Generally, people clean their barbecue every season. Cleaning your grill is critical because you cook your food on it and, more importantly, it can catch fire if it’s not properly cared for. A fire can start at the bottom of the unit, where the grease collects, and the resulting intense heat can be problematic. Additionally, marinades, spices, salt and/or grease can slowly start to eat away at the stainless steel or metal of the unit. Maintenance is therefore necessary, especially if you are unsure of the quality of the stainless steel.

The first thing you should do when you’re about to clean your barbecue is to move your appliance onto grass or rocks. You don’t want to damage your patio, your flagstone or your favorite slab of concrete, because grill cleaning products are quite powerful. Set yourself up somewhere with no direct sunlight, especially if your BBQ has a baked coating or stainless steel parts, because some products can stain; if it’s sunny where you set up, make sure to leave the product on for less time.

If your barbecue has a propane tank, remove it. Completely “close” the tank, pull it out and unscrew the regulator. Then, to make sure you are working safely, burn off the remaining gas in your barbecue. If you see a flame emerge, let it “burn” until it goes out completely. Watch the flame carefully because if it’s uneven or of a different color (blue on one side and yellow on the other, for example), you may need to unclog or replace the burners.

Next, remove the grates, heat deflectors and grease pan (after quickly cleaning them) from your barbecue to access the bottom of your unit. Fill half a large bucket with hot water and soak your grates, deflectors and pan. When the water starts to turn brown, empty out the bucket and fill it with clean hot water. Pour about half a bottle of grill degreaser into the water and let the product do its job for about 4 to 5 minutes. If necessary, scrub the parts in the water to help the product work even better. When the time is up, be sure to rinse everything thoroughly.

Grill degreasers are very effective. Grease stains on your barbecue’s surfaces will disappear and your unit will look brand new. Be careful not to inhale the product or get it on your skin; it’s important to use gloves when handling it.

While the grates, heat deflectors and grease pan are soaking, use a grate scraper to thoroughly scrape off all the chunks and grease stuck to your barbecue’s fire box and burners, scraping your grates and heat deflectors first. Dirt on the surface should dissolve in a matter of seconds. When it comes to cleaning the fire box, Max recommends working with plastic or composite tools.

To really get your burners clean, use an angled grid cleaning brush to remove any small bits (whether fat or carbon) which have built up and clogged the holes. This type of brush also does a great job of cleaning the sides of the burners and the channels, which carry gas from one burner to another. If you’d like to unclog each hole in your burners, use a port hole cleaner, which is designed for this purpose.

If your burners are still clogged at this point, remove them from your barbecue and clean them with a venturi brush, which reaches deep inside your tube burners (or venturi tubes), either if your burners are staggered or set in a straight line.

Once your barbecue is clean, spray it with a grill cleaner or degreaser. Brown/orange liquid may drip from the barbecue, which is normal as it is removing grease from the unit’s surface. If your barbecue changes color a little after applying degreaser, don’t worry. That’s normal too.

Max recommends using degreaser on all parts of the barbecue – the burners, heat deflectors, grates, shelves, tank, handles, knobs, the cart and on the inside of the lid – but feels you can spare your regulator. Allow the product to work slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse everything well afterwards – you can even use a pressure hose, or scrub with a brush while rinsing – until you no longer see any little bubbles in the water.

Once everything is well rinsed, put on your sunglasses and use a barbecue polish or shine restorer to wipe down all the parts/surfaces of your unit. Blemishes, fingerprints and anything unattractive will disappear, and your barbecue will look like it came straight from the store!

After cleaning your grill, if you suspect that one or more of its parts is defective or causing problems, do not hesitate to contact your local specialty retailer.

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Happy cleaning and happy grilling!

Max Lavoie
House of BBQ Experts