How to Keep Your BBQ in Good Health this Summer How to Keep Your BBQ in Good Health this Summer

What You'll Need
Soft clean cloths
Cooking oil
Paper towel
Liquid detergent
Window cleaner
Stainless steel cleaner

Regardless of whether you call it your barbecue or your grill, you’ll need a few important supplies to keep your appliance clean and to maintain its optimum cooking capabilities. Clean cloths, cooking oil, paper towels, and a wire brush are essential to ensuring that your BBQ fires up properly and safely whenever you need it.

Before you begin any maintenance work on your barbecue, be sure to read the guide provided by the manufacturer of your grill. The instruction manual will provide you with all of the information you will need to use, clean, and maintain your barbecue.

Interior Maintenance

Step 1 - Clean the Flame Tamers

Make sure the flame tamers in your barbecue are clean. They’re also referred to as heat tents, and you’ll find them directly over the burners. Remove them from your barbecue and use your wire brush to remove any residue or debris. Once you've removed the debris, you’re finished. They do not require any oil whatsoever.

Step 2 - Unclog the Cast Burners

When your flame tamers are out of the barbecue, check the cast burners. If they've become clogged, you will need to scrub them to remove the residue. Excess residue will clog the burners, which can cause damage to the burner as well as uneven cooking. Use your wire brush to scrub the burners and remove any grease or leftover food. If your burners are made of ceramic, you’ll need to carefully clean them. A wire brush will damage the fragile ceramic. Instead, turn on the burners for about ten minutes to burn off the residue. Then allow the ceramic to cool and gently wipe off any other residue with a soft clean cloth.

Step 3 - Brush the Grates Regularly

Regularly brush the cooking grates of your barbecue with your wire brush. This will reduce the chances of any bacteria or food residue building up on the grates. The burners should be turned off before you begin cleaning. Once all of the residue has been removed, lightly spray them with your cooking oil. You might also choose to pour cooking oil onto a piece of paper towel and rub it over the grates. This will enable you to get the oil more deeply into the surface of the grates. Be sure to wait until the grates are cool before you begin. Not only will the cooking oil make the grilling process easier, but it will prevent rust from developing on the metal grates. It’s important to use a wire brush that is in good condition. An older brush may start to lose its bristles. The last thing you want is old wire bristles in your next grilled hamburger.

Step 4 - Check the Fuel Line with Soap

Before you attempt to ignite your gas grill, take a look at the fuel line leading from the tank to the barbecue. It’s a good idea to check the line once a month during the grilling season to ensure that there are no leaks. You can check for leaks by applying soapy water to the line. Fill a bowl with water and add a drop of liquid detergent, mixing the solution until it is soapy. Use a cloth to apply the water. If any bubbles develop on the line, you’ll know you have a leak. You’ll either have to tighten the connectors or replace your fuel line.

Step 5 - Clear the Venture Tubes

Make sure the venture tubes leading from the burners to the control buttons are clear. Spiders and other insects can get inside these tubes, causing blockages and fire hazards. Disconnect the tubes and clean them. Dip your wire brush into soapy water to remove any residue. If necessary, uncurl a paper clip and use it to get into smaller parts of the tubes. Allow the tubes to dry before you reconnect them. Be sure the venture tubes are securely connected to prevent any possibility of a dangerous fire hazard.

Step 6 - Check Propane Levels

Ensure that your propane tank is full. Check the reading on the gauge at the top of the tank. If your tank does not have a gauge, you can use warm water to check the amount of propane left. Pour some warm water from the top of the tank down one side. Rub your hand down the side of the tank. The area where you feel the tank become cool is the level of propane left in the tank.

Step 7 - Look for an Ignition Spark

Make sure the ignition is sparking properly. Try igniting the barbecue and look for the spark. If there is no spark you have a problem with your pressure regulator. Check that they are secured tightly. If you are still experiencing difficulties, you may need to check whether the ignition switch batteries need to be replaced.

Exterior Maintenance

Barbecue exterior surfaces are made from a variety of materials that require different methods of keeping them clean. If your barbecue has a porcelain coated steel lid, it’s important to treat it with the utmost care since these lids are delicate and can easily become damaged. Use a mild liquid detergent to wash the surface and a soft clean cloth to dry it. Window cleaner is also an effective product for polishing these surfaces. Barbecues with stainless steel lids are cleaned best with hot soapy water. First use a sponge to remove any residue. Be sure to work with the grain of the steel to rub off any baked-on food. Then, rinse the lid with warm water to get all of the soap residue off. Use a stainless steel solvent and a soft dry cloth to polish the steel to shine.

Safety Tips

  • Check and clean your barbecue thoroughly twice a year. Regularly maintaining your grill will keep it running well and reduce the chances of problems and fire hazards.
  • Do not use your barbecue in a garage or enclosed area.
  • Keep it a minimum of ten feet away from your home.
  • Store your fuel tanks in a well ventilated area and in an upright position.
  • Keep children and pets away from your barbecue whenever it is hot.

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