BBQ Product Review: Grill-Brick
The BBQ Grill Brick has been around for quite a while and I decided to pick one up see how well they work. Since they are less than $10 and I need to clean the grill anyway, I picked one up while it was on sale for the holiday weekend.. The one I purchased is a Grill-Brick, and I also picked up the aluminum handle.
What is it? The grill brick is a 8x4x3 rectangle of a type of light pumice stone. It is advertised as a recycled product that is a better way to clean your grill and keep your griddle surfaces clean.
Advertised Capabilities: The grill brick is advertised as a great tool to clean BBQ grill grates and griddles without scratching the surface. It's main popularity appeared after stories of people ingesting wire brush bits started appearing. The grill brick is meant to be used while the surface is hot, here is the original advertisement aimed at the restaurant industry.
Safety Warnings: The pumice stone is advertised as a recycled product that is non-toxic and chemical free. It does not appear to have any safety warnings at all. But after use I will recommend keeping it away from surfaces used for cooking or food prep, due to the dust that it deposits everywhere. As a rule, I generally try to avoid eating little bits of my cleaning products.
Assemble it: The grill brick has an optional aluminum handle that you can attach. Place the handle on top of the grill brick and screw in both screws until the handle is held firmly between the aluminum mounting edges. Once you think it is secure, give it 4 more turns to get it to really press into the material or it will come off during use.
BBQ Review Testing
Test subjects: For this test I heated up two types of test items, a porcelain grill grate and two small cast iron pans. Before using it on my large cast iron griddle or stainless steel griddle I want to ensure it works as advertised, does not leave scratches, and does not remove the seasoning from the cast iron.
Cleaning a BBQ Grill
BBQ grill grate This grill grate is covered with cooked on bbq sauce from a full day of cooking chicken quarters and kabobs. After heating it up, I moved it out to a safe spot to try out the grill brick. As you can see the grill brick cleans the top of the grate fairly well, and after some scrubbing you can see the porcelain again.
After repeated use the grill brick has started to take the shape of the grill and starts to clean between the grates. There is a huge amount of dust created, and the handle came off. The grill brick really does not get into the spaces between the grate, due to the crosswise bars.
After grinding down about 1/2 inch of grill brick, I am going to switch to a known good tool to finish the job.
Cleaning Cast Iron Pans
Cast Iron Pans These small cast iron pans were quickly used for cooking some breakfast ham\egg scrambles, and then cleaned while still warm.
The edge of the grill brick quickly removed most of the burnt bits, but getting into the corners was a chore due to the quick disintegration of the brick. After cleaning out the dust and checking for remnants, it was clear the brick was going to remove all the seasoning. Continued scrubbing did remove all the char\residue and but left burnt bits in the corners where it could not reach. After a quick once over with a grill brush and a little dusting-off, the griddles are mostly clean and ready for re-seasoning.
Results: Grill Grate As you can see the grill brick does clean off some of the baked on char, but it does not get into the in-between spaces if there are crossbars in the way. The grill brick also disintegrates and creates a huge amount of dust to clean up. I ended up putting this grate back on the grill and using tinfoil and a wire brush to finish the job and remove all the dust.
Results: Cast Iron Pans The grill brick did quickly remove the burnt on char from the cast iron pans. However, it did not get into the corners very well, and it created a huge amount of dust. The brick also quickly removed the seasoning from the cast iron, so while it does keep your cast iron out of the sink, you will still have to re-season it.
BBQ Review Bonus test
Cancelled!!! I am not letting this thing touch my stainless steel or cast iron griddles, the risk of scratching and removing the slick surface and seasoning is too high.
The grill brick disintegrates quickly and creates a lot of fine black dust,that once combined with bbq char will stick to everything. Be prepared to wipe down all your nearby surfaces, and thoroughly clean the dust off the food prep areas. I recommend any cleaning with this tool be done directly over a sink or outside in a low traffic area due to the sticky black dust it creates.
BBQ Product Review Conclusion: Grill-Brick
The grill brick did not perform better than the standard wire brush or even a simple wad of tinfoil, and is not recommended. It's advertising points appear to be exaggerated to sell a restaurant-sized griddle cleaning tool to the home BBQ enthusiast market. The absolute only thing I can visualize it working well on besides a full size restaurant griddle would be a stainless steel bar grill grate with no crossbars.
Parting Suggestion: Save your money for beer!
You can achieve the exact same or better cleaning effects with a wad of tinfoil.