Prep Your BBQ Grill for Summer

Prep Your BBQ Grill for Summer

Level: Beginner

It's time to fire up the grill for a new season of family fun and fabulous food. Once you dig out your BBQ grill from its wintry hibernation, you'll need to clean and prepare it before you light it up and start cooking. Whether you have a gas or charcoal grill, these tips will have your grill ready to heat up summer in no time at all.

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  • Gas Grills

    • Step 1: Give Your Grill a Checkup
      gas grill

      If your BBQ grill has been sitting idle for months, after you dust it off or uncover it, it's a good idea to take a close look at all of 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, paper clip or another slender object to clear them. Check knobs and other controls to make sure they are not damaged and working properly. Tighten any loose screws or bolts. If your propane tank is empty, refill it at an authorized propane supplier.

      Safety Alert!

      To avoid serious injury, be sure the propane tank is disconnected from the grill before doing any kind of maintenance. Read your BBQ grill's instruction manual for particular safety issues.

    • Step 2: Clean It
      wire brush

      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 them vigorously with a wire brush to remove burnt-on food particles and debris. You can also run them through the dishwasher after you've scrubbed them. Cleaning chemicals are available for both the inside and outside of your grill to help remove tough stains and grease build-up. Using grill-cleaning chemicals on grates or other grill components is not necessary if you scrub the grates well enough and often enough. 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 clear of any food particles and replace foil drip pans to help prevent grease fires and flare ups.

    • Step 3: Test It
      charcoal grill

      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!

    Charcoal Grills

    Cleaning a charcoal grill is much easier than cleaning a gas grill because there are no complex components—it's pretty much a fire pit on legs. Follow the tips below to get your charcoal grill clean and ready to cook.

    • Step 1: Scrub and Clean Grates

      Scrape burnt, cooked-on food particles and debris from the grates using a stiff wire brush and grill brush. If your grates are stainless steel, there are grill grate cleaners available to help make your grates look like new. You can place the grates in a large trash bag and spray grill grate cleaner inside. Let the grates sit in this bag overnight. Cover an area of the ground or floor with a drop cloth or layers of newspaper, remove the grates from the bag and place them on the floor covering. Scrub again with the wire brush or a scouring pad.

      If you have aluminum grates, wash them with a rag, dish detergent and water.

    • Step 2: Clean Grill Inside and Out

      Remove any old coals and ash from the inside by scooping or dumping it into a trash bag. If your grill is equipped with an ash catcher, you can use this as well, but you may still need to remove some ash by hand, using a large cup or scoop of some kind. To avoid burning yourself, only do this when the grill has not been recently used. Wipe the inside and outside with a rag then wash the grill using dish detergent and hot water with a plastic scrubber, sponge or rag. After cleaning by hand, hose down the grill and grates and let them dry.

    • Step 3: Fire It Up

      After everything has dried, replace the grates, add charcoal and light the charcoals. Cover and let the fire burn for about 20 minutes to burn off anything left over from the cleaning.

      You're done! It's time to start enjoying the BBQ months with your family and friends.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

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