Even though summer doesn't officially end for another week, many of us have begun preparing for fall, putting away the summer toys. Here are few tips to maintain your outdoor grill so it's ready to go come spring again:
Clean the Burners: Manufactures stress that cleaning burners keeps the unit working at its best. Burner ports can fill with grease and close up, leading to hot and cold spots on the grill. While the unit is cold, use a stainless steel wire brush or flexible pipe cleaner to remove the gunk from a traditional gas burner. The flames should be distributed evenly throughout the burner after a good cleaning. Brush off any ash that accumulates on infrared grills, and be sure to keep the glass clean. Infrared grill manufacturers suggest using Bar Keepers Friend, a non-abrasive cleaner, to remove any deposits. Running the grill for 10 minutes on high after cooking also helps keep the ports free of build up.
Between the Burner and Grate: Sometimes called the radiant or flavorizer bar, this part of the grill evenly distributes heat to the grate above and produces smoke when food drippings seep down. "Most of the wear is in the flavorizer bars, because they see the most heat and grease," says Brooke Jones of Weber Grills. Brush off grease and debris from the metal plates because they can trap moisture and cause rusting. Replace lava rocks or ceramic briquettes if they give off a rancid flavor.
Grill Covers: Keeping a grill protected from the elements is the easiest way to preserve it. Covers should have a cloth inner lining to draw moisture away from the metal. A simple plastic sheet holds moisture in, creating a humid environment around the grill, which can lead to rusting. Use a canvas, cloth, or vinyl cover that fits the grill appropriately. Keep in mind that UV rays beak down cheaper, generic covers.