How to Remove Burnt Barbecue Sauce

James Clark

Burnt barbecue sauce leaves a stubborn residue on cooking equipment. The sugars in the sauce caramelize under high heat to leave tenacious, granular blobs on grilling grates, utensils and other tools. Softening the residue with a mild solvent makes it easier to remove.

Cleaning your grill tongs of barbecue sauce makes the next cookout taste better.

Besides being unsanitary, cleaning off your cooking utensils is important if you don't want your next meal to taste like burnt barbecue sauce.


Avoid using steel wool and similar types of scrubbing pads, which can scratch iron, stainless steel and ceramic items, such as porcelain-coated grill grates.

  1. Place the items encrusted with burnt barbecue sauce in a kitchen sink with the drain stopper installed.

  2. Pour enough distilled vinegar into the sink to cover the items. Soak in the vinegar until the burnt sauce begins to soften.

  3. Add enough baking soda to the vinegar bath to create a chemical reaction. The mixture will begin bubbling and foaming, which creates a natural scrubbing action that may save you some effort.

  4. Scrub the items with a nylon brush to remove the burnt sauce. Rinse in cold water when finished.

  5. Rub cast-iron items, such as cooking grates, with a light coat of olive oil on a paper towel to inhibit rusting.