If you've invested in a gas grill, you're probably looking forward to a few summers of succulent barbecues. If you want to prolong the life of your grill, and investment, the proper care is non-negotiable. Here are your must-do grill maintenance steps.
Keep It Covered – Don't get lazy about leaving the cover of your grill off. This will expose it to the elements and shave years off of its lifespan. Even with the cover on, keep your grill in a sheltered or enclosed area when it is not in use. Contrary to popular belief, a covered gas grill is not more prone to becoming rusty.
Clean It Consistently – Cleaning your grill after each use is probably the most important maintenance item on your list. Remove cooking residue by brushing the grates, then turn the heat way up to its maximum level to burn off the grease and residue left behind. Make sure to check for any bristles which may have come off during cleaning.
Preheat Completely – Preheating your grill before each use sanitizes it, readying it for your next feast and keeping it working effectively. Make sure to give it enough time to heat up completely.
Ongoing Maintenance – Based upon the amount of grilling you do, more rigorous maintenance should be performed every 12 or more uses. Rather than trying to keep track of the number of barbecues you have had, set your calendar for grilling maintenance every two weeks during barbecue season. These maintenance sessions should include:
- Cooking grate removal and cleaning both sides by hand. Do not wash grates in the dishwasher.
- Metal barrier and burner cleaning.
- Scrub out the inside of the grill with a heavy, non-wire brush. Make sure to check for any brush bristles left behind as these can get into food and become a choking hazard. You can also use a handheld steam cleaner for both the inside of the grill and the grates.
- Scour grease drip pan.
- Wipe everything down with a damp cloth.
Annual Maintenance – Whether you keep your grill in use 12 months a year or stow it away for a sunnier day, these tasks should be done one to two times per year:
- Remove cooking grates and barrier, and let soak in boiling hot, soapy water for up to 24 hours. If you prefer, you can also let them sit in oven cleaner for up to 12 hours. Make sure to rinse thoroughly so no residue of any kind is left behind.
- Check the burners to see if the flames are uneven, while the grates and barrier are out. If the flames are not uniform, clean out the burners with a wire brush or pipe cleaner to remove any debris.
- Check out the condition of your grease pan. If it cannot be thoroughly scrubbed free of all drippings, grease and residue, replace it.
- Wash the grill's exterior.
- Dry thoroughly by heating, so the interior and exterior are completely free of dampness or moist areas.
- If your grill is being put away for a month or more, close it and disconnect its gas supply. Make sure the propane tank is kept well ventilated and stored safely.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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