Unless you’re a keen winter BBQ enthusiast, the chances are your barbecue hasn’t seen the light of day for a while now. Do you remember giving it a thorough clean before you put it away? If you’re thinking back to your last BBQ and things are a little hazy, don’t worry. It’s time to get that grill out and give your barbecue some much needed TLC before spring comes around.
We know how hectic life can be, so perhaps you’ve simply left your barbecue in the garden since your last BBQ. That’s ok though, it’s waterproof, right? Not to burst your BBQ bubble, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. Imagine, soon the warmth of spring arrives, you invite everyone round for the first BBQ of the year, but when you open your barbecue you find all manner of rust, mould and perhaps even creepy crawlies. Doesn’t sound too clever to us.
Let’s avoid any last minute problems and handle things as soon as possible. Ok, it might seem like a chore, but caring for your barbecue now and storing it properly over winter could save you from a lot of issues arising further down the line. As always, Big K is here to drop some BBQ knowledge on all the BBQ lovers out there. Read our top tips for looking after and storing your barbecue and you’ll be ready for your first BBQ as soon as the elusive British sun strikes.
1. Protection from furry friends
A grill covered in grease and food residue is heaven for furry four-legged creatures like rats and mice. So you need to scrub your barbecue thoroughly before putting it away. That way your barbecue will be free of anything that our whiskered pals might like to feast on over winter.
It’s simple, remove your grates and scrub them with a wire bristled grill brush using warm soapy water. If you haven’t got a grill brush, you can use a screwed up ball of aluminium foil. Once you’ve done that, use a putty knife to scrape out any loose bits of grease and food.
If you do happen to open up your barbecue in the spring and find that some rodents have used it as their winter home, you don’t have to throw it away! Just clean out everything they’ve left behind, light the grill and let it get really hot. Leave it burning for at least 15 minutes.
2. Prevent your barbecue from growing mould
Again, this is just common sense – the most important thing to do to prevent mould is to scrub your barbecue clean before you put it away. But it’s also a good idea to think about where you’re storing it for the winter.
If your barbecue is staying outside, make sure you keep it away from direct sunlight. Why? Once the temperatures begin to rise at the start of spring, mould can grow from any residual food left behind due to the temperature increase.
3. Keep rust away
Cleaning your barbecue will reduce the risk of rust, however it’s also a good idea to spray the grill with cooking oil. You don’t want to use too much, because this could attract animals and insects. A thin layer should do the trick.
Just a reminder, it’s a good idea to check your barbecue’s manual before you coat it in anything. We don’t want to jeopardise its performance after all. For example, if the grill is cast-iron, you’ll probably need to apply a highly saturated fat like lard rather than oil. This is because cast-iron rusts much more easily, so will need a thicker layer of protection.
4. Cover it up
Once you’ve given it a good clean, it’s a good idea to cover your barbecue. Barbecue covers don’t have to cost much – you can buy a standard cover that will fit most models, but you can also check whether your barbecue manufacturer offers a specific barbecue cover for your model.
Whatever you decide to do, covering your barbecue over the winter will keep it dry and protect it from rodents, mould and rust. A small outlay on a high-quality cover could save you hundreds on a new barbecue in the spring.
5. Store your barbecue inside
We know it’s not always possible, but if you can, store your charcoal barbecue inside. A garage or shed is the perfect place, offering protection from the elements all year around. A spot out of direct sunlight is best, and make sure it’s dry enough in there. A shed with a leaky roof is the perfect breeding ground for mould.
If you can’t store your barbecue inside, it’s not the end of the world – just make sure it’s sheltered from the sun’s direct rays and the winds. The last thing you want is for a gale to knock over your barbecue, breaking handles and other vital parts.