Summer Love: A Clean BBQ Keeps the Firemen Away
True story – my BBQ caught fire. Four fire trucks, several firemen and a blackened deck later, I am ready to share my learned lesson; regular cleaning and maintenance of your backyard grill will not only prolong its life but it may save yours … or at least your deck’s!
After every use
First, get yourself a good stiff wire brush. Brass is better than steel and I recommend splurging on a well-made version with a good scraper on the end. Inspect it before each use and toss it as soon as the bristles look worn or begin falling out. If you’re ever caught without a brush, an onion or a crumpled up piece of aluminum foil should do the trick.
Whether you grill on gas or charcoal, cleaning your grates after each use, as opposed to before, will give you the best result and save you some time. Wait until your grill is slightly cooled but still warm (if you’re using a gas grill, ensure the gas source is turned off). Scrape the grates down well and with a paper towel, wipe a bit of cooking oil over their surface. This will ensure an ideal non-stick surface the next time you fire it up.
A few times a season
Depending on usage, you should clean out the bottom of your grill when you notice any sort of accumulation of debris. Don’t forget the inside of your BBQ lid, and if you have a gas grill, brush clean the metal plates above the burners as well.
For the outside surfaces, use a mixture of ½ vinegar and ½ water in a spray bottle with a microfiber cloth. Even the stainless steel components will sparkle.
End of season
Again, if you have a gas grill, remove your propane tank or disconnect your gas source. Dissemble as per your owner’s manual and wash down the shell with warm, soapy water and rinse with your garden hose. The grates should be soaked for a few minutes and other removable parts can be gently cleaned with a wet sponge. Re-assemble and fire it up to ensure all parts are in working order. Wipe down all metal components with some cooking oil as it will repel moisture over the winter months. Remember, if storing your grill in the garage, remove the propane tank and keep it in a well-ventilated area, outside of your home, such as the garden shed.