For the grilling enthusiast Spring is always an exciting time because it means that the outdoor cooking season has arrived. But before hooking up the propane tank and heating up the grill, here are some important tips for ensuring your barbecue is in tip-top shape for the grilling season ahead:
To begin, remove your grills and grease deflector bars and carefully inspect your burners for any obstructions caused by spider webs, critters or food debris. Also inspect for any holes, corrosion or rust as these could allow for flare ups. Be sure to also inspect from below and clean the valves where they enter the burners. A Venturi brush kit is a great accessory to have for cleaning these areas.
For a gas grill, this is also a good time to check for leaks. We recommend using a leak detector solution or soapy water. Wipe or spray it in and around the hose and valves supplying the propane (or natural gas) to check for cracks in the fuel line.
TIP: If you are ever concerned about a leak the smartest thing to do is to turn off the supply and call your local licensed gas fitter.
If you notice that a part needs replacing be sure to have your barbecue’s model and serial number ready when you call your local supplier to order the part. Typically these numbers can be found on a sticker at the rear or inside the cabinet of most barbecues.
Before you begin it’s always a good idea to refer to the owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with any particular cleaning tips or suggestions for your make and model.
Remove all grease that has accumulated below the burners. This is the number one cause of serious flare ups/fires. Also, clean the grease from the side walls and under the lid. We recommend using a barbecue degreaser or oven cleaner spray to do the job but remember to rinse it off afterwards as you don’t want to end up consuming any of it.
Next, clean all your cooking grills with a scrub pad and warm soapy water. If you choose to use a wire brush be sure to inspect your grills afterwards for any wire bristles that may have fallen out. We never recommend you use a wire bristled brush on a hot or warm grill because there is a chance of a wire bristle coming loose and then getting embedded in your food. To avoid this risk altogether we like using the Q-Swiper scrub pad or a wooden paddle for cleaning the cooking surface.
When it comes to cleaning the exterior of your barbecue, the tried and true method is warm soapy water and a soft cloth so you don’t damage the finish, especially if it is stainless steel. Then rinse and dry thoroughly.
If equipped, remove old grease collection drip pans or cans and replace with new ones.
A good idea to protect your deck from grill spills and grease is a rubber/plastic pad for your barbecue to sit on. Always be sure to give your barbecue enough clearance from your house to allow for adequate air flow to disperse the heat created when cooking.
If you are going to cover your barbecue be sure to purchase a cover that has sufficient ventilation in it. Always allow adequate time for your barbecue to cool off and dry before covering it so as to not trap moisture. This will add longevity to the internal components of your barbecue.
Take a Test Run:
Before grilling your first meal of the season you should do a test run. Light the grill up and let it burn. Make sure all the burners are lit and working. Ideally you will see a blue flame with yellow tips.
TIP: If you notice a low, lazy flame after hooking up your propane tank don’t automatically assume the tank is faulty. First try this. Turn off all the valves on your barbecue, close the valve on the propane tank, remove the regulator and hose from the tank, then reinstall the hose regulator onto your propane tank, this time making sure the regulator is square to the tank when tightening it and that it threads all of the way. This is a safety feature on all new tanks so that when the regulator is not installed correctly you will get a low heat lazy flame. Sometimes you have to try a couple of times.
Now that you’ve taken time to ensure your barbecue is clean and in proper working order you can enjoy all that this outdoor cooking season has to offer!
Enjoy your grilling season!