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We all know that very specific feeling that settles over us as summer begins to hit. The air is hot, the nights are long, and you think it might finally be time for a barbecue. Unfortunately, it's been a long, cold, rainy winter, and you haven’t so much as glanced at your grill. Who knows what kind of dust and dirt has settled across it?! Luckily for you, we’ve got an easy-to-follow guide on how to make sure your BBQ is food safe and sparkling before your big outdoor feast. For this, we recommend you check over your BBQ the day before you plan to fire it up to ensure it gets the care it deserves.
Ok, so the day of the big BBQ shouldn’t actually be the first time you set the coals alight. The day you clean it should be. The grate is a prime place for old, burnt-on food to stick throughout the winter, and so it will be difficult to scrub off. To make it easier, fill the drum with coals and heat it as you usually would.
While you wait for it to heat up, mix up some bicarbonate of soda and water into a nice thick paste, and grab yourself a brush or scourer.
Once it's hot enough, the burnt-on food should start to soften, and a lot of it will even be cooked off in the process.
After this, carefully remove the grate from the drum (perhaps wear some gloves or use a tea towel for extra protection) and start scrubbing away with your bicarb paste and sponge. This will rid it of the final bits of food, leaving it beautifully clean.
Rinse it off with some clean water and dry with some paper towels.
When the coals of the BBQ have started to cool enough to handle, remove them and the ash. Don’t wait too long though, as ash can moisten and start to harden into difficult clumps when too cold. Use a brush to get rid of the last, light layer across the drum.
With a cloth and warm soapy water, vigorously clean the inside and outside of the drum.
Use some kitchen roll to dry off the worst of the water. Then let the sun do the rest, slowly drying out the metal across the rest of the afternoon.
Before cleaning your gas BBQ, make sure the gas tank is disconnected. To ensure you do this safely, consult your user's manual. Once it's disconnected, remove the grates and cover it in either bicarbonate of soda paste or perhaps something more abrasive. Leave for a few minutes to let it tackle the leftover food residue, and then scrub at it with a tough sponge or brush.
Rinse the grates off with water and paper dry.
For the inside and outside of the body, spray over your cleaning solution or get some warm soapy water, and give it a thorough yet careful wiping over. You may need to use a brush to get into the tighter nooks and crannies.
Again, use kitchen roll to soak up most of the water, then let the sun completely dry it out. Make sure that your BBQ is completely dried out before resembling it and reconnecting the gas tank.
A few simple steps can help stave off the worst of future dirt and food, so cleaning the barbecue next time is easier.
Coat the grill in oil to stop food from sticking.
Wipe off any food and, for coal BBQs, ensure you brush out the coal and ash as the BBQ cools after you cook and eat.
Keep it under a protective cover when you’re not using it. Better yet, put it into storage during the winter to stop the weather from ruining it.
Once the BBQ is clean, it’ll be completely ready for you to grill up a storm later on. Make sure to check out our articles on Hosting the Perfect Summer BBQ and how to Add Flavour to any BBQ to get some great ideas on how to impress with your summer feast!