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Preparing Your Grill for the Season

For me, winter isn't really over until that first time I can use my barbecue grill. Over the years I have found that unless you take the time to prepare your grill for the season, the first few burgers that you cook are going to taste absolutely horrible—and that's if you can actually get the barbecue to work.

Take the time to properly prepare your barbecue and you will never have that problem. With a little effort and time, you can have your barbecue good as new and be enjoying fantastic meals with your friends and family. Here's how you do it.

  1. Equipment. As with any sort of cleaning project, you'll need to gather all your cleaning materials and equipment. You will need oven cleaner, a grill brush, Brillo (or similar) steel wool pads, paper towels, sponge, a bucket of hot sudsy water, newspaper, and a large plastic bag (like a garbage bag).
  2. Choose a location. After you have gathered all your cleaning materials, you need to select a cleaning location. The best place to do your cleaning would be outside either in your driveway, or on the back patio. This way you have plenty of ventilation and can enjoy the beautiful weather.
  3. Remove racks. After you have taken all your cleaning materials to the area where you are cleaning you need to remove the racks that are inside the grill. Take them out and set them off to the side.
  4. Clean racks. Begin by laying down the large plastic garbage bag and placing the racks on top of it. Spray the racks down with oven cleaner and allow them sit for no longer than thirty minutes. You can also soak some paper towels with ammonia and lay them on the racks for thirty minutes. Once that time has passed, use the steel wool and some hot soapy water to rinse off and clean any remaining dirt and gunk. Repeat this process as necessary until your racks are clean. Set aside the racks to allow them to dry.
  5. Clean grill. While the racks are drying, it's time to clean the grill itself. For a charcoal grill, dump out all the old charcoal and dust into a garbage can. Rinse out the basin with some water, and either pour some ammonia into the basin or spray down with oven cleaner. Allow the cleaner to sit for thirty minutes and then use hot soapy water and steel wool to remove any baked on gunk that may still remain. For a propane grill repeat the process as described above, but pay particular attention to the burners.
  6. Inspect. As the various parts of the grill are drying, take some time to inspect your grill. Look for any obviously missing pieces; for propane grills inspect all the connections, the tank, and burners. If there any pieces that are rusted make sure that you replace them immediately. Small rusty pieces can lead to big problems later on.
  7. Outside. Once you have cleaned the inside of the grill, don't forget to clean the outside. Use some paper towels or a sponge and the warm soapy water to clean the outside. There may be times that you have to scrub a little, but initially try using the paper towels or sponge and only use steel wool if nothing else works.
  8. Reassemble. Once everything is cleaned, go ahead and put everything back together again. You have now completely prepared your grill for the season.

Finally, there is only one thing left to do and that is to test your grill. This can be done by either inviting all your friends and family over for a backyard barbecue or cooking yourself a nice steak. Which ever you end up doing, have a great time enjoying your clean barbecue.


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