Understanding Grill Maintenance Basics

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Keeping your grill well-maintained is vital to making sure it performs as well as possible, as long as possible. There are plenty of things to keep in mind for optimal grill maintenance, but a few basics that you need to watch to guarantee that it heats evenly and the flame is as safe and reliable as possible.

Keep Your Grill Heating Evenly

Grills of all kinds, from simple kettles to stainless steel restaurant-grade infrared grills, require maintenance to ensure that they perform and last. “At least twice a year you need to pull the grill apart to get inside and take a closer look at it,” says Derrick Riches, barbecue and grilling guide for About.com. A thorough cleaning ensures that the burners fire properly, heat distributes evenly, and the grill is safe.

Clean the Burners

Riches stresses that cleaning burners keeps the unit working at its best. Burner ports can fill with grease and close up, leading to hot and cold spots on the grill. While the unit is cold, use a stainless steel wire brush or flexible pipe cleaner to remove the gunk from a traditional gas burner. The flames should be distributed evenly throughout the burner after a good cleaning.

Flame Color

There are a couple of reasons gas flames turn from their normal blue with yellow tips to completely yellow. The most common is inadequate gas pressure from the tank. Since propane expands at freezing temperatures, the pressure bladder in the regulator (a round disk attached to the gas line) can freeze into place and limit the flow of gas to the burner. If you have a yellow flame, try this remedy: First, turn the tank off and turn off the grill’s control valves. Next, disconnect the tank, then open and close the control valves. Finally, reconnect the tank and slowly turn the gas back on to check the flame’s color. Another cause of yellow flame is pressurized propane that, over time, can force the burner ports to widen. As a result, too much gas escapes. Riches recommends inspecting the burners and replacing them if they are misshapen or cracked. Once the burners are cleaned, light the grill to ensure that all flames are blue and similar in height.

– via www.thisoldhouse.com

Different types of grills require different maintenance. No matter the grill you have, there are some things you need to do on a regular basis. Some steps should be once a year, once a month, or each time your grill is used. Below you’ll see some basic tips for each of the most popular grill types.

Easy Maintenance For Your Grill

Charcoal Grills

Routine care: Wait until the fire burns down, Ramos said, leaving red coals before adding the meat to the grill. Before you do, you might want to add a little non-stick spray. Better yet, she suggested cutting an onion in half and scrubbing the grill with it. It will leave a nice residue that adds flavor and prevents food from sticking. After the meal, use the other half of that onion to clean up any mess.
Spring cleaning: If you’re a good rust-watcher, you used that cover. Brighten up the grill’s exterior with glass cleaner, Ramos said, and scrub the inside with a wire brush.

Gas Grills

Routine care: If you didn’t clean it after the last use, now’s the time to take a wire brush and knock off any leftover particles from the previous feast. It might take a little elbow grease, but it’s still better than a sink full of pots and pans.

Spring cleaning: Once a year, Keys suggested, take the thing apart (scary, we know, but you want it to last, right?) and give it a good scrub and inspection. Clean the briquettes and check the burners and cooking grids for rust. If there’s a touch of rust, scrape it off.

Barbecue Pits

Routine care: If you want your grill to last longer, clear out the ashes after each session and hose out the pit. Leaving ashes in the pit will over time, decay the pit. At the very least, clean the grate before and after each use with a wire brush.

Spring cleaning: Some might say grit adds flavor in the case of a pit, so it doesn’t need much maintenance. Never paint the inside, Hinojosa said, but if the outside has seen better days, he said, you can repaint it with the heaviest heat-resistant paint you can find.

– via www.diynetwork.com

How do you make sure to keep your grill clean and efficient, long-term? Which type of grill have you found easiest to maintain?

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