Fire up your grills – it's time to take your grills out of storage and start cooking! Since next weekend is the unofficial kick-off of summer, we at CubeSmart wanted to make sure you – and your