Each year when it finally starts to warm up, the urge to grill hits up and down the street, and soon the smells of bbq start drifting through the neighborhood.  Summer is rapidly approaching with family barbecues on the calendar along with big plans to clean up the backyard and make it the party place in the neighborhood.

What needs to be done to get a BBQ grill ready for the barbecue season?

Safety Check:

If your BBQ grill is a propane grill, take off the propane tank, clean it, and inspect it for any damage or wear. Check the valve for leaks by sloshing (my high school English teacher would be so proud) soapy water all over the valve while it is on. If bubbles appear, turn off the valve and immediately get it fixed or replaced. If everything looks good, get the propane tank filled so you are ready for the season.

Check the hose that runs between the tank and the BBQ grill for any wear and tear.  Specifically you are looking for any cracking or holes. If you find anything wrong with the hose, replace it immediately. To check for leaks, do the soapy water test again. Apply soapy water to the length of the hose while the tank is turned on. If bubbles appear this means you have a gas leak in the hose and it should be replaced immediately.

Check the ignition switch connection to be sure the grill is lighting properly and the flame is burning evenly.

Cleaning Tips for your grill:

After your initial safety check, turn on your BBQ grill and leave it on high for 10-15 minutes. This will burn off most of the leftovers from last season from the grill surface. If your grill is metal, use a wire brush to clean the burned particles off the grill. If it is a porcelain surface, let the BBQ grill cool down and use warm soapy water to clean the grill to avoid damaging the porcelain surface. For stubborn particles, let the grill rack soak for awhile in the sink and it should come right off. If necessary, you can use a plastic scouring pad to get off the stubborn food particles left on a porcelain grill surface.

If you see rust on your grill top, you might consider replacing the grill rack to ensure that you don’t have any health problems from rust getting on your food.

Wipe down the outside of your BBQ grill with warm, soapy water to get it cleaned off and ready for the season.

Hose off your grill cover on both sides and let it dry thoroughly. This will extend the life of the cover and eliminate any mildew that has built up from damp spring conditions.

If your BBQ grill doesn’t work well when you are cooking, you might consider doing a deep clean of the grill elements. Make sure the gas is disconnected before beginning. If you don’t know what you are doing, get some help to avoid creating an unsafe situation after you put it back together. Check out your owner’s manual for more information.

Check the gas element for cooked on food that is preventing the free flow of gas to the grill. If there is baked on food, use a wire to open the hole. A straightened paper clip works really well for this.

If your BBQ grill has lava rocks, you should consider replacing those every year or so. Sometimes the rocks will become covered from the grease dripping from the food over the course of the year. This baked in grease may cause an increase of flareups that could burn the $8.99/lb steaks that you bought for your wife’s birthday.

It’s much better to stay ahead of repairs and maintain your BBQ grill than to wait and end up having to replace an expensive grill.

That’s about it – any other suggestions that you have, leave some comments so everyone benefits