ROSIE ON THE HOUSE
Need to refresh your grill? Here’s what you should consider
Apr 20, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2023, 11:55 am
It’s time to fire up the grill! Actually, in Arizona, any time of year is grilling time.
A grill crusted with old charcoal, food and possibly unsuspecting critters will make the food taste and smell not as you intended it be. Grilling leaves carbon deposits on nearly every surface of the grill. Excessive carbon buildup will cause the grill to heat up unevenly, lower its maximum operating temperature and cause burner tubes to fail. It can also cause a fire. Grease and sugars can also adhere to the carbon supplying a conducive environment for bacteria growth. Yuck!
Whether you use your grill daily, weekly, monthly, or just a few times a year, refresh it now.
Perform a thorough inspection of the grill’s interior. Insects and other critters will gladly set up shop within the interior. Spiderwebs can cause flare-ups when burned. It’s not unheard of for a rattlesnake to move in. So, if you have not opened the lid in a long time, be careful.
If you have a gas grill, make sure the gas lines are connected. Spray with soapy water and turn on the gas. Look for visible bubbling on the gas line. If you see bubbles, the line is leaking and unsafe to use. Call the gas company.
Check the ignition and confirm its proper function by the presence of a spark. Ensure the pressure regulator connections on the propane tank are tightly secured. If you can only ignite manually, check the ignition batteries. If ignition still won’t occur, clean and replace the ignition electrodes. The grill’s owner’s manual should have a section on how to do this.
Because of our climate, wait for a cool part of the day or an overcast day before cleaning. Intense sunlight can increase the difficulty of removing streaks from the surface.
Remove the cooking grates, grease catchers, and other internal parts that can come out. Soak everything in hot, soapy dishwater for 30 minutes, then scrub away the grease and debris. You may need to use a degreaser. If the cooking grates have a lot of rust, replace them. Most home stores carry basic grill parts.
Here are a couple of products that should make cleaning easier:
The Q-Swiper is a wireless and brushless grill cleaning tool that cleans using steam and a reusable cloth. The cloth attaches to the handle much like a Swiffer pad and is sturdy. It can be used on grills or flat top grills! Jennifer says it works like a champ!
The Grillbot — with its rotating bristles, this battery-operated grill scrubber works like a robot vacuum and has an app to turn it on and off via your phone.
Carbona’s 2-in-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner — this single-use kit contains a large zip-top bag that fits the grates and a 16 oz. bottle of cleaner. Place the grates in the bag, pour in the liquid, seal the bag, and shake gently so the cleaner coats the racks. Let it sit for at least eight hours.
While the grates soak, clean the firebox.
The firebox is where the air and fuel mixture is burned, supplying the heat to cook the food. The interior is prone to soot and grime. Remove ash, which can cause steel to quickly rust. IMPORTANT: wear a respirator and gloves when handling grill ash.
Using a putty knife or wire cup brush with an angle grinder, scrape off loose bits from the inside of the grill. Remove lumps of grease or anything that comes off easily. Follow up with a shop vac to remove the dust and hard-to-reach bits. Don’t use your vacuum. The grime can transfer to your indoor carpet. Never use a hose on your grill. That will encourage more rust. Finish cleaning with a thorough vinegar wipe-down. Do not use any solvents or toxic cleaners.
The Venturi tubes mix the fuel and air together. They need to be clear to work properly. A Venturi tube measures the speed and pressure of a fluid. Venturi tubes are also called flow nozzles and flow tubes. Remove the burner and tube assembly and clean them with soapy water and a wire brush. Once clean, confirm the Venturi tube is properly lined up with the gas valve before reattaching.
Burner covers, also called heat tents, must be cleaned and free of debris to not obstruct the flame.
Refreshing the Exterior
If you have a stainless-steel grill, a stainless-steel cleaner will keep it looking new. Scouring sponges, rubber gloves, and rags are needed. Jennifer like to use Milsek for all of her stainless steel appliances.
Porcelain-coated lids should be treated similarly to glass. Clean with mild soap and water before drying with microfiber rags or paper towels. Like porcelain, powder-coated lids should be cleaned with mild soap before drying with a microfiber rag and/or paper towels.
Rust must be removed, and a fresh coat of paint applied to the outside of the grill.
You may be able to remove rust with a wire brush or a little sandpaper, but if there is a lot of rust, use an angle grinder with a ceramic paint removal disc. CAUTION: wear gloves, safety glasses, and a respirator when using power tools to remove rust.
Use high-temperature barbecue paint such as Sherwin-Williams Krylon High Heat Max.
EXTRA CAUTION: Do not paint any of the insides of the grill or any surfaces that come in direct contact with flames. Grill paint is for exterior use only.
Once the paint dries, reinstall the accessories. Make sure to replace the hardware that you removed. You may want to replace the thermometer or wheels if the grill needs them.
Now that the grill has been scrubbed to the metal surface, it needs to be seasoned. Wipe the grill and its internal parts with canola oil. Coat all inner surfaces that were scrubbed clean. Build a strong fire in the grill so the oil bonds to the inside surfaces to prevent rusting. This will also burn off anything that may have been missed during cleaning. Allow the grill to completely cool before cooking.
Fire Up The Grill!
After all the cleaning, maintenance, and restoration have been completed, surely you will want some BBQ! Check out these recipes, Award Winning BBQ Salmon and Rosie’s Signature Steak, and Rosie’s five simple suggestions to spice up your next backyard cookout.
At a minimum, perform a thorough grill cleaning twice per grilling season. Basic cleaning can be done every few months if you grill weekly. After each grilling session, spend a few minutes cleaning the grill.
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions & comments.