Steven recently commented on the cleanliness of my grill grates, so I figured I'd share my secret. (And thanks for the compliment, Steven!)
This is the tool I use. It's from Steven's store that's quite handy for cleaning the grill. Mine's about 2 years old and still doing a good job.
It's a really nice scraper - the v-grooves fit most grills and do a great job of removing charred food and sauce from your grill grate. The big flat surfaces are great for when you flip a trapezoidal-type grate to the thicker side, too, or for just cleaning the bottom of that CI grate.
And why mention charred sauce? Because I just cooked on a relative's grill last week and he cooks everything slathered in thick coats of Kraft BBQ sauce. He also never cleans his grill grates so there's thick carbonized bits of sauce everywhere (and I couldn't bring myself to embarass him by posting pics of it either).
His regular grill brush didn't even dent the charred bits, but I used this scraper and his grates were clean in about 5 minutes. (And yes - before you ask, I had a feeling I'd be cleaning his grill beforehand so I brought my tool kit, which includes this scraper.)
Here it is at work on my blazing-hot IR sear/side burner. I'd actually just finished cooking some pork chops with BBQ sauce and a lot of the sauce got caked on the grates. This is what they looked like after about 45 seconds of using the tool.
Right after this pic I oiled the grate and then let it cool down. About once every two or three weeks I remove the grates and grill plates and pull out the Shop-Vac to clean up all the burnt bits on the bottom of the grill, too.
The really nice thing about this grill scraper is that all those different v-grooves and other surfaces fit almost any grill grate. It works very nicely on stainless-steel and cast-iron grates and there's even a little slot on it for the thin Weber grates like my Smokey Joe. And it works far better than the little metal scraper you see on most grill brushes, too.
I'm not so sure about how well it would work on porcelain-coated grates, but then again, I never use them.
So thanks for making this tool available, Steven! I now use it on almost every cook.