If you’re someone who loves spending time grilling outdoors with friends and family—a barbecue spatula in one hand, a beer in the other, and an ironic apron around your neck—the idea of thoroughly cleaning and properly maintaining your grill probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list when the sun is shining on a Saturday afternoon.
Even if you are a clean and conscientious griller, it’s a reality of outdoor barbecue parties that at some point, you’re simply going to forget that one of the most important aspects of using a grill involves keeping it both clean and safe.
But not only will cleaning and maintaining your gas grill in the correct way prolong its life, it will also make the food you cook taste the way you want it to. What’s more, it could ultimately save the lives of yourself and your loved ones.
Here are five tips for maintaining your grill at the optimal levels of performance and safety:
1. Mind the Temperature Knob
Most grills have a setting on the temperature knobs marked “clean.” Some people mistakenly think this is how you should clean your gas grill. Instead, the “clean” setting should be used to preheat your grill. This will burn off any residue you may have missed while doing your regular cleaning procedure, which most of us don’t do often enough. Allowing grease and residue to build up on your grill can be extremely dangerous, and can lead to a serious fire.
2. Use a Proper Grill Brush
Lightly clean your grill prior to every use. After you have preheated the grill, you’ll want to brush the grates to remove any residue left over from your last grilling session. You will want to use a proper brush made out of brass or stainless steel. If a warning on a brush says that it shouldn’t be used on a hot surface, don’t ever disregard that warning. Those brushes use adhesive to hold the bristles in place. High heat can cause the adhesive to melt, which can loosen the bristles. This can have adverse consequences.
3. Regularly Replace Your Grill Brush
A wonderful Father’s Day gift you can give every year is a brand new brush for cleaning the grill. Grill brushes need to be replaced often because old brushes can shed their bristles. Eating metal at a cookout is definitely not anyone’s idea of a great time. Accidentally ingesting these bristles with food has sent many people to the hospital with intestine punctures; surgery often has to be performed to remove them. This is also why you do not want to use brushes that aren’t suited for high temperatures.
4. Do a Deep Clean at the Start of the Grilling Season
Every year, preferably at the beginning of the outdoor grilling season, perform a deep clean on your grill. You’ll need to take certain sections of the grill apart in order to accomplish this. First, you’ll want to disconnect the gas. Afterward, you will lift out each layer of the grill parts. When you reach the burners, you’ll want to thoroughly inspect them to make sure nothing is inhibiting the flow of gas. A clogged burner gives off uneven heat and will not grill your food properly. If you are able to get it clean, then do so. If you’re not able to get it clean, you will need to replace it. A clogged burner can also be a fire hazard, so always remember to check the flow of gas to your grill on a regular basis.
5. Never Cover Your Cooking Area When Cleaning
Lastly, here is an important tip on how not to clean your grill: Many people recommend covering the cooking grate with aluminum foil and turning the grill on high for 20 minutes. Never do this. Covering the cooking area can trap gas, which is a potentially seriously (and potentially deadly) fire hazard. This can also block airflow that creates very high heat, which in turn will damage valves and burners.
Grilling is a great pastime that provides us with mouth-watering food and wonderful times with our friends and family. We want you to be safe while doing it.
In fact, if you’re still shopping around for a grill, you may find some of our recent blog posts helpful: