As you all know I BBQ at least twice a week all year round and increase my frequency during the warmer weather months . I am constantly cleaning and maintaining my BBQ’s . But for people that might only BBQ 3 or 4 times per summer season and then pack away their BBQ till next year I have a few tips and guidelines.
Always firstly consult your BBQ manufactures manual on maintenance and make sure what materials the products are made from . So for instance your grid might be made from or porciline coated. If this is the case don’t use a steel wire brush on it or you will damage the surface of the grid and then it will rust easier and you will find it harder to clean .
The rule is that if you are finished using the BBQ for the summer, if you fall under the category of summer occasional Barbequer then clean it before you pack it away . This will stop you also attracting hungry vermin that might think the smell from the dirty fat that you left behind might be food. Gas bbq tend to collect loads of fat as there isn’t a real fire to burn the fat away . The more you pay for your gas bbq the less fat collection problem you will have.
If you leave the dirt and fat on the BBQ it will start to become moldy with the cold and dampness from the winter and the bacteria will have lovely breeding ground on the fat and left over pieces of meat and basting etc .
Newspaper is the BBQ’ers best friend in many ways! Not only do we use it for lighting the fire but it’s brilliant to rub the fat off the grate when it’s nice and hot. When am finished bbq I always turn the heat up of the Gas or lower the grate on the real fire and then use the newspaper to wipe the hot grease from the grate. This makes it easier to clean when you are finished for the day or for cleaning later.
So you have checked what you can and can’t use for your type of grid ! For stainles , cast iron and other non coated grids I always use a steel wire brush . If you don’t have one just use the steel wire pot scrubber you have in the kitchen. Some of the above steel type grids might still have some type of coating which I don’t really like. Why on earth would you want to put a porcelain coating on cast iron. It won’t last and will wear off so you will be left with bits of coating here and there. I prefer to naturally coat my cast iron with olive/sunflower oil to keep it rust free. The more you use it the better you will preserve it . Below photo you can see a very well used stainless steel grate
If it’s a coated surface it’s better to use hot water and soap, nothing abrasive! Best is a hard but soft bristle brush like a hand nail type brush.If you dedicate this brush to the BBQ then it will last a long time but if you use the house one it will get dirty with fatty grease.
No harm to coat these type of treated grids with a coat of olive/sunflower oil after cleaning, the same as you would with cast iron or stainless. I am constantly coating my cast iron and although I live by the coast I never have rusty pots or grids due to my constant care and maintenance. Again it’s advisable to get a dedicated brush for this and small painters brushes work wonderful for this and will last a longtime.
There are loads of great brilliant types of cleaners that are designed specifically for those type of coated grids but can be used on any type of grids — do check on the can to see what you can use it on as some aren’t the best suited for stainless steel and might stain the stainless steel.These cleaners are good at removing all the grime etc and then all you do is wash it off with nice warm water to ensure there is nothing left on the surface that you will cook on later. Do take care to wash it off properly. I tend to use newspaper to sit it on . It’s the foam that removes the dirt.
The beginning of the summer or end of summer is always a good time to check for damage to the fitting of the hoses and your gas bottle connection if you use gas to BBQ o . These hoses are cheap to replace and they do have a shelf life best before date . They can sometimes become brittle from constant sunshine and outdoor exposure. If there is a kink or heat damage from being too close to a burner replace it immediately. This is also a good time to check the condition of your burners and replace if not working properly. Most BBQ manufacturers will sell replacement burner parts and this might just improve or revive your BBQ again.
Have fun and the summer is nearly here !!!!!