How to Get Your BBQ Ready for Summer

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Few things define the summer quite like the smokey sizzle of a backyard BBQ. The long summer days are perfect for inviting your friends and relatives around for a dinner party. What could be easier than feeding your guests with a good old flame-grilled BBQ and some salads?

But after spending the cold winter months unloved and forgotten about, chances are your BBQ could do with some TLC before it’s fit for open-flame action. Here are 10 handy tips to get your BBQ ready for the summer season.

Safety first

Depending on the type of BBQ you use, disconnect the gas (make sure it’s turned off), or remove the ash and coals. Doing this makes it safer and easier to clean. If there are any doubts about the tank or connections, replace them immediately. Don’t take any chances.

1. Check for bubbles

If you use a propane tank, disconnect it, clean it, and check the tank for any damage or wear.

Make sure your gas pipe is safe to use by checking it for cracks or leaks. Do this by brushing soapy water along the length of the tube, turn on the gas, and check for bubbles. If there are any bubbles (indicating a leak or crack), switch off the gas immediately and either fix or replace the line.

2. Kick some ash

Charcoal fires tend to build up a lot of ash so make sure you clean out any unwanted debris or unburnt briquettes. If your BBQ has a grease or ash collector, make sure to empty this as well.

3. Burn off the fat

The easiest and most straightforward way to clean the grill is by burning off last season’s leftovers.

Light up the grill, leave it on a high setting, close the lid and let it run for 10-15 minutes. Doing this is an excellent way to burn off the heavy residues from last seasons grill.

4. Check your fuel levels

You can’t cook your burgers without any fuel. Plan ahead and check your gas levels before inviting all your friends around. If your tank doesn’t have a gauge, here’s a great trick for checking. Pour a glass of warm water over the reservoir and where the water feels cold to touch is a good indicator of the fuel level.

5. Whip out the wire brush

For metal grills, there’s no better tool in the arsenal for scraping off sticky grime and dirt than a wire brush. The tried and tested method is a favourite for many chefs. It’s also possibly the manliest way to clean a grill – good old fashioned brute force!

6. Make your cleaner

If hacking away at the grill with a wire brush is too much effort for your liking then here’s another option. Mix up one part water and one part distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and lather the inside of your grill with it. Let it sit for an hour or so and watch in awe as the gunk and grime on your grill wipes away easily. If all else fails, soak the grill in warm soapy water for an hour or so and wipe it clean afterwards.

7. Clean out the burners

If you notice a weak flow of gas to your BBQ chances are the gas valves or ports are clogged up with burnt food. Use a pipe cleaner, toothpick or even a paper clip to clean out any unwanted debris.  Make sure to turn off the gas beforehand.

8. Replace your coals

If your BBQ has lava rocks, you should consider replacing them annually. Often the stones can become covered in grease drippings and bits of food from the previous year. Using greasy rocks can lead to an increase in flare-ups that could burn your food – especially that expensive cut of steak you saved for a special occasion.

9. Hose it down

Looking after the inside of your BBQ is just half the battle. Even if the interior is sparkling clean, no one wants to eat from a stove covered in detritus. Hose down the exteriors of your BBQ and wipe it clean with warm soapy water. If you’ve got a BBQ cover, wash it down inside and out and let it dry thoroughly. This will help the cover last longer and eliminate any build-up of mildew that forms during the cooler months of the year.

10. Oil it up

Applying a thin layer of vegetable oil or cooking spray to your grill after it’s cleaned helps prevent food from sticking to it. The oil coats the grill making it harder for food to grab, and makes next summer’s prep work even easier.

Licensed to grill

Preparing your BBQ for the summer months doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these nifty hacks, and you’ll have your BBQ in perfect working condition. For more tips on what to do with your BBQ now that it’s up and running, check out our BBQ Guide here.