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Quick guide: cleaning the BBQ

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, there’s no better British summer ritual than a garden BBQ party! The tart, smoky sizzle of a fiery grill is the smell of the season like no other.

However, it’s been almost a year since you last used it, and spending months at the mercy of the elements  or left under a leaky garden tap, your BBQ needs some TLC before it’s back to full cooking capacity.

So, pop the beers in the fridge, send one of the team to get the food buns and roll up your sleeves to get the BBQ ready for your next bash.

What you’ll need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge
  • Cloths
  • Wallpaper scraper
  • Barbecue cleaner
  • Stainless-steel/brass grill brush

Note on safety

The brawniest of us might consider foregoing the gloves but please don’t as, not only will you be using chemicals that can irritate the skin, you’ll be scrubbing vigorously. Gloves will protect your skin from the harmful effects of chemicals and the harsh dirt of the grill.

1. Getting to work

If you plan in advance, you can set the cleaning in motion the day before to make the job easier.

If there’s still welded-on food left over from your last get-together, the day before the deep clean, light fresh coals in your barbecue and leave them to reach high temperatures. This will burn off the most stubborn remnants.

Allow the BBQ to mostly cool, but whilst still warm, soak some newspaper in water and cover the grill with it. If there’s a lid on the BBQ, close it with the newspaper on. This will give it a good steam clean.

2. Deploying the elbow grease

Whilst the first steps will make your job so much easier, it won’t leave the grill gleaming. For that, you’ve got to get scrubbing!

Create a solution of hot water and washing up liquid and leave the grill to soak for a few minutes – if it’s removable get it in the kitchen sink, otherwise liberally douse with a cloth soaked in the solution.

Leave for a few minutes then loosen the grime with a grill brush with wire bristles, or a wallpaper scraper.

Top tip: your brush should be brass-bristled if you have a porcelain-coated rack, otherwise you risk damaging it.

If you’d rather not invest in all the gear for something you only use a couple of times a year, screw aluminium foil into balls and scrub the grill with instead (you’ll need several).

Next, carefully wipe the grill over with a dishcloth and hot soapy water. Have patience as this process takes time but it will bring it up lovely and clean.

If there are some really stubborn areas, try using a specialist cleaning product, like Jeyes barbecue cleaner, which you can purchase from most home improvement stores.

Once the grill is clean, a fresh hot water and soap solution will make the exterior and metal shell sparkle, particularly if you buff it with a dry cloth afterwards.

If you clean the BBQ a few days before having people over, you can use antibacterial wipes to freshen it up the morning of your feast.

3. Making life easier for future-you

Always keep the BBQ covered when not in use to protect it. Covers are an additional cost, but they’re a one-time purchase when you may need to otherwise purchase cleaning and salvaging equipment every year.

Top tip: next time you use the BBQ, give it a good coating of oil before you fire up to stop food from baking on to the surface.

Covering your grill to protect it from the elements will save time and money in the long run. Covers are available for most brands of barbecue. You’ll usually have to pay extra for them, but they will ward off rust and keep out extra dirt between cook-outs.

So, now you’re in the know, there’s no excuse not to show your BBQ some love and get it party-ready!

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