Clean-up Tips for Your Next BBQ

Blue outdoor drill with an attached shelf, on which sits a cloth, cooking oil, tongs, a wire brush, tin foil, scrub brush and mason jar.

Summer’s here, which means barbecue season is in full swing! Whether you’re grilling for immediate family or inviting a crowd, these simple steps will make your event—and the clean-up that comes afterward—simple and fun.

1. Working with a gas grill? Be sure it is completely cool before cleaning. Brush any debris off flame tamers (also called heat tents or vaporizing bars, they directly cover the burners).

2. Keep those grates clean

  • For a gas grill, routinely brush cooled grates off with a dry wire brush or grill stone. (If using a brush be sure it’s in good condition and not losing bristles.) You can also hold crumpled aluminum foil with tongs and use to brush the grates.
  • Charcoal grill grates are best cleaned when still warm. A bit of water can be used to scrub them down.

3. Rub clean grates with cooking oil. An easy way to do this: Soak a paper towel in a bit of oil, then use tongs to clamp the paper towel and rub over the grates.

4. Read and keep your grill’s instruction manual and warranty. The instructions will include specific cleaning procedures.

5. Now that your grill is clean, here’s how to keep your meal fuss-free.

  • Start clean. When you start with clean cooking surfaces and a clutter-free gathering space, you’ll have less mess when the meal finishes.
  • Make trash and recycling bags many and easy to find. If you’re entertaining over a large area, be sure to have containers for trash at many points throughout your yard and/or deck.
  • Also offer napkins and wet wipes in multiple locations, especially if you’re serving foods with deliciously sticky barbecue sauce.
  • There’s a time and place for disposable dinnerware, and a barbecue is one of them. Sticky sauce, grilled meats and butter-drenched grilled corn are all foods best served on biodegradable, disposable plates. They’re easy to toss (in those easy-to-find trash bags—see above) and won’t add to the dish pile.
  • Serving hot dogs or burgers? Place each sandwich in a coffee filter before offering to guests for topping. No more sliced onions falling to the table or onto your deck.
  • Grilling meat for tacos instead? Offer single-serving bags of tortilla or corn chips and have guests fill bags with meat and toppings for a less-messy version of a Southwestern favorite.
  • Keep the bugs away by serving salads and condiments in mason jars with locking canister-style lids. Guests can easily remove and replace lids as they move through the line.
  • Make it easy for guests to dispose of their own dishes by setting up a tub for any dirty washables.
  • Spills happen. Keep a few portable stain removing options (Tide® To-Go pens, etc.) close at hand.