Every year when grilling season gets closer, we start planning for all the outdoor grilling get-togethers we’re going to have and all the delicious foods we’re going to grill. In preparation for all your grilling fun though, there are a few different steps you should take to get your grill ready for summer.
As long-time grill enthusiasts and experts ourselves, we know the best procedures to use to prep new and well-loved grills for the upcoming season. These steps will ensure that you get the absolute best performance and flavor from your grill for as long as possible.
How to Get a Grill Clean
Before you can run a thorough inspection of your grill, you’re going to need to do some cleaning so you can actually see, remove, and adjust all of the parts and components of your grill.
If you didn’t do a thorough cleaning of your grill at the end of last season, you’ll need to clean off any build-up from last year's grilling season. There may also be rust or other debris from extreme weather or environmental factors — and maybe even a bird or other critter has decided to take up residence in your grill when it wasn’t in use.
Before you get started, bust out your owner’s manual for a good once over to refresh yourself on any particular tips and suggestions as to cleaning methods and cleansers. Stainless steel units are most likely to have particular cleaning needs.
Alright, now you’re ready to clean. Have handy your favorite stainless scrubber, some grill degreaser or stainless-steel cleaner, a shop vac, and a razor blade or putty knife. A handheld wire wheel is another great tool to grab that’ll help get your stainless-steel cooking grates good as new.
Steps for Deep Cleaning Your Grill:
- Turn off the fuel for safety.
- Wash and scrub down the outside of your grill with warm, soapy water.
- Inspect and clean the grill manifold, which is the pipe behind the control panel where the valves are attached. This keeps the gas flowing smoothly and safely when it’s in use.
- Take all of the working components and parts out of the grill and clean them.
- Spray your cooking grates with a grill degreaser or stainless cleaner and let it sit to make your job easier. Then use the stainless scrubber to get them nice and clean. Check out our guide for special notes on cleaning cast iron cooking grates.
- Be sure to completely rinse all of the degreasers and cleaners off the grates — you do not want to consume or taste any of that stuff once you start grilling.
- Inspect your heat plates or briquette trays be sure they’re intact. If they’re crumbled at all, replace them. If they’re still in working order, use your scrubber to remove excess debris.
- Clean your grill burners and their housings. Take a drill bit or paper clip to thoroughly clean the holes that surround the burner. If your grill burners are cast iron, be sure to clean them then rub a high heat resistant oil in the cast iron to keep them from rusting or drying out.
- Depending on your grill model, clean your heat shields or ceramic briquettes.
- Scrub off the drip tray.
- With the guts removed from the grill, thoroughly clean the underside of the lid.
- Finally, vacuum all the debris that has fallen in the bottom of the firebox. This is important because that debris heats up when you grill and you don’t want it to burn right through your firebox.
**Important Note: Be sure to completely dry your
grill after cleaning to avoid any rusting. This is particularly important for
cast iron grills and components. Any water that gets left on the grill grate
will cause it to rust and deteriorate quicker than you’d think.
If you’re seasoning your grill right after you clean and inspect it, you’ll be fine, but if you’re going to wait at all, be sure that all parts of your grill, especially any that are cast iron, are completely dried after cleaning.
We suggest complete maintenance and cleaning of your grill like this a minimum of twice a year — when you fire your grill up for the first time of the season and before closing it up for winter.
It’s also a good idea to clean your grill after each use. Any food you cook will be healthier for you by removing fats and old food. It will also make grilling safer and easier by clearing away the grease build-up that can cause flare-ups and uneven cooking, and it will keep your grill working and looking great for longer.
That’s it! Now you can carry out an inspection to see if it’s time to repair or replace any parts on your grill.
Before Starting a Grill for the First Time — Is It Time to Replace Any Parts on Your Grill?
It is extremely important to run maintenance tests each year before starting off your grilling season so you can identify if it's time to fix or replace any parts on your grill . Making sure your grill is in good working condition is essential, not only for your safety but also to get the best possible performance out of your grill throughout the year. Regular maintenance will also help you get the most of your money and time by keeping your grill working great for as long as possible.
Whenever possible, consider replacing old or broken parts on your grill before going out and buying a whole new grill. Nearly every part of your grill will have a replacement part you can buy and replacement parts are cheaper and allow you to keep cooking on the grill you already love.
Need Replacement Parts?
We sell replacement parts for most grill brands so search our store for grill parts filtering by brand or part type. Need help with a repair? Call our experts at 877-983-0451 and we’ll help you troubleshoot or send out one of our trained professionals for a service call if you live in South Florida (Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties).
