Diet Coke: Tasty Beverage or Grill Cleaner???

Last week, while I was doing some much needed maintenance on my Big Green Egg. I opened up my Egg to find a gnarly, crusty drip pan I had forgotten about. A few days earlier, I had cooked a brisket and during my caveman-like consumption of that delicious lump of smoked meat, I must have forgotten to go back and clean out the pan. Having come out of my smoke induced haze, I assessed the situation and determined that this was no job for mere mortal cleansers or elbow grease.  No, this grease was much tougher.  Though this pan is fairly nasty, it’s not quite as bad as when I smoke a pork butt.  There is a lot of sugar in my pork rub so imagine what sugar will do when left to cook in a pan over several hours.  Pork butt, brisket…either way it’s a real bitch to clean up.

I had recently read an article about the evils of soda.  I’m sure you’re familiar with it as it’s probably the same article that’s been floating around the Internet for the last several years.  In it, it lists all the things soda will do, like dissolve a tooth, tenderize meat or eat a hole in your stomach.  Years ago I remember pouring it over my car battery to clean off the corroded battery terminals.  Worked like a champ.  This gave me an idea on how to tackle that nasty drip pan without requiring a chisel and mallet. 

My experiment began with a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke leftover from a recent soiree. I filled the pan with the carbonous (made up word? perhaps) elixir and let it sit and bubble for about an hour.  The evil cola was left alone to work its dark effervescent magic.  

After an hour, I dumped the cola and rinsed out the pan with cold water.  There was still a little bit of residue left so I gave it a light scrubbing with some stainless steel wool.  It didn’t take much effort to get the pan clean.

After the light scrubbing, I rinsed the pan with cold water again and dried it with a paper towel.  Low and behold, that bubbly Quencher of Thirsts did all the hard work for me!
Alright, it’s not as good as new, but it’s pretty damn clean.  I was amazed at how easily the pan cleaned up.  I don’t know if it’s the carbonation in the coke or all the other crap that I cannot pronounce, but it did a great job. This should probably be enough proof for me to stop drinking sodas, but if I quit I won’t have any soda around to clean my grill.  As for if it will dissolve a tooth, I have made an executive safety decision to not walk around with a mouthful of coke for days at a time.  I pledge to immediately swallow all of its fizzy deliciousness as soon as it hits my lips and I suggest you do the same.

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