish cooking, before any food residue has time to cool and stick. That said, if you didn't clean the grates after your last BBQ and there are leftover bit of burnt food hanging around, there's an easy way to clean it off before you start cooking again.

  • Turn on your grill and place a sheet of aluminum foil directly over the grates.
  • Close the grill lid.
  • Let the grill run for a few minutes until the grates get hot and the residue starts to loosen up.
  • Remove the foil sheets, then scrub the grates with a crumpled ball of foil.

The foil sheets help trap the heat around the grate, intensifying it and helping burn away and loosen up any leftover food.

Use an onion half

clean-grill-onion
Taylor Martin/CNET

Another option that works well is an onion. Yes, an onion.

When you're finished cooking, cut an onion in half and put it on a grill fork, cut side down. Wipe the onion on the grill grates to loosen any stuck-on bits of food.

Once again, it's best to clean the grill after you cook. However, this method also works before you start grilling.

Turn on the grill and give it time to heat up. Once the grates are hot, wipe them down with the onion half. Optionally, you can also use foil sheets directly over the grate here, too.

When you're finished cleaning the grate, just dispose of the onion half. Best of all, if you're using a charcoal grill, you can just toss the onion directly on the charcoals to help flavor the food you're about to cook.

How to grill smarter: Consider this your guide to cooking like a pro at your next BBQ.

What kind of grill should you buy? Here's how to pick a great grill this summer.