The most common parts you should run tests on and consider replacing when not working properly to get your grill ready for summer are grill burners, fuel hoses, and hardware on your grill.
When you’ve cleaned your grill and fully reassembled it, you’re ready to start your grill for the first time. Reattach the gas line and light the grill. Run it on high for 15 minutes to help burn off degreaser or anything that wasn’t completely removed when you were cleaning everything.
Safety Tip: When starting your grill for the first time, if it doesn’t come on after a few tries, don’t continue trying to light it. This can cause gas to build up which creates a hazard of asphyxiation from lack of oxygen or can cause an explosion when the grill does finally light. If this happens, turn the grill off and check out our troubleshooting guide.
An example of an issue you might notice when you turn on your grill for the first time is having a large flame coming out of your burner. Having run this test, you’ll know that it’s time to repair or replace the burner or problem part before your grill will be ready for summer.
Crumbling cooking grates or any crumbling components are other issues you might encounter during your inspection. Rusting or other issues may be able to be cleaned or repaired, but crumbling indicates it’s time to replace that part.
How to Season a Grill
After cleaning your grill, letting it dry completely, and doing a thorough inspection, it’s time for the last step you need to take to prep your grill for the grilling season: seasoning your grill.
Whether you’re seasoning a brand-new grill or seasoning an old grill while prepping your grill for summer, the point of seasoning is to help protect your cooking grate from rust and premature wear. Seasoning also creates a layer of seared, barbecued fats that will infuse your food with that deep rich flavor you love — and it also makes cleaning your grill far easier.
Seasoning a new grill also removes the taste that nasty manufacturing chemicals can otherwise give your food. Grills used last season will taste of burnt old food or dusty and dirty from disuse if you don’t season it regularly. Instead, a seasoned grill will give your food that delicious, smoky, barbecue flavor you love.
What Does it Mean to Season a Grill?
To season a grill, you coat the grill cooking grates and inner part of the grill with a high heat resistant oil and fire up your grill to adhere the oil to these surfaces.
What Kind of Oil Do You Season a Grill With?
High heat resistant oils, otherwise known as high smoke point oils, should be used to season your grill. Here are some examples of oils you can use:
- Canola Oil
- Peanut Oil (although be careful if you’ll be grilling for anyone with peanut allergies)
- Avocado Oil
- Rice Bran Oil
How Do You Season a Grill?
Grab the high heat resistant/smoke point oil of your choice and a cooking brush or even a plain old paper towel. Use the brush or towel to apply a light coating of the oil to the cooking grates, the pit or inner part of the grill, inside the lid, and on the emitters, if your grill has them.
Again, you’re going for a thin coating of oil. Wipe off any excess because too much oil will cause excess build-up and can cause a grease fire when you start your grill for the first time.
Now that you’ve got a good layer of fat on the inner surfaces of your grill, go ahead and fire it up! This is the final step in seasoning your grill and getting it ready for summer. Turn it up to blazing hot and let it burn and smoke for 30-40 minutes.
After this, you’re done! Go ahead and turn off your freshly cleaned, repaired, and nicely seasoned grill. It’s all ready for summer and your best grilling season yet.
A Note for Seasoning Cast Iron Grills: Before you start and the grill is still cool, coat the cooking grate in oil, wrap it completely in aluminum foil, place it in the grill, and do your final burn. Let it cool down again then pull out the grill, remove the foil, and you’re good to go. With cast iron, the pores of the iron actually get imbibed with the oil, cooks in, then hardens during seasoning. Just like with a cast iron skillet, the seasoning process builds up a smooth non-stick coating that gets better every time you cook and season.
A Note for Stainless Steel Grills or Grill Grates: If your stainless grill or cooking grates are new, they will change color and darken. This is totally normal and just an indicator that your nice non-stick seasoned surface has developed.
A Tip from Grill Enthusiasts to Get Extra Flavor in When Seasoning Your Grill
Getting your grill ready for summer and seasoning your grill is all about keeping your grill working at peak performance — but we love to grill because of the incredible flavors that grilling adds to any meal. So here’s how to pack even more flavor punch into your grill while seasoning: In addition to coating your grill with a high heat resistant oil, try rubbing on some foods with your favorite flavors.
When you’re heating your grill during the seasoning process, paint around with some strips of bacon or rub half an oily onion or even a wood chip you love using for smoking coated in oil all over your cooking grates.
Need Help Getting Your Grill Ready for Summer?
After doing your inspection, have you noticed something isn’t working or is a part too old or corroded to repair? Get in touch with our grill experts and we’ll be happy to help you find all the parts you need to get your grill ready for summer—or even buy a top of the line new grill if the time has come. Give us a call at 1-877-983-0451.