For folks living in the South, grilling can be year round practice. For those of us in the North and Midwest, winter can definitely get in the way of a good barbecue. But that doesn’t mean we don’t take our grilling just as seriously! It just means we have to take steps to care for our grills when the harsh winter hits. Check out these six tips for winterizing your grill:
• Scrub the racks with a wire brush to remove any loose debris, and then remove them to wash them thoroughly. Hot water and ammonia is an excellent combo for removing grease. Soak the racks for an extended time if necessary. Once the great is gone, clean the racks completely with soapy steel wool pads. Rinse off all the soap, dry the racks off and then spray or wipe them with vegetable oil. This will “season” your grill, making future cleaning easier and also preventing rust.
• Remove all the drip pans and empty them. If your grill employs disposable drip pans, thrown them away and replace with new ones. If they’re not disposable, clean them out with hot water and dish soap.
• Use a scraper to remove any grease and debris from the inside of the grill. Scrub down any surfaces not prone to scratching (avoid stainless steel) with steel wool pads. If you’re using a gas grill, remove the burners and clean them like you did the racks. Wipe down the entire inside of the grill with hot, soapy water. Rinse out all the soap and dry the grill completely.
• Replace the racks, burners, drip pans and any other pieces you removed for cleaning. If you’re using a gas grill, turn off the supply valve completely and remove the tank.
• One of the best methods of winterizing your grill is a high quality grill cover. You should cover it before you move it to the storage area of your choice, preferably indoors, because ice and snow will cause it to rust if you leave it out too long. By choosing to utilize a self storage unit, you can keep your grill and all your other outdoor summer gear out of the elements without taking up space in your home.
• One very important tip if you use a gas grill: Do NOT keep the propane tank indoors. Don’t put it inside your home or your storage unit. If your tanks ever leak, the last thing you want is for them to be indoors, creating the very dangerous possibility of a fire and/or explosion.
Winterizing your grill can be tedious and dirty work, but it’ll help you get the most out of your grilling experiences by keeping your equipment in the best possible condition. Treat your grill right and you’ll be eating in style for many summers to come.