Image: Canadian Living
Don't enter the season without spring cleaning your most important cooking tool — the barbecue. Here's how to tune your grill up on a budget.
Remember how much you used your barbecue last summer? Before you start grilling away to the same extent this year, it's important to show your grill a little tender love and care. Here are quick, easy and inexpensive tips to give your barbecue the perfect tune-up so you can get your grill on!
• A strong bristle brush
• Mild soap and water
• Venturi brush
1. Give it a good scrub
With last year's remnants hanging on to your grill for dear life, it's due time to give it a good scrub with some mild soap and warm water. If your grill is in bad shape and hasn't been replaced in a while, consider investing in a new one. Fixed-sized grills and expandable ones are easy to find at any hardware store. If you have cast iron cooking grids, be sure to season them will oil. The oil will help protect the porcelain coating, decrease sticking, and protect damaged or worn grids from rusting.
2. Maintain your grill
Take apart as much of your barbecue as you can and give the inside (and outside) of your barbecue oven a good scrub with some soap and water and a strong bristled brush, paying extra attention to those spots with lots of grease. For those really tough spots, use a strong degreaser. Note: Never use oven cleaner on your barbecue, as it's corrosive and will cause damage. Don’t forget to check your grease tray. Make sure it’s in place and has been cleaned out.
3. Look closely
Take a close look at your burners to ensure there aren’t any holes. If you spot any, it's time for a replacement. Original replacement burners are available for most newer models, as are universal ones for an older barbecue. Also examine your venturi tubes to make sure they're clear, as spiders love to nestle in these over a barbecue's off-season.
4. Last but not least
Do an overall inspection of your barbecue. Look for leaks and cracks in your gas hose, and note the condition of your control knobs, thermometers and handles. Replacing any loose or broken parts is a great, cost-effective way to keep your grill in good shape and reduce minor annoyances.
Remember to practice regular care and maintenance throughout grilling season to ensure your barbecue remains in tip-top shape. And when you're ready to fire up the barbie, check out our roundup of crowd-pleasing burger recipes.