It's time to fire up the grill for a new season of family fun and fabulous food. Of course, you'll need to clean and prepare it before you start cooking. Whether you have a gas grill or charcoal grill, these tips will have your grill ready to heat up summer in no time. Check the Project Shopping List to see what you need before you get started.
Step 1: Give Your Grill a Checkup
If your BBQ grill has been sitting idle for months, it's a good idea to take a close look at its components to make sure everything is in proper working order. Examine hoses for any cracks or damage. If a hose seems compromised in any way, replace it.
Inspect burners and their gas tubes and make sure they aren't worn out, rusty or blocked by debris or spider webs. If gas tubes have worn spots, replace them. If they are blocked, use a pipe cleaner, toothpick or paper clip to clear them. Check knobs and other controls to make sure they're undamaged and working properly. Tighten any loose screws or bolts. If your propane tank is empty, refill it at an authorized propane supplier.
To avoid serious injury, be sure the propane tank is disconnected from the grill before doing maintenance. Read your BBQ grill's instruction manual for particular safety issues.
Step 2: Clean It
Remove any internal parts that can be disconnected from the grill and soak them for a few minutes in a bucket of hot water and mild detergent, such as dishwashing liquid. (Make sure water won't affect functionality.) Scrub the parts with a rag, sponge or soft scrubbing pad.
Remove porcelain-coated or metal grates and scrub vigorously with a wire brush to remove burnt-on food and debris. You can also run them through the dishwasher after you've scrubbed them. Cleaning chemicals for both the inside and outside of your grill can help remove tough stains and grease build-up, but aren't necessary if you scrub the grates well. Note: Many gas grills have aluminum parts that can be damaged by abrasive cleaning products, like oven cleaners, or tools such as wire brushes or scouring pads. Make sure that the grease tray is clean and replace foil drip pans to help prevent flare ups.
Step 3: Test It
Once all the parts have been cleaned, dried and reassembled, ensure all hoses and components are reconnected correctly and fire up the grill. Close the lid and let the grill burn for 10 to 15 minutes to burn off any cleaning-chemical residue. After you've determined everything is working correctly, you're done. It's time to cook!
Cleaning a charcoal grill is easy because there are no complex components—it's pretty much a fire pit on legs.
Step 1: Scrub and Clean Grates
Scrape food particles and debris from the grates using a stiff wire brush or grill brush. If you have aluminum grates, wash them with a rag, dish detergent and water.
Are your grates stainless steel? Use a grill grate cleaner to help make your grates look like new. Place the grates in a large trash bag and spray grill grate cleaner inside. Let the grates sit in the bag overnight. Cover an area of the ground with a drop cloth or newspaper, remove the grates from the bag and place them on top. Scrub again with the wire brush or a scouring pad.
Step 2: Clean the Grill Inside and Out
Remove coals and ash from the inside by dumping them into a trash bag. If your grill is equipped with an ash catcher, you can use it, but you may still need to remove some ash by hand. Wipe the inside and outside with a rag. Wash the grill using dish detergent and hot water. After cleaning by hand, hose down the grill and grates and let them dry.
Step 3: Fire It Up
Replace the grates, add charcoal and light it. Cover and let the fire burn for about 20 minutes to burn off anything left over from the cleaning.
Awesome, another project finished! You’re all set to enjoy a season of delicious grilled food.
Project Shopping List
Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.