We’ve all heard the saying that a bad workman blames his tools. And we don’t want you to have to play the blame game if your BBQ event isn’t quite up to par. The state and condition of your barbecue will always impact the end result, so you need to maintain and look after your barbecue.
With over 40 years experience in the BBQ industry, we are perfectly placed to offer some tips and advice on barbecue maintenance. This is because we want you to enjoy terrific tastes and textures each time you fire up the grill. Let’s get into it.
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1. Clean your barbecue before you use it
Welcome to barbecue maintenance 101 – clean your barbecue before you use it. Whether you have just installed your barbecue for the first time or have retrieved it from its winter home, its important to give it a thorough clean before its first use.
If you’ve bought a new barbecue, it can be tempting to fire it up and get cooking straight away, especially if the sun is shining and you and your guests are getting hungry. However, it’s important to read the manufacturer’s instructions, as they will often list some requirements for preparing your barbecue for its first BBQ outing.
2. To look after your barbecue, you have to roll up your sleeves
Even if you left your barbecue in good condition at the end of the last outdoor cooking season – insects, rust, dust and dirt could easily have made their way into all kinds of places. New barbecues might also have picked up some dust, dirt or bacteria from the factory to your home. So it’s time to apply some elbow grease to your barbecue maintenance.
Put rubber gloves on and make sure you use cleaning materials appropriate for the problem. For example, use brushes with stainless coils for hardened, baked-on food and warm soapy water for stains. Don’t forget to clean the barbecue hoods, covers and lids, as well as all cooking surfaces, food preparation surfaces and barbecue utensils.
It’s important to avoid using dangerous bristle brushes that can leave wires on the grill which can get caught in your food on the next cook. Use coil ones instead – watch this space, as we’ll be adding to our range later on in the year.
3.Maintain your barbecue before and after
After a delicious grilled meal at a family BBQ, barbecue maintenance is probably the last thing on your mind. It’s easy to walk away from the barbecue thinking that your work is done, or to promise yourself that you’ll return to clean it… before forgetting all about it as soon as dessert arrives. However, this means that you’ll end up spending twice as long cleaning your barbecue than if you just deal with it soon after you’ve eaten. In terms of looking after your barbecue it’s all about thinking smart.
After you have finished cooking, leave the heat for a few minutes so that any food or grease deposits will be baked into a hardened layer; you’ll find this is far easier to remove than liquid grease. This cleaning regime should be used after every BBQ. We simply can’t say it enough, look after your barbecue consistently – whether it is for a particular event or regular barbecue maintenance every three months.
4. BBQ done? For maintenance, steam works like a dream
You can also steam clean your barbecue. Simply cover the grill in water-soaked old newspaper while the barbecue is cooling down and close the lid. While it is best to clean your barbecue while it is still warm, it’s also important to let it cool down enough to remove any charcoal or ash from the grill. If you’re using a gas supply, don’t forget to disconnect it from the grill before you begin cleaning.
5. Minimise mess with oil and foil
Tin foil can be used to line any ash pan; this makes it easier to clean out and helps make the barbecue more efficient by reflecting the heat back onto the food. Prevention is better than cure – if you use the oil to coat the food rather than the grill, this will help cut down the amount of deposits and reduce the amount of cleaning.
If you’re cooking fish, seafood or other delicate foods, you could cook them in foil pouches to stop them falling apart and onto the coals. Likewise, if you’re cooking a roast or marinated meat, you can use an aluminium foil try to contain all the lovely juices. These small actions will make a big difference when it comes to looking after your barbecue once the BBQ festivities are over.
6. Keep it covered
With many barbecues, it may be a time-consuming process to move them into the garage or shed all the time when they are not in use. Cover them up to avoid the long term damage caused by the unpredictable British weather.
7. Check the instructions
In the BBQ world, and the world of barbecue maintenance, knowledge is power. The more you know about your barbecue the better you can look after it. Always read the product instructions. Some types of barbecue may recommend specific cleaning products. If you do not follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you may invalidate the warranty. For example, some manufacturers do not recommend using abrasive scourers, such as wire wool, as these can damage the surface of chrome-coated grills; sponge pads may be better.
At the end of the day, cleaning your barbecue and maintaining it is a straightforward process. With just a little thought and productivity you can look after your barbecue and ensure plenty of fantastic BBQs in the future.