Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gas Grill Maintenance

I am by definition a year around griller, as grill just about every weekend from March to late November. I do like to shuffle through the snow a few times in December and January for ribs or burger fix. Every spring I like to revisit giving the grill a good cleaning and tune up. It is amazing the amount of abuse the outdoor grill can take from the weather and excessive cooking. The interior of the grill is subject to grease build-up, carbon deposits, and occasional rust. The exterior of the grill can be subject also to rust, dirt and grease if the cooking until is not covered properly throughout the year.

Before giving up on your dinosaur grill and thinking about purchasing new, think again. Revitalizing your old grill can be done rather cheaply and effectively with a few inexpensive replacement parts in addition to applying some good old fashioned elbow grease.

Cleaning Interior of the Gas Grill

First examine the gas/propane assembly and inspect for any potential leaks in the hoses. Replace hoses if worn or emitting gas smell. Also use this time to inspect your tank to see that it is full for the new grilling season. I have a little snap-on gauge that tells me the amount of fuel I have left……….nice little tool indeed.

Remove grate and inspect burner unit for wear and tear as well as checking for clogged gas vent holes. Even though the burner may be shielded from dropping grease, debris still has a way of getting into these holes. If there is grease buildup on the burner unit, gently scrape off debris and re-attach. If the burner unit is rusted out or beyond cleaning, you can easily replace it with standard replacement burner found at most hardware and discount superstores. I replaced my burner a few years back as about one third of the holes were not firing (producing flames) at all.

Take a bucket of hot soapy sudsy water and give the cooking grate and interior a good scrubbing. If the cooking grate is rusty, you may want to consider replacing as well. Some cooking grates are considered standard sized and can be found at most hardware and discount stores. If you do not find a matched size grate for your grill at the local Home Depot or Target, you may want to consult your grill manufacturer’s website to seek replacement.

Once the inside grate and walls have received a good cleaning, apply a generous amount of either peanut oil, olive oil or Pam cooking spray to the grate to keep it protected from moisture in between uses.

Cleaning the Exterior of the Gas Grill

The exterior of the grill can be just as time consuming as the interior to clean, depending upon if your grill is covered during the “off season”. My grill is about seven years old and definitely shows some age, but no rust thanks to using a cover. A dirty exterior should be scrubbed with hot soapy water. Even remove the cooking knobs and soak in hot sudsy water for hour or two. If looking to revitalize grill with newer look, consider using a heat resistant spray paint. These paints are usually found in the outdoor cooking departments of your local discount stores such as Target. Only use these paints outdoors (plenty of ventilation) and spray the outside of the grill only as this paint is pretty toxic (fumes). Make sure to mask or cover the transparent window (if your grill has one).

If you did not previously own a gas grill cover, then consider spending the ten to twenty bucks for one this year. This is money well spent to prolong the life of your grill.

Here are my basic gas grill maintenance tips that hopefully save the reader a few bucks.

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