It’s been a great summer for grilling. Everything from burgers to pizza has spent some time over those burners, but the high season of barbecue is nearing an end. Before you pack up your tongs, spend some time preparing your propane grill this fall for the coming winter. Giving the grill some attention before the weather turns cold will ensure that time and the elements don’t take their toll and will leave the backyard chef’s best friend ready for action at the first sign of spring. If you are a year-round grill master, fall is still a good time for a tune up. Fall maintenance will keep things sizzling nicely — rain, snow or shine. Here are the basics.
1. Clean Grates
Using a wire brush or steel wool, scrub off any cooked-on food, then clean using a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Baking soda also makes an excellent abrasive and can be sprinkled on a damp cloth for scrubbing. Once clean, coat with vegetable oil to inhibit rust.
2. Empty Ash Pan, Drip Pan and Burner Shields
Odds are, there’s some buildup. Shovel out ashes, scrape grease, and clean all surfaces with soapy water.
3. Clean Inside and Out
Degrease and clean all surfaces. Scraping may be necessary on resistant surfaces, and stainless steel may require special attention. Consult your grill’s manufacturer for recommended cleaning methods.
4. Inspect for Damage
Broken igniter or cracked knobs? This is a good time to replace or repair damaged parts. Pay special attention to hoses and tank connectors.
5. Safely Store Your Propane Tank and Grill
Turn off the propane tank and detach before storing. Cover your grill with a grill cover or heavy tarp to protect from the elements. If possible, consider storing it in a garage or storage building. Propane should never be stored in enclosed areas, due to risks associated with leaky tanks.
How does it look? If rust, time or use has gotten the best of your grill, it may be time for a new one. Consider shopping now, when stores may be offering discounts to clear out end-of-season stock. Make sure to try it out before storing to make sure everything is in working order while you still know where the receipt is. After all, any excuse for a barbecue is a good one.
Check out this post on charcoal grill maintenance and these easy grill maintenance tips for more ways to keep your grill in shape in any season, then browse this photo gallery below for outdoor kitchen and grill area inspiration.
Originally: How to Prep Your Gas Grill for Winter