If you're not like us, and don't use your barbecue all year round (you really oughta) then you should follow this quick guide to getting your barbecue in ship shape to start your grilling season. (Ours is 365 days long)
Safety First - Check For Leaks
Before you start cleaning and fiddling around with your barbecue components, you'll want to make sure to check any gas components for leaks. This can be done by doing a 'soap test' or with some Master's Leak Detector spray. Check the lines and hoses for any nicks and punctures. If found, it's better to be safe than sorry and worth replacing when in doubt. Make sure to also soap test any connections and valves.
Need a replacement hose or regulator? We stock them in a variety of sizes and our handy experts can help you find the right one if you're unsure.
If your propane tank is looking a little rusty or damaged, it's time to bring it to your local tank exchange program and trade it in for a new - and safe - one.
Now's where you get your hands dirty and your barbecue gets clean. Now that you've checked for any potential gas leaks, let's move on to cleaning out the barbecue.
Step 1: Inspect and clean your burners
Disconnect your fuel source while you inspect your burners. You'll want to check for things like burn through and clogged ports.
Clogged ports can be fixed with either a tooth pick or a brush with firm bristles. Brush the burners across its ports to help dislodge the grease and debris that might be blocking the holes.
Burn through is not fixable, that is a clear sign that it's time to get you some new burners or a new barbecue. Which ever fits your barbecue budget best.
If your barbecue isn't getting as hot as it used to and you didn't find any leaks when you were inspecting your hose and gas lines, there could be some build up inside the burners - possibly in the way of a spider's nest". A venturi brush is a great way to clean spider webs out of the venturi tubes of your burners.
Once you've cleaned and inspected your burners, you can re-connect your gas line or propane tank and test-fire your burners to make sure you have an even - and mostly blue - flame while your flavourizer bars and grills are still out of the firebox.
Step 2: Clean and inspect your flavourizer bars
Some brands call them flavourizer bars, heat shields and heat deflectors among others. Whatever you want to call them they do a lot of work protecting your burners from grease and spreading the heat across your barbecue. While a lot of the grease gets vaporized, there is always residue that sticks around.
The best way to clean these is by removing them from your barbecue and laying them out on a towel, sheet or paper towel. Spray them with a degreaser and let it sit for a few minutes. Using a brush, (we recommend this one) scrub off any 'gunk'. Make sure to give them a very thorough rinse before putting them back inside the fire box.
If your flavourizer bars have some surface rust on them, you can use either sand paper or a wire scrubber to remove it. If they are rusted through, then it's time they retire. Especially if they look like this:
Step 3: Cleaning your barbecue grills
Moving up through the barbecue, we now arrive at the grills. The easiest way to clean off your grills is by turning on your barbecue and getting the temperature up to at least 350°F. Let your grill heat for about 10-15 minutes to loosen the grease that's built up. This is a great time to re-season your grills, especially if they are cast iron. Don't forget to clean the underside of your grills!
If you've got stainless steel rod grills, these can be put in the dishwasher for expediency. Just make sure clean off any large pieces of debris that can be removed first.
Step 4: Get that grease gone!
If you forgot to empty your grease collector, empty it now before you start scraping stuff into it. Sometimes it can fill up with rain if your cart is exposed to the elements. Then you'll want to scrape down any of the crusty grease that's stuck itself to the grease tray and bottom of your firebox. (We use a plastic putty knife at our house).
This works best when your barbecue has cooled down after cooking off the grease on your grills from step 3. (Hence why this is step 4).
Replace your old drip pan liner with a new, fresh, clean one to start the season off right.
Step 5: Clean the body of your barbecue
This step is mainly for aesthetics. While the lid is still a bit warm, you can use a scrub brush, some degreaser and some elbow grease to remove the charred on grease and soot that's built up under your lid. Yes - it's grease, not paint. Trust us...
Use the same degreaser to clean any grease or grime from the side shelves and the rest of the barbecue. It's always nice to start the season fresh. It also makes it easier to keep it clean.
Now Get Grilling Already!!