For some of you, warm weather is just around the corner. For others, you may be a few weeks out, but now is a great time to start preparing for a favorite family pastime- Grilling Out!

If you’re like me, you probably put the cover over the grill before last winter hit, and you haven’t given it a thought since the new year rolled around. Last year, we gave you a quick tip for cleaning the grill. Here are two more easy ways to get those gunky grill grates ready for another season of grilled masterpieces:

The Onion Method: Start by super heating the grill to a high temperature to burn off any remaining food and sauce “gunk” from last season. Then take half of a raw onion (cut side down) and, with a long handled fork, rub it over hot grill grates to remove the remaining built up grim that sticks to your food and gives it that gritty charcoal taste.

If you have a lot of build-up on the grate, you may need to scrape the grate with tin foil or a wire brush after the onion has loosened the first layer. Just be careful you don’t have any wire bristles left on the grate when you put the food on to cook!

Onions loosening up the gunk…

After the onion and wire brush method!

This is an easy way to get a quick clean and can be done throughout the grilling season.

Bonus idea: baste the remaining half of the onion with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings (we like Tastefully Simple’s Seasoning Salt or Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute). Then grill with the rest of your meal and enjoy!

If your grill grates need a little more oomph to get them clean, try the Garbage Bag Method: Take the grates off and put them in a large plastic garbage bag (biodegrable bags are a good choice). In a plastic or metal dish, mix 1 C vinegar and ½ C baking soda. Pour the solution on the racks. Close the bag and shake to coat the grates. Leave the bag out in the sun for 12 hours or overnight if it’s not sunny. When done, rinse off the grates in the sink or with a garden hose.

And if you need another, how about trying washing soda?

Here’s to happy and healthy grilling!