If you didn’t know, you need to clean your grill grates. It helps remove rust buildup, prevents germs and bacteria, and keeps food tasting great (no pun intended). But if you’re using a wire grill brush, it’s time to stop.
A TikTok video from an emergency room physician has gone viral, cautioning against using wire grill brushes, and while it’s an anecdotal video, there are real facts that back it up.
The video from content creator @beachgem10—who is a pediatric emergency medical doctor—tells the story of a young patient with ear pain following a barbecue. The pain continued for several days and over the course of several doctor and emergency room visits until eventually, the child came to the emergency room where @beachgem was working.
Ultimately, after running multiple tests, a small metal wire was lodged in his paratonsillar tissues and had begun to abscess. Ultimately, with surgery, they were able to remove the wire, provide antibiotics, and the child recovered. That wire, though? It was from a wire grill brush, and the small wire had become logged into the food without anyone’s knowledge.
While this is an uncommon occurrence, it is possible. Back in 2018, Consumer Reports issued a warning against using wire grill brushes for this reason and reported that an estimated 1,700 Americans went to the emergency room between 2002 and 2014 for this very issue. While those numbers aren’t huge, is it worth finding out if you or a loved one could become one of them?
Ninja FG551 Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill
Bring the grill indoors.
What do you do instead? There are a plethora of alternative grill cleaning methods. One of the most popular only takes a bit of aluminum foil. Crumple up a ball of aluminum foil, and then, while your grill is still hot, scrub the grates. The aluminum foil is abrasive enough to remove stuck-on food and is heat resistant (but gloves never hurt).
If you’ve got grilling plans for spring, skip the grill brush and grab the aluminum foil.