It’s summer and time to get the grill out. There’s nothing like home-cooked meals from the grill and whether your preference is for meat, fish, or veggies, cooking fast and fresh is easy. But, if your household is anything like mine, the grill rarely gets more attention than a burn-off and brush-up.
Which leads to the question: If I were doing it right, what would I be doing?
According to the experts, we should be giving our grill a thorough cleaning at least once per season—more if we use it more than a couple of times a week. On top of that, we should be checking the gas line a few times during the season and, most especially, at the beginning. To do this, open the valve on the tank and wet down the line with soapy water. If you get bubbling anywhere you have a leak. If the leak is at a joint, tighten it up. If you still have bubbling you need to replace the fitting. If the leak is anywhere else in the line you need to replace the line. Don’t forget to check for leaks again after you’ve made the replacement.*
Before you use the grill—whenever you use it—most grill manufacturers and gas suppliers recommend that you fire the burners on high for 15 minutes. This will burn off any fatty residues left over from the previous use.
For your big cleanup:
1. Close off the gas supply (if the tank shows any signs of corrosion, it’s time to trade it in for a new one).
2. Thoroughly scrub the top side of the grills. When done, turn them over and scrub the underside. Put them to one side.
3. Wash the flame deflectors. Hopefully these will be simply resting on a ledge at either end and thus will be easily lifted out—this is the case in most grills. Once removed clean them with hot soapy water.
4. If the burners are easy to remove do so and wash them with hot soapy water. If they are not easily removed, or you don’t want to risk damaging them, wash them in situ.
5. Remove the plates beneath the burners. If you’ve not done this before there will likely be a lot to clean off! You can use a brush, a scraper, hot soapy water… whatever you need.
6. Remove the bottom tray. Again, use whatever works to clean it up.
7. Put everything back together, turn the gas supply back on, check for leaks (see above), repeat the 15-minute burn off on high and…
* If you are in any way concerned about a gas leak, call a technician–it’s always better to be safe.