Don't let your next BBQ go up in smoke!!
When the weather begins to warm up enough to go outside. It may be a good time to take off your grill cover and check under the hood. Nothing more frustrating than planning an outdoor get together, only to find you have corroded grill parts.
We recommend cleaning your grill at least two times per year unless you grill very frequently or use heavy sauces and fatty meats then cleaning every other month will keep your grill in a safe working order.
Tools Needed : Shop Vac, Small Drill Bit, Scotch-Brite Stainless Scrubber (we love these), Stainless Steel Cleaner and a Degreaser.
You do not always have to replace parts. Sometimes cleaning these parts will help improve their performance.
If you notice gaping holes in your burners, rust on your cooking grids or flame tamers that are literally crumbling in your hand, it is time to replace these parts and cleaning will not be necessary.
The guts of gas grill consists of the Burner, Cooking Grates, Heat Distribution and Ignition. These components are the parts that will break down the most as they take the greatest beating.
Take a shop vac and remove the debris in the firebox. Keeping the firebox clean will stop debris from clogging the ports of your burner.
If you see black underneath the grill hood, it is not paint. It is soot that has collected and built-up. You can remove this by spraying a commercial degreaser on the interior of the hood. Let it sit and use your stainless scrubber to clean.
Also Anytime the ports get clogged, you will be forcing more gas out of the remaining ports. This compromises the metal over time and this is why you will find gaping holes in a burner. (see below burner picture of an AOG Grill Burner that became compromised from clogged burner ports)
When sauces sits on your burners and heat shields, it will begin to eat the metal. Thus causing corrosion and rapid destruction of the grill parts. Maintenance is key not only to grilling safety but to the longevity of the components.
Cleaning and Inspecting your Burners
Gas grill burners come in many different materials : stainless steel, cast iron, cast brass, cast stainless and infrared. Each of these burners will get cleaned differently.
With your burners removed from the grill, check the burner ports to be sure that all the holes are in tact and there are no holes in the metal. If everything looks good, take a Scotch-Brite Stainless Scrubber and clean off any grease and grime off the burner. Take a small drill bit or paper clip and clear each of the individual ports. Tap the burner at the venturi end (where the tube goes over the gas valve) and shake out any debris.
If you have any compromised burners or ports, you will need to replace this part.
Never clean burners with any liquid (water or degreaser). If you do not have a Stainless Scrubber, a brass bristle brush will be fine. The before and after burner pictures (below) was cleaned using a handheld wire wheel.
TIP : If your grill burners are cast iron, once it is clean rub some vegetable oil in the cast iron to keep them from rusting or drying out. Cast iron needs moisture much like skin. Once the iron gets dry, you will notice chucks coming off. Keeping them moist will make them last much longer.
If you have an infrared searing burner, remove the wire screen (if it has one) and take a shop vac and lightly remove vacuum the ceramic top of the burner removing any food particles that are clogging the ceramic pores. This will keep the infrared burner getting evenly hot as well as keeping the ceramic from cracking.
Cleaning your Cooking Grates
Time to replace your cooking grates :
1. If they are porcelain coated and the porcelain has chipped rusting the metal beneath
2. Rust has pitted the metal
3. It has began to crumble
You can turn the burners on high for a few minutes to self clean the grates.
Though we still recommend periodically cleaning the cooking grids by spraying a degreaser on fully cool grids. Let it sit a few minutes then use a stainless scrubber clean off grease and grime.
If you have any porcelain coating on your cooking grates, never use the scraper often found at the end of a grill brush. Only use items that you can rub on the top of your hand without hurting your skin. This is why we love the scrubbers!
If you have stainless steel grill parts, you may want invest in a hand held wire wheel. These tools are incredible for cleaning Stainless Steel Burners and Cooking Grates. They are amazing at completely restoring your grates to brand new!
TIP : Lightly Coat Cast Iron Cooking Grates with vegetable oil. These will keep them from rusting and flaking.
Cleaning your Heat Shields
Your Heat Shields are not only responsible for protecting your burner but their function is also to spread flames evenly across the cooking surface. Clean them by using the stainless scrubber.
If you have briquette trays, remove the briquettes and clean them with a grill brush. For the trays, never use liquid. Use a stainless scrubber to remove the caked on grease. Anytime you let this sit on the trays, it will corrode them.
Time to replace your heat shields when they have corroded and disintegrated.
Clean them using either a grill brush or a scrubber.
Inspecting your Ignition System
The main components of your ignition system is electrodes with wires and a spark generator. The spark generator can be battery operated, 110 volt electric, piezo, microswitch or flame thrower.
Battery operated system - Do you hear a rapid clicking noise? If yes, the spark generator works. If no, You may need to replace the battery or the spark generator
Do you see a spark off the metal tip of the electrode? If yes and your grill is not igniting make sure the burner ports are clear or you may need to adjust the electrode by taking pliers and gently bend the tip of the electrode either closer to the burner ports or further away.
TIP: If you use your grill seasonally and you have a battery operated spark generator, remove the battery. When the battery sits in the the spark generator with changing weather conditions it will corrode and damage the spark generator. Removing the battery will extend the life of your igniter
Using a stainless steel cleaner on the grill hood and body will remove all surface rust
TIP : Having issues turning your valve knob? Is it stuck? WD-40 will help. Spray around the valve stem and lightly keep turning the knob. Lubricating the valve.
Replace the parts or replace the grill? This is a question we are frequently asked. That depends on what you paid for the grill vs the cost to replace the parts.
If you have any questions on grill repair or parts, contact us! We carry major parts for most brands.by Tracy Hollander