Summer is in full swing and that means your grill has become a part of your daily routine. From quick dinners after work to lazy weekend afternoons, your grill has probably seen a lot of activity lately. But just like any other piece of equipment, your grill needs regular maintenance. Simply cleaning and examining your grill will help you get the most out of grilling season. You can extend the working life of your grill and keep your food tasting great all summer long. Use these maintenance tips to make sure your grill can last the test of time.
Ask the Manufacturer
Grill maintenance isn’t set in stone. Every grill has unique properties, including fuel connections and grill accessories. Before you start maintaining and cleaning your grill, look for the owner’s manual or research the make and model on the manufacturer’s website to see what they recommend. Some electric patio grills can be quite technologically advanced with unusual components, so make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s guidelines when adjusting or breaking down the grill in any way.
Safety should always come first when handling your grill. Please follow the safety guidelines as laid out by the National Fire Protection Association, so you don’t accidentally hurt yourself or damage your equipment.
Keeping the Grill Covered
Nothing will wear down your grill like the weather. Anytime you’re not using your grill, you should keep it covered. If your grill didn’t come with some type of cover, you can buy one at your local home improvement store or online on the manufacturer’s website. The cover should be waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about moisture ruining the grill. Keeping your equipment covered will protect it against rain, wind and moisture that can lead to oxidation. If you keep your grill outside, try to put it under an awning or some type of enclosure to minimize its exposure to the elements.
If you already own a grill cover, make sure there are no holes or tears in the fabric before you store your grill. The slightest opening could let in a flood of water that can cause your grill to rust. You should never cover the grill when it’s still hot. Let the grill cool down as you finish eating before storing it for the night.
Checking the Fuel Connections
Regardless of what kind of grill you have, you need to make sure the fuel connections are in good working condition. If you have a propane grill, you’ll need to check the tank for rust and leaks, including the fuel line that connects your grill to the tank. If the tank looks rusted or worn down, you’ll need to find a replacement at your local grocery store or another retailer in your area. You can usually trade the old tank in for a discount on a new one.
If you have an electric grill, make sure the power cord is dry and intact before plugging it in. If you store your grill outside, there’s always a chance a small animal could eat away at the cord. Leaving the cord too close to the heating chamber can also cause the cable to melt.
Washing the Grill
One of the most important things you can do for your grill is to keep it clean inside and out. Grills tend to fill up with grease, food residue and charcoal, which can alter the taste of your food.
For propane grills, disconnect the propane tank before removing the cooking grates and gas tubes. You can clean the cooking grates with a wire brush and warm, soapy water. You can also clean the gas tubes with a damp, soapy cloth. To wash the grill basin, cover the gas valves with foil to prevent corrosion. You can use a wire brush or a hefty sponge with a scouring side to clean out the inside of the grill. Make sure all the components are dry before reattaching.
For electric grills, disconnect the power cord before disassembling the grill. You should be able to remove the cooking grates. Depending on what type of grill you have, you should be able to wash them in your sink like you would a normal dish. You’ll also need to wash out the grill basin with a sponge or wire brush of some kind. It’s also a good idea to scrub down any knobs or buttons on the grill.
If some parts of your grill are cemented with stuck-on food, you can try soaking them in a vat of dish soap. You can also use some stainless steel polish to get out tough stains.
How Often Should You Clean Your Grill?
It’s best to clean out your entire grill at the start of grilling season and at the end. If you’re using your grill every day or multiple times a day, you might want to repeat this process halfway through the season or once a month. If you notice large chunks of grease and food residue collecting inside the grill, it could use a thorough wash.
Burning Off Excess Grease
Let’s face it. Your grill is bound to fill up with grease every time you cook a meal, especially if you’re using an older model. Instead of scraping off stuck-on grease for hours on end, you can burn off excess grease when you’re done grilling to keep it from building up over time. Just flip the burners over and let the grill run for an extra 10 to 15 minutes. The extra heat will burn down the grease. This makes maintaining your grill much easier at the start and end of the season.
Keeping your grill in good shape is about making the most of summer. You and your loved ones depend on this piece of equipment when it comes to enjoying the season. If you make regular grill maintenance a part of your normal routine, your food will taste better, and you can continue to use your grill for years to come. Remember to be safe and thorough when washing off your grill. Celebrate summer and treat your grill the way it was always meant to be treated.