Getting your BBQ summer ready
Our guide to giving your barbecue a spring clean.
If you’ve left your barbecue on the deck over winter, chances are it’ll be in a bit of a state when you whip off the covers – mould, rust and critters can all make themselves at home over the colder months.
As grimy as it might be, it’s not the end of the world. With a touch of elbow grease, you can usually resurrect your beast and get your outdoor cooking going in an afternoon.
Checking the gas bottle and connections
- Check the gas bottle, connections and hose for damage and corrosion. Also take the time to look for leaks before you fire it up. The best way to find out is by spraying or painting on a mix of soapy water – if you see bubbles forming, replace the hose and connections.
- Check the weight of the gas bottle. If it’s light, get it refilled so you aren’t left short. If you don’t have a refill station nearby, take advantage of a swap station. It’ll take any old 9kg cylinder as a swap, so it might be a good time to bring in your old, clapped-out one and get something fresh.
TIP: Have a full, spare gas bottle tucked away in your garage with your emergency water and food. If your barbecue wheezes out mid-cook, you can quickly swap the new bottle in without needing to dash to the petrol station in your apron. Just remember to swap or refill the empty one when you get a chance.
BBQ spring clean
- Throw out last year’s wire brush and buy a new one. You should do this every season as the brushes can start dropping bristles – a major health concern if one ends up in your lamb chop.
- Give the outside a good clean. A warm, soapy solution and a dish brush and cloth combo should do the trick. Look for any corrosion that may be eating into the barbecue or trolley, which could make it unsafe to use or move around.
- Next, open the lid and take out grates and set them to one side. Now it’s time to give the inside a good scrape down – this will probably be last season’s congealed grease. It’s not a pretty job but it is essential – it’ll help prevent fat fires when you start it up.
- Then turn your attention to the burners. Check for cracks – they might need replacing if they’re damaged in any way as it affects the evenness of cooking. Brush the burners with wire brush to clear any debris, which makes sure the flames come out evenly.
- Now clean out the grease trap that should have your latest scrapings in it, and potentially the remains of the last cook as well. Line the grease tray with tinfoil to make cleaning it less of a chore next time.
- Throw your grill or hotplates back on to the barbecue and fire it up on high for 20 minutes. Make a quick visual check of the flames coming out of the burners – they should appear even. If they don’t, there’s a problem. You might fix it with another brushing, or they might need replacing.
- After 20 minutes, turn off the barbecue and let it cool before giving the grills a good clean. It doesn’t need to be surgically clean, but you can decide what level of cleanliness you’re comfortable with.
- The last step in the process is seasoning the grill. This gives it a somewhat non-stick surface and helps prevent rust. Grab some cooking oil (spray is best) and give the grates and hotplates a thin coating, making sure you get an even coverage. Turn the barbecue back on high for at least 15 minutes to complete the job.
Now you’re good to go. Remember to check the grease trap and make sure the insides are reasonably clean after every few cooks. That’ll help prevent fat fires.
Is your grill beyond a good clean?
Check online or in the store you bought it from for replacement parts. If you find your barbecue is past the point of no return, check our test results to help you decide on the best replacement to get your grilling kickstarted this summer.
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