Prep Your BBQ Grill for Summer
Bill Johnson - Groton, CT

Hardwarian Bill Johnson

Johnson True Value Hardware

Groton, CT

Prep Your BBQ Grill for Summer

Level: Beginner

It's time to fire up the grill for a new season of family fun and fabulous food. Once you dig out your BBQ grill from its wintry hibernation, you'll need to clean and prep it before you light it.

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  • Gas Grills

    • Step 1: Give Your Grill a Checkup
      gas grill

      If your grill has been sitting idle for months, after you dust it off or uncover it, it's a good idea to take a close look at all of its components to make sure everything is in proper working order. Examine hoses for any cracks or damage. If a hose seems compromised in any way, replace it.

      Inspect burners and their gas tubes and make sure they aren't worn out, rusty or blocked by debris or spider webs. If gas tubes have worn spots, replace them. If they are blocked, use a pipe cleaner, toothpick, paper clip or other slender object to clear them. Check knobs and other controls to make sure they are not damaged or non-working. Tighten any loose screws or bolts. If your propane tank is empty, refill it at an authorized propane supplier.

      Safety Alert!

      To avoid serious injury, be sure the propane tank is disconnected from the grill before doing any kind of maintenance. Read your BBQ grill's instruction manual for particular safety issues.

    • Step 2: Clean It Up
      wire brush

      Remove any internal parts that can be disconnected from the grill and soak them for a few minutes in a bucket of hot water and mild detergent, such as dishwashing liquid (make sure water won't affect their function first). Take them out and scrub with a rag, sponge or soft scrubbing pad. If your grill contains lava rocks, you should replace them every year.

      Remove porcelain-coated or metal grates and scrub them vigorously with a wire brush to remove burnt-on food particles and debris. You can also run them through the dishwasher after you've scrubbed them. Grill cleaning chemicals are available for both the inside and outside of your grill to help remove the tough stains and grease build-up. Using grill-cleaning chemicals on grates or other grill components is not necessary if you scrub the grates well enough and often enough. Also, since many gas grills have aluminum parts that can be damaged by abrasive cleaners and cleaning products, avoid using abrasive cleaners (such as oven cleaner) or tools such as wire brushes or scouring pads. Make sure that the grease tray is clean and clear of any food particles and replace foil drip pans to help prevent grease fires and flare ups.

    • Step 3: Test It
      charcoal grill

      Once all parts have been cleaned, dried and reassembled, ensure all hoses and components are reconnected correctly and fire up the grill. Close the lid and let the grill burn for 10 to 15 minutes to burn off any cleaning-chemical residue. After you've determined everything to be working correctly, you're done. It's time to cook!

    Charcoal Grills

    Cleaning a charcoal grill is much easier than cleaning a gas grill because there aren't any complex components — it's pretty much a fire pit on legs. Follow the tips below to get it clean and ready to cook.

    • Step 1: Scrub and Clean Grates

      Scrape burnt, cooked-on food particles and debris from the grates using a stiff wire brush and grill brush. If your grates are stainless steel, there are grill grate cleaners available to help make your grates look like new. You can place the grates in a large trash bag and spray grill grate cleaner inside. Let the grates sit in this bag overnight. Cover an area of the ground or floor with a drop cloth or layers of newspaper, remove the grates from the bag and place them on the floor covering. Scrub again with the wire brush or a scouring pad.

      If you have aluminum grates, wash them with a rag, dish detergent and water.

    • Step 2: Clean Grills Inside and Out
      charcoal

      Remove any charred coals and ash from the inside by scooping or dumping it out into a trash bag. If your grill is equipped with an ash catcher, you can use this as well, but you may still need to remove some ash by hand, using a large cup or scoop of some kind. To avoid burning yourself, only do this when the grill has not been recently used. Wipe the inside and outside with a rag then wash it using dish detergent and hot water with a plastic scrubber, sponge or rag. After cleaning it by hand, hose down the grill and grates and let them dry.

    • Step 3: Fire It Up

      After everything has dried, replace the grates, add charcoal and light it. Cover and let it burn for about 20 minutes to burn off anything left over from the cleaning.

      You're done! It's time to start enjoying the BBQ months with your friends and family.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at TrueValue.com and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

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