How to get your grill ready for summer

If you’ve ignored your grill, a little work will have it looking (and cooking) fantastic. (Whitson Gordon/)

Few things are more amazing than that very first 60-degree day after a severe winter season, when you can lastly break out the grill and… gaze in shock at the rusty, charred mess in front of you. Prior to you confess defeat and order pizza, consider that grill a great deep cleansing—you’d be amazed what a little effort can do.

“People have a tendency to forget how old their grills are, and when the last time they cleaned it was,” states Kevin Kolman, head grillmaster at Weber. With time, the within your grill gets covered with schmutz—a word he ensures me is main barbecue terms—which can lead to irregular temperature levels and an absence of appropriate heat. It can likewise trigger small flare-ups and other efficiency concerns. A fast cleansing once a month can assist prevent such issues, however if it’s been a bit longer than that—don’t fret, you aren’t alone—you might desire to go a bit deeper.

What you’ll require for your deep tidy

The minute you stir your grill from its winter season hibernation is a fun time to offer it an extensive cleansing, so it’s ready for the season. To do so, you’ll require a couple of things:

  • <b>A grill brush.</b> Kolman suggests purchasing a brand-new grill brush every year. That method, you aren’t utilizing a rusty five-year-old brush whenever you fire up the barbie, and you can utilize in 2015’s brush for the early-season deep tidy without fretting about destroying it. He likes <a href=”” target=_blank>Weber’s own 3-sided grill brush</a>—unsurprising considering that he works for the business—however <a href=”” target=_blank>so does America’s Test Kitchen</a>, so that’s what I utilized for this guide. Whatever you pick, make certain it’s a highly-rated brush from a relied on brand name, considering that some less expensive ones can break down or remove the covering off your grates.
  • <b>A paint scraper.</b> Either <a href=”” target=_blank>metal</a> or <a href=”″ target=_blank>plastic</a> must work great, Kolman states—you simply desire something with a flat edge that will scrape particles off the within your grill.
  • <b>Grill and grate cleaner.</b> A spray-on grill cleaner isn’t constantly essential, however it can assist make persistent, burnt-on food simpler to remove. I utilized <a href=”” target=_blank>this Goo Gone grill cleaner</a>, though <a href=”” target=_blank>Easy-Off</a> is another popular alternative, and <a href=”” target=_blank>Weber makes its own spray</a>, too.
  • <b>A searching pad.</b> A <a href=”″ target=_blank>moderate scrubbing pad</a> will assist wipe a few of the more persistent gunk.
  • <b>Dish soap.</b> You most likely currently have some in your cooking area—<a href=”” target=_blank>any good meal soap</a> created to de-grease must work fine.
  • <b>Stainless steel and/or glass cleaner.</b> If your grill has a porcelain hood, you can clean it with any old glass cleaner and paper towel. For stainless-steel hoods and side tables, however, you’ll desire a more specific stainless-steel cleaner and polish like <a href=”″ target=_blank>this spray from Weiman</a>.
  • <b>A microfiber towel.</b> Again, if you have any stainless-steel parts, <a href=”” target=_blank>a non-abrasive fabric</a> will assist avoid cleaning-related scratches.

Get fired up—let’s do this

Once you have the essential tools, it’s time to open your grill and admire the revolting state you left it in. We got our hands on an especially ignored grill for this presentation; ideally yours looks a little much better.

If your grill operates on gas, make certain its fuel supply has actually been shut off at the source—that little knob must constantly be shut when your grill is not in usage—and survey the damage. (If you’re utilizing a charcoal grill, the suggestions about some elements—like burners—certainly won’t matter, however the remainder of the guide must fit you well. Simply follow the parts that use to you.)

1. Get rid of the grill grates, together with any heat-dissipating panels and other quickly detachable parts. Weber grills typically have a set of “flavorizer bars” above the burners that you’ll desire to get rid of, for example. These parts might have a good quantity of rust, however as long as they don’t be available in direct contact with food, that’s alright. We’ll still provide a great tidy, however you aren’t most likely to get them back to their initial steel shine. “As long as the burners and bars do not have holes or pitted areas, these parts will work just fine,” Kolman states. “Issues occur when they are pitted, have holes and are breaking apart.”

2. Put a few of your meal cleaning agent in a big container and fill it with warm water. Toss in the grates, heat panels, and flavorizer bars and let them soak for a couple of minutes. (I didn’t have a container huge enough to fit whatever, so I utilized the cover to my kid’s old plastic sandbox. Whatever works, right?) If your grates are made from bare cast-iron rather of stainless-steel, you don’t desire to soak them—it can destroy the spices. Leave them aside for now.

3. Get brushing. While the detachable parts soak, take your grill brush and offer your burner tubes a once-over, ensuring there isn’t any particles obstructing the holes in the burner. Brush throughout televisions, instead of along the length of every one—you don’t desire to push particles into the holes as you go, as it can obstruct the flame or obstruct the burners. Once again, don’t fret if these are a little rusty—that’s typical.

Be careful when you brush the burners—you want to clean them, not fill them with gunk.

Be mindful when you brush the burners—you desire to tidy them, not fill them with gunk. (Whitson Gordon/)

4. Return to your soapy container and offer your steel elements a great scrub with your searching pad. If you require a little additional cleansing power, spray them with some grill and grate cleaner, let it sit for a minute, then scrub away. Make sure to rinse these parts with tidy water when you’re done, then dry them with a rag.

