Maintenance Routine For Your Gas Grill
Cleaning a BBQ is a seasonal thing, right?
No, it’s not.
But I plead guilty just as well.
Having a good maintenance routine for your gas grill is actually very important as it will extend the life of your grill without a doubt.
If you want to be meticulous about your maintenance, you should clean your grill every 3 months or so but for an average person, the bare minimum should be every spring.
A quick tip I found that works well for myself is to turn this into a tradition. Spring should never feel like it’s official unless you’ve cleaned out your BBQs.
Cleaning a gas grill is fairly easy. Compared to offset smokers, setting a maintenance routine for your gas grill is a breeze. It should therefore be something you look forward to, rather than dread as winter comes to an end.
Let’s go through the steps for a perfect maintenance routine.
Top to bottom, inside and out.
The first thing you need to understand is that everything that goes up must come down.
Too often do we see people cleaning their grill as they tear it apart. If this is how you’ve always cleaned your grill, it’s time to forget everything you thought you knew and start fresh.
In order to give your BBQ a thorough cleaning, you first need to remove all pieces from within.
You can, if needed, give your grills a good scrub beforehand if they are really crusty. The intent is to gather all the grease and dirt deposits in the same place, at the bottom of your firebox grease tray.
As all the grease and dust will fall down, we want to clean it from top to bottom, from the inside to the outside.
Remove your grills, rest racks, the bottom plates, the deflectors and all other components from the firebox.
While it’s going to take some time to clean the grill itself, you can put your grills, your bottom plates and deflectors in some lukewarm soapy water to help the grease dissolve in the meantime.
Cleaning the cooking chamber
Your cooking chamber is composed of only 3 main components: the firebox, the burners and the lid.
Using a plastic scraper, give the inside of your lid a good scrub to remove any grease buildup and will prevent any dents or unnecessary damage to your lid. Using a degreasing spray, clean the inside of the lid with a rag to remove any grime that the scraper may have left inside.
As you work your way down, make sure to check for cracks and crevices near the hinge as the debris will often fall down and clog up these sections.
Once your lid has been scraped off, it is time to give these burners some love.
Burners are by far the most important thing in your grill, but also more prone to problems over time. This is why it’s important to clean your grill on a regular basis to make sure your burners are burning clean, giving you an optimal output.
A good way to verify how your burners are fairing is to light them up without any deflectors. If your flame runs orange, it means your burners are not working to their full potential and running too “cold”. A good grilling flame should be blue from end to end on your burner. Orange flames are indicators that some holes in the burner are potentially clogging up, or that rust is slowly building up.
Using a light abrasive pad or a damp sponge, scrape off any residue that may be on your burners. Inspect every hole in each burner to make sure it’s free of any rust buildup. If needed, you can use your degreaser once again and toothpicks to help deep clean your burners.
I rarely recommend taking them off from the gas line unless you haven’t cleaned them in years. A regular maintenance will allow you to save time and trouble with these sorts of things.
Avoid using soapy water to clean your burners as it will potentially increase the risk of rust build-ups in your burners.
By now, your firebox should look pretty nasty.
Buildup from the bottom plates and firebox are usually prone to catching fire and ruining your cookouts. If you don’t feel like cleaning them on a regular basis, it is well advised to do some “auto-cleaning” sessions in which you will run your BBQ as hot as possible for 30 minutes so it burns as much grease as possible without having to do this whole maintenance routine altogether.
Using the plastic scraper, start working your way down once again just as you did with the lid. Sitting at the bottom of your gas grill should be a grease tray. Let it do its job. The firebox being traditionally built thicker than the lid, can withstand a metal scrap if you need to really give it a good clean. =
If you’re a purist, you can run a shop vac inside your firebox to make sure that everything has been sucked out and there isn’t anything left in the hinges, crevices or hard-to-reach cavities.
Even though grease falls down on the tray as you cook, the tray is intended to funnel down any excess liquid into a disposable aluminum under pan.
Therefore, in most cases, the bottom tray will be filled up with dry debris so it should be fairly easy to clean. As the residue is coming from organic content, you can empty your tray in your compost pile, or send it straight into the trash can.
Once again, use that plastic scraper to give your tray a good scrub.
Lastly, replace the disposable aluminum container sitting underneath the grease tray.
From the ashes, it rises once again.
Once these steps are done, it’s time to start rebuilding your BBQ. Bottom’s up!
Before doing so, I recommend running a quick check on your propane hose and watching for potential leaks. Using a wet towel, open the valve on your tank and run the towel along the hose. Watch for bubbles. If you see any, it may be time to replace your gas hose, as propane leaks can be dangerous.
You can also test your igniter and replace the battery while you’re at it.
Now, let’s put this puppy back together.
You will start by pulling your bottom plates out from the soapy water, giving them a quick brush with the abrasive pad, drying them out, and in they go.
You will do the same steps with your deflectors and make sure that they are well aligned with your burners. Most fireboxes have dedicated dents in them to stabilize your deflectors.
Your grills should be pretty clean by now. If there’s anything still sticking to them, use a clean butter knife to scrape off anything that is left on them until they are as good as new.
Once your cooking chamber is reassembled, it’s important to start your BBQ and let it run on low for 5 to 10 minutes. This step is often overlooked and is one of the main reasons why your BBQ will start rusting after just a few years. Running your BBQ on low for a few minutes will allow any water and excess moisture to evaporate without putting any stress on your components.
Make it shine
Cleaning the outside of a BBQ is fairly easy as it requires the same cleaning process as any appliances.
First off, give it a quick shot of degreaser to remove any grease or dried liquids on each side.
Using soapy water and a sponge, clean the exterior of your grill and shelves.
The main difference between cleaning a grill and an appliance is the potential pollen buildup. Pollen tends to really stick to surfaces and requires a serious, yet soft, brushing.
Rinse thoroughly and make sure that your grill is sparkling!
Finish off with a stainless steel cleaner to make it shine like a diamond and make it pop on your patio whenever the sun comes out.
A clean BBQ should remind you that every day is a good day to grill.