Heads up on potential danger involving grill brushes
It's honestly something most of us wouldn't think about when grilling. We fire up that grill and we get cooking.
And in New Jersey, we grill all year long. Yes, winter can throw some other challenges our way when it comes to temperatures, but that doesn't stop some of us from making a delicious meal over that flame.
Aside from a low in winter, however, our grills are going strong. And that's the way it should be, especially during the summer months.
Whether it be in the backyard or at a park, there's nothing like grilled veggies or a juicy burger cooked directly on the grate. It's absolute perfection all the way through.
Most of us, however, like to give our grills a quick cleaning before use. Mainly, the grates.
Time to take out that grill brush and clean up the cooking area before putting the next round of food on. Sounds like most of us, doesn't it?
But that brush has a hidden danger associated with it. Although not common, it is possible one of those brush bristles can come loose and remain on the grill.
I'm sure most of you never thought about that happening before. I didn't either until I found out it actually did happen to someone.
Fortunately for them, they spotted the small thread from the brush before consuming their food. And that's good because that little bristle could've caused a lot of internal damage.
But how? How could something like that cause bodily harm to us if consumed? Well, it has to do with how razer sharp those small bristols are.
This is especially true if you have a metal grill brush. If you carefully touch the underside of one, you might almost instantly puncture your finger causing you to bleed.
When I first learned of this incident I went to feel the underside of the brush just so I could tell firsthand how sharp those brushes really are. Sure enough, I pricked myself.
Of all the years that I've been grilling, I never thought twice about something like that being a possibility. But now, it's always on my mind when it comes time to clean the grate.
Now, do I still use the brush? Yes, but very rarely. And when I do, I'm very careful to check the grate afterward to make sure it's 100% clear before I start to cook.
If you really think about it, a small, very sharp bristol like that could puncture an internal organ and get stuck inside of you. And after learning of it being spotted in food cooked on a grill, it just makes you more hyper-aware that such a thing could happen.
Now, are there safer options to go with? Are there brushes that pose less of a danger in the event that they do shed a bristle here and there?
Perhaps there is. Softer brushes are also sold that seem to be easier on the touch, so maybe it's a matter of just avoiding those sharper metal ones.
You can also go with a scraper or a spray cleaner that wipes off easily. There are certainly other options to go with as alternatives to cleaning the grilling surface.
Again, I'm not telling you not to use the grill brush, but rather be aware of the possibility of a bristle getting caught in the grill and ending up in your food. And if your brush is old, perhaps replacing it might be a way to go to reduce the chances of this happening.
Just be aware and make sure to inspect the cooking area before putting food down to cook. Although chances are low, a simple inspection might be all you need to do to reduce the possibility of a bristle ending up in your meal.
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.