Winter Proofing the Yard: Advice on Keeping Your BBQ in Top Condition
Don’t Mope, BBQ Season Will Be Back Soon
If you’re reading this article well in advance of the first frost, congratulations – you’re on top of your game. If you’re reading it in the dead of winter, you’re either an optimist or a procrastinator, and maybe a little bit of both.
There’s nothing quite like a meal served hot and smoky, fresh off the grill, but as the song says, for everything there is a season.
And while a few of you might power through the winter, warming your hands by the radiant glow of your favorite outdoor appliance, for most folks, wintertime is the off-season for grilling.
Of course, winter can be rough on your grill if you’re not careful. Follow these tips to keep your grill ready for action through the winter.
Light That Grill Up!
OK, so you have to put your grill away for winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have one last fiery hurrah before declaring grilling season officially over. Fire that baby up! Crank it to 11! Bask in its inviting glow, and feel its warmth deep in your caveman or cavewoman heart.
We’re not just doing this for ceremonial purposes, by the way. Recite some magic words if that’s your thing, but we’re actually burning off all the excess food and grime from the grill. After 15 minutes or so, the residue should be properly crispy, and you’ll be able to make short work of whatever’s left with a wire brush and some oven cleaner.
Deep Cleaning the BBQ in Winter
Once you’ve got your grill grates cleaned, rinsed, and dried, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and clean the inside of the grill.
Wait until it’s cool! We don’t want you burning yourself. Turn off the gas, and remove the gas tubes from the gas lines. If you’re not sure how to do that, consult your manual or look up your model online.
Use your wire brush, a rag you don’t care too much about, and some hot, soapy water to give your grill a good scrubbing. Make sure you get the outside as well as the inside.
Take out the metal deflectors or lava rocks. Dispose of old lava rocks and replace with fresh ones, just to get a head start on the next grilling season.
Bust That BBQ Rust Away
Rust is the mortal enemy of BBQ enthusiasts and classic car lovers everywhere. If you’re a gearhead, then you know: oil prevents rust. Spray your BBQ’s metal parts with cooking oil to repel moisture and to prevent rust from gaining a foothold in your grill. That old Chevy? You’re on your own.
No Bugs Allowed
Next, wrap the burner in plastic and tape a plastic bag over the opening on the gas line. These tricks keep unwelcome creepy-crawlies from taking up residence in your grill’s fuel delivery system. The last thing you want is for the first steak of next season to taste like burning spiders. Plus, obstructions can cause uneven flames.
Put Your Grilling Toys Away
OK, it’s time. Let’s put the grill away. Don’t worry – you’ll see it soon, and it’ll be all nice and shiny.
If you’re keeping your grill indoors over the winter, leave the propane tank outside, even if you’re pretty sure it’s empty. You don’t want to explode your garage, do you?
If you’re leaving the whole kit and caboodle outside, make sure you slip your cover over the grill to shield it from the elements. You’ve already disconnected the gas tank, so leave it that way. Double-check the gas valve to make sure it’s off.
See You in the Spring!
That’s it! Your grill should be in fighting form when you get it out next spring. While all of your neighbors are trying to get rid of grime and rust, you’ll be whistling a jaunty tune as you grill up some delicious dinner.