BBQ guide: Spring cleaning

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Complete barbecue guide
Baby your grill, select the tastiest steaks, and get easy grilling recipes

By Jennifer Danter
First published in Chatelaine’s June 2003 issue.
© Rogers Publishing Ltd.

Spring cleaning

Do a thorough safety check before christening a new barbecue or firing a steak on old faithful. Charcoal and gas varieties both need more than a quick wipe-down before using.

Charcoal barbecues Clean-up for charcoal barbecues is minimal. Wash the kettle inside and out with warm soapy water, then follow these three easy steps:

  1. Clean food grate with a wire grill brush. Wash with warm soapy water and rinse. Brush grate with vegetable oil.
  2. Discard ashes from bottom of kettle. Fill with fresh charcoal just before using.
  3. Wash ash-catcher–it’s the small circular tray just below the kettle.

Gas grills There are a variety of styles of gas grills, but the clean-up is basically the same:

  1. Replace propane hose if there are any cracks or holes.
  2. Clean burner tubes–insects love to nest inside them, which often leads to ignition problems. Remove knobs and screws from control panel, then lift off panel. Pull out tubes and insert a pipe cleaner or long stiff wire brush to free any blockages.
  3. Clean food grate with a wire grill brush. Wash with warm soapy water and rinse. Oil grate. Wash warming rack.
  4. Scrape up and discard accumulated “gunk” from bottom tray. Clean or replace grease catcher. Never line barbecue with foil; grease can get trapped in creases and become a fire hazard.
  5. Replace any broken briquettes.
  6. Wash lid and outside with warm soapy water. Never use oven cleaners outside or inside a barbecue. They’re packed with industrial chemicals that may remove paint and taint food during cooking.
General maintenance tips

Get the most from your grill by treating it right:

• Routinely check and clean your barbecue throughout the season.
• Always clean the food grate after using and cover the barbecue once it’s cool with a heavy-duty cover to protect it from the elements.
• Constantly remove ashes from charcoal kettles to prevent build-up of damp ashes that cause rust and restrict airflow.
• Keep a watchful eye on gas grease trays–empty periodically.
• Keep an extra propane tank on hand to avoid those last-minute dining emergencies!



  • Intro
  Spring cleaning
  • Choosing a new grill
  • Tools of the trade
  • Supermarket vs. butcher steaks
  • Steak cuts
  • 5 easy grilling recipes
  • Get grilling! cooking tips
  • Salad days
  • 65 barbecue classics
 
  • Light grilled dinner
  • Weekend grilling menu
  • Casual backyard sipping
 
  • Choose barbecue as your cooking method in our Recipe File
 
  • Swap grilling tips with others in our Food + recipes forum