We’re practically a week deep into Grilling Month, so if you haven’t scrubbed the 8-month-old, burned-then-frozen crust off your grates yet, now would be the time. But say you can’t find the grill brush, or the one you have is so choked with burned-then-frozen crap that cleaning it would take a lot more time than cleaning the grill itself (and would probably shred your fingers). There are not one but two ways to clean your grill without a brush, both of which are almost inevitably already in your kitchen.

First, heat up your grill. Spraying a little white vinegar on the grates will help loosen the residue. Then scrub firmly with that half an onion you haven’t used yet or, if for some reason you don’t have half an onion to spare (?) a simple crumbled ball of aluminum foil works wonders — its texture and malleability is exactly right for grill-scrubbing — and can be tossed right out when you’re done.

Now you have no excuse not to toss a fish or two on the grill, because a less-than-sparkling grill is your only excuse.

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