BBQ Grill Maintenance: How to take care of your outdoor grills.

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To keep your gas grill in working order, you are going to have to spend a little time maintaining it. After all, you wouldn't expect your oven to keep working perfectly and not need a little care or cleaning. Cleaning your grill is part of this process; you need to protect and maintain your investment. There are three cycles to your maintenance program.

 

When the Season Begins

  • Clean the burners - Make sure the propane tank is turned off. Remove the briquettes and cooking grates, and carefully detach the gas tubes and burner. Clean the tubes with warm, soapy water and towel dry. Wipe the burner clean with a damp cloth. Towel dry the gas ports on the burner, then clean out each one with a toothpick.
  • Wash the grill - First, cover the gas valves with aluminum foil to protect the connections from corrosion. Wash the grill’s interior and exterior surfaces with a long-handled stiff-wire grill brush and warm, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry, then reattach the gas tubes and burners.
  • Burn off the grease - During the grill season, briquettes transfer heat to the cooking grates, leaving them coated with grease. Before firing up your grill for the season’s inaugural cookout, flip over the briquettes, close the lid, and heat the grill on high for 15 minutes.
  • Clean the cooking grates - Cool the grill after burning off the grease. Remove the briquettes and cooking grates and scrub the grates with a long-handled stiff-wire grill brush and warm, soapy water. Towel dry, then replace, along with the briquettes.
  • Stock fuel levels - Check and replenish your propane or natural gas supply as necessary. Corroding and rusted tanks should be recycled; return your tank to a propane supplier or check local listings online for tank recycling companies.

 

Every Time

  • Preheat your grill completely every time you turn it on. This cleans and disinfects your gas grill.
  • Brush cooking grates to remove residue and give yourself a clean cooking surface.
  • Turn up the heat on your grill to maximum after you remove the last of the food. This burns off all the drippings and grease in your grill.
  • Cover your grill as soon as it has cooled down. It is a myth that a grill cover causes rusting if covered while still hot.

 

Once a Year

If you plan to pack away your grill for the winter, you will want to do this at the end of your season. If you grill year-round (good for you), pick a nice day and do this at least once a year. If you use your grill more than once a week, you should do this twice a year.

  • Remove the cooking grates and soak them in hot, soapy water. Remove the barrier and do the same to them.
  • Thoroughly brush out the interior of the grill. Leave the greasy accumulation as a protective layer on the metal.
  • With everything out of the way, fire up the grill just long enough to look at how the flame is coming from the burners. If the flames are uneven, you need to clean out the burners. To do this, remove the affected burners from the grill and, with a pipe cleaner or small wire, push through the ports (holes along the side). Then gently tap the burners, open end down, on the ground to displace any debris from inside the burner. Once cleaned out, replace the burners and fire it up again. If the flame is even, continue. If not, repeat this step.
  • Clean out or replace the grease drip pan.
  • While the grates and barrier are soaking, close up the grill and give the exterior a wash, much like you would your car (if you have one).
  • Wash off the grates and barrier and put your grill back together.
  • Fire up the grill and allow it to heat up, drying all the internal parts.
  • If you really are packing your grill away for the season, close and disconnect the gas supply. Remove the propane tank from the grill and place it in a safe, ventilated area. Cover the grill and put it in a sheltered location.

 

 

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  • Ruthie Sescon