Tested brushes to clean your grill

Who wants to cook on a grungy grill? We’re thinking nobody. Well, the folks at Consumer Reports came up with a great way to put grill brushes to the test—to tell which ones will give you a clean cooking surface whether your grates are cast iron or stainless. To mess up the test grills, CR testers roasted sticky chicken breasts on stainless and cast-iron grates. Although Consumer Reports says a hot grate cleans up the best, the brushes were tested on cold, warm, and hot grates using a systematic method of 50 strokes, and then the surfaces were assessed. CR was surprised to find that a lot of grill brushes have short or flat handles that keep your hand over the hot grates. So when you shop for a grill brush, look for one with a long handle and an angled head.

Some brushes didn’t perform well. The Char-Broil Cool-Clean Brush has a nylon head designed for “cool to the touch” grates. In our tests, it did a poor job of cleaning on cool and warm surfaces. The Char-Griller Wood Grill Scraper is a wooden paddle that becomes notched as you scrape it along hot grates. But it didn’t do a very good job in our tests on any of the surfaces or between the ribs.

Some did a better job on the grimy grates. The Nexgrill Grill Brush has a replaceable stainless steel head that did a very good job on hot grates. The long handle keeps your hand away from the heat, but wear a glove if you put pressure on the knob. Consumer Reports staffers were impressed by the performance of the Earthstone Grill Stone. It’s made of recycled materials and did an impressive job of removing the cooked-on chicken on cold, warm, and hot surfaces. But it leaves a lot of residue on the grates and inside the firebox that must be cleaned thoroughly before cooking. But if you’re tackling a really gross grill, this is the tool to have.

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