5. Turn your attention to the grill itself. Start by examining the cover. If you see any flakes peeling along the within, don’t panic: It’s not paint. “Because of the heat or moisture humidity inside there, the smoke has a tendency to bake itself onto the inside of the lid, and it’ll start to sheet itself off,” Kolman states. You can quickly take your putty knife or grill brush and scrape away all that carbonized grease. It’s alright if it falls under the cookbox, since we’re about to tidy that, too.

6. Take a look at the cookbox. There’s a likelihood you have a great deal of grease and food residue in the cookbox along the bottom of your grill. If so, get a store vacuum and clear out all the loose particles you can. (If you don’t have one, you can shovel a few of it out yourself, however a little, fairly economical store vac goes a long method.) If there’s any particles caked on the bottom of the cookbox, grab your paint scraper and scrape it off. If it’s truly fossilized, spray your grill cleaner, let it sit, then scrape once again, pressing all that nasty things into the hole that leads to the drip tray. You can then move the grease tray out and offer it a great cleansing, too, brushing any particles into the garbage. Rub out any staying cleaner with a damp paper towel.

If you're having a hard time getting some truly stubborn stuff out of your grill, spray it with some cleaner and get scraping.

If you’re having a difficult time getting some really persistent things out of your grill, spray it with some cleaner and get scraping. (Whitson Gordon/)

Finishing up

No matter just how much you scrub, your grill will most likely never ever appear like it did the day you purchased it, which’s alright. The objective isn’t to get it looking glossy new—your objective is to get rid of big deposits of grease and charred food that can adversely affect your grill’s efficiency. Don’t feel like you need to replace your grill just because it has signs of use—consider them a badge of honor!

You may, however, have to replace some components here and there—like, as Kolman mentioned, heat panels that have cracks or holes in them. And if your cast-iron grates are rusted to hell like the ones on the run-down model we cleaned, you can either strip and re-season them, or just grab some new ones—we opted for the latter. (You can replace them with stainless steel if you want something a bit lower-maintenance, though the grilling ability of stainless steel versus iron is a debate all its own.) If your grill’s manufacturer doesn’t sell replacement parts for your particular unit, is a great resource for tracking down hard-to-find pieces, and third-party vendors such as GrillGrate offer their own cooking surfaces for a variety of grills.

You may also find, once you fire up your grill, that your burners still need some extra love. One of mine was producing a large yellow flame rather than the more desirable small blue flame, which can indicate that it needs to be completely removed and cleaned with a bottle brush (or replaced entirely). Make sure everything is lighting up, too. If you’ve only got fire halfway along the length of the burner, you may have a clogged hole or two that you need to poke through with a pin.

When all the important stuff is done, feel free to clean the stainless steel on the outside as well. “Spray on the cleaner and let it sit for five minutes, because you need time for that cleaner to start to activate,” Kolman says. “Then take your microfiber towel and wipe with the grain.” He notes that you should avoid paper towels on steel, lest you scratch the finish. A porcelain lid is much more forgiving, and you can just use glass cleaner and paper towels for that. Clean any plastic parts with soap and water, and you’re ready for the first burgers of the season.

How to maintain your grill as you go

Don't neglect your grill grate between grillings.

Do not neglect your grill grate between grillings. (Whitson Gordon/)

After buckling down for a deep clean, you’ve hopefully resolved to not ever let your grill get to such a sorry state again. Thankfully, Kolman has a few tips for making that happen.

“Every month, I think it’s a pretty good rule of thumb to take a look at the inside of the grill and clean up the flavorizer bars and grates,” he says. A bit of occasional scraping with a putty knife will help keep your grill operating at peak performance.

Kolman also recommends brushing the grates before you cook, not after. “Preheat your grill for 10 to 15 minutes, get the grates extremely hot, and any excess debris you have on there is going to get burned off.” Then just brush it away. He says brushing after you cook is more likely to gunk up the bristles of your brush.

These days, many people prefer wooden paddles instead of metal-bristled brushes for those in-between cleanings—that way you don’t get metal bits falling off into your food. America’s Test Kitchen didn’t see any issues with this in their durability tests, but they did find that a bristle-free metal brush like this one was more effective than a wooden paddle.

You should also empty and clean the drip tray regularly, Kolman says. “The more stuff you have down there, the less the grease is getting out, the more chance you have some minor flare-ups.” He says once a month is probably fine for most people, but if you do a lot of grilling, once every two weeks may be better. And for heaven’s sake, keep the grill under a cover when you aren’t using it, to protect it from the elements.

Kolman also recommends checking the gas connections regularly, especially if you’ve gone a few months since you last used your grill. Put a little soapy water around the gas fittings and turn the gas on. If the soap starts to bubble and move around, you’ve got a leak, and you’ll require to change the component or have a professional check it out.

Other than that, don’t get too concerned about how your grill looks—it’s all about how it performs. Using your grill will naturally change the color and appearance of its interior, and that’s okay. It means you’re putting it to good usage. A little maintenance goes a long way, and if you do a quick cleaning of the cookbox when every couple of months, you won’t have to go rather as tough whenever you bring the grill out from its snowy rest.

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