It is good practice to service and clean the grill after each use and long storage periods. Dirty, greasy, and faulty appliances are a fire hazard. And obviously it is much nicer to cook with a clean grill.
Gas hose and regulator
Check the condition of the hose by bending it sharply to discover any hairline cracks in the hose.
You can also brush the hose with soapy water or use a leak detector spray. In case of cracks, replace the hose. It is recommendable to replace the regulator at the same time, too.
Always make sure to use a low-pressure regulator. The hose and regulator do not have a prescribed replacement interval but, as a rule, they should be replaced every 2 to 4 years – just to be sure. An investment of some 20 euro guarantees that the gas stays where it is supposed to stay.
When grilling, the safest place for the gas cylinder is beside or behind the grill. Never keep the gas cylinder beneath the grill when the grill is on.
Be patient when using a charcoal grill: it may take 1 to 2 days after grilling for the charcoals to be fire safe. Remove the charcoal remains only when they have cooled down for sure. In the case of a gas grill with lava rocks, there are two alternatives. You can burn the rocks clean after use. Flip the rocks over and burn the other side, too. Alternatively, you can remove the rocks every now and then and clean them using, e.g., a washing brush. Do not use dishwashing liquid, and allow the rocks to dry properly after washing.
Clean the grill and grilling accessories after each use. This way, the grill is always ready for cooking. It pays to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as different materials require different kinds of care.
Gas grill burners
Brush the gas grill burners clean and then oil them with cooking oil. When doing this, check also that the flame openings are clear. If the flame burns yellowish instead of blue, the burner should be cleaned. In the spring, there may even be spider webs inside the burner channels.
Cleaning a cooking grate
Start by removing the cooking grate or plate for cleaning. Remove large deposits using a brass grill brush and scraper. If you don’t have any tools, you can try using pine cones. Rinse the parts with water and dry. You can use dishwashing liquid, if the parts are not made from cast iron. Brush the grate with cooking oil, such as high temperature resistant rapeseed oil, to prevent the food from getting stuck as easily.
Seasoning with fat
Cast iron cooking plates or grates will be easier to keep clean if you season them with fat before use. Seasoning means that you apply pork fat or cooking oil to the plate and then heat it until very hot. This process should be repeated quite often in order to keep the cast iron cooking plate in good condition and free of rust.
A clean grill is safer. Any grease on the grill constitutes a fire hazard. All internal parts and surfaces of the grill should be cleaned after long storage periods. You should also clean rusty grates, and treat them again with cooking oil or pork fat. Remember that cast iron parts must be cleaned using brass bristles or appropriate sponges.
The lifespan of cast iron burners can be increased by switching their place every now and then. This will even out the heat load to the burners.
Seasoning a flat pan with fat
A flat pan is easy to clean if it has been treated thoroughly with fat before being taken in use. The process includes heating the pan and then coating it with unsalted pork fat or cooking oil until the surface becomes dark. When done properly, the process takes between half an hour and one hour.
After the treatment, the pan will be easy to clean in future. After use, pour some water on the hot pan and allow to boil up. Then wipe the pan clean with a turner and paper towels. Finally, dry the pan and apply a thin coat of cooking oil on the cooking surface.
You should also take care of the exterior and wooden parts of the grill. Wipe dust from the surfaces before use and treat wooden parts with appropriate wood oil, for example. If the grill is equipped with a glass window, you should clean the glass after use using fat-dissolving detergent. Also wipe all vertical and horizontal surfaces clean once the grill has cooled down.
A proper cover helps in keeping the grill clean. Remember that you must not put the cover on the grill before it is thoroughly cool.
Have a safe and delicious cooking season!