Even if your BBQ has been housed in a garage or shed all winter, chances are you didn’t clean and maintain it before you put it away last fall!
To keep it in good working order, and ensure safe operation, it’s important that you spend a little time on spring maintenance before you fire it up for this first time this spring
First, remove the cooking grates and soak them in hot, soapy water. Alternatively, you can lay them down on a protective sheet (tarps are great for this), and spray them down with oven cleaner. Either way, let them sit for at least two hours.
If your BBQ has lava rocks, or similar, remove and replace them. If they’re not in too bad a shape, you can soak them in a bucket of hot, soapy water to break down grease and food residue. Next, remove the heat deflectors, or flavorizer bars – and do the same thing with them.
Then, thoroughly brush out the inside of the grill, removing all loose pieces of food, debris, etc. Many BBQ experts advise leaving the greasy build-up on the inside of the housing as a metal protectant.
Personally, I remove it once a year – then give the entire housing of my BBQ a good scrubbing with a stiff brush and hot soapy water. This requires some elbow grease!
Once it’s clean – I rinse it thoroughly with a pressurized stream of water from my exterior hose – then I leave it open in the sun until it’s completely dry.
If you decide to do it the same way I do, you must first remove the grease drip pan – and give that a thorough cleaning as well.
I warm mine slightly in the oven, then wipe out as much of the grease and drippings as I can with a wad of paper towel. Then I scrub out any remaining grease with hot soapy water and my stiff brush. Rinse well, and I let it dry in the sun along with the BBQ.
Although some experts say you should test your burners at this point, others (and I agree with them) advise cleaning out the burners first. I do this with a very fine wire brush or a metal skewer, poking it carefully into each burner hole to ensure they are free of debris.
Then I take a pipe cleaner style brush, and run it through the inside of the burner tube, cleaning the brush with each pass, until it comes out clean. To be sure, I then gently tap the ends of the burners on a firm surface, to make sure there’s nothing left inside.
Replace the burners in the BBQ housing – then check your propane tank and your hose assembly for leaks by brushing all connections with soapy water, then turning on the gas (outdoors!) for just a moment and watching for bubbles. If you see bubbles, repair the leak BEFORE testing your burners. If everything is OK, test your burners. They should now burn perfectly evenly.
By now, the grates and deflectors and flavorizer bars are ready to be scrubbed in their soapy water bath, or wiped clear of the oven cleaner. You should find the dirt and debris come off easily. Once they’re free of all debris, rinse them well and let them dry.
Drain your lava rocks, rinse them thoroughly, and spread them out in the sun to dry as well.
While they’re drying, clean off and shine up the outside of your BBQ. Wash it down well (car wash is great for this!) and dry it off.
Replace all the internal parts, then light your BBQ again and let it warm up enough to be absolutely certain all of the internal parts, and your lava rocks, are completely dry.
Turn the BBQ off, let it cool down – and replace the cover (it is a myth that covering a BBQ makes it rust.)
Congratulations! Your BBQ is now ready for another season of great grilling!
Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.