There’s nothing that says summer more than the unmistakable smell of a smoky sizzling BBQ. But after months of being forgotten in a dusty shed or left outside exposed to the elements, your BBQ will need some TLC before its back in serious searing shape. Follow these steps to get your grill all fired up and ready for the summer season.
The first thing you need to do is a thorough once-over of your BBQ. Check for any corrosion or rust that may have built up. If it’s been covered, check there’s no pests or bugs that have set up home in it. If it’s a gas grill check the regulator hose and gas line opening or if it’s a traditional grill check the hopper and auger as these are particular favourite hiding places.
Also, if it’s a gas grill, check for any gas leaks. After giving it a visual check, give the soapy water test a try – brush soapy water on the line and if you see bubbles while the gas is running you need to tighten your connections or replace the line.
2. Get your cleaning kit ready
Now it’s time to get cleaning. You want to start from the inside and work your way out. Make sure you have the following to hand:
- A grill brush, or some scrunched up aluminium foil if you don’t have a brush
- An onion (optional!)
- Mild detergent or dish soap
- A non-scratch sponge or cloth
- A microfibre towel
- Glass cleaner or stainless steel cleaner (optional)
3. Warm it up
It’s easier to clean off any food or grease if it’s been preheated first. For a gas grill turn the heat up to high and leave it for 10 minutes, for a traditional grill preheat it with the lid on and vents open.
4. Get brushing
Make sure your burners are now off and have cooled slightly, get your wire brush (or scrunched up aluminium foil between some tongs) and brush down any the loosened debris and ash.
For a more natural approach try rubbing down your grates with a sliced onion, cut-side down, on the end of a fork. This should remove any dirt that the wire brush hasn’t scrubbed off.
Don’t forget to check your burner tubes too, ensuring there isn’t any debris blocking them.
5. Wipe it down
Once the grates are clean, you need to clean the rest of the inside. Using either warm soapy water or your own mix of one part water and one part white vinegar in a spray bottle, wipe down all the surfaces using a non-scratch sponge or cloth, rinse well and dry thoroughly. Don’t forget the inside of the lid. If you’ve got a traditional grill, empty and wipe down the ash catcher, if you’ve got a gas grill make sure to empty and clean the grease tray.
6. Exterior care
Now that the inside of your BBQ is spick and span, you need to wipe down the exterior. Your best bet for this is just with soapy water, but if you have a porcelain-coated steel lid, for a deeper clean use window cleaner, or a stainless steel cleaner for a stainless steel lid.
7. Check your tools
So, if your BBQ has been left out all winter, the likelihood is that your grilling tools and utensils have been too. Make sure you give these a once over, get rid of anything that has rusted or fallen apart and clean up those that you’re keeping. This might also be a good excuse to invest in some new tools!
8. Check your fuel supplies & test your grill
If you’ve got a gas grill make sure you’ve got a full tank of fuel. If briquettes, pellets or wood are your fuel of choice, make sure you’re stocked up on these.
You should now fire up your grill and let it run for about 15minutes to burn off anything that wasn’t completely removed during your clean and to ensure everything is working properly.
9. Season your grill
Seasoning your grill will help to protect your grate from rust and premature wear, and helps to make cleaning your BBQ in future a bit easier.
Use a high-heat-resistant cooking oil and apply a thin coating to your grates and the interior of the grill with a paper towel. Then fire up your BBQ, turn it to blazing hot and let it run for around 30 minutes.
10. Be proactive
Now that you’ve done your deep clean, being proactive and keeping on top of cleaning your BBQ will ensure it keeps fired up right through the summer. The easiest way to do this is a quick clean of the grates after each cook while they’re still hot. This should ensure you don’t have to work as hard to get you BBQ ready for the next season.
So now that you are BBQ ready, the only big decision left is …. what’s going on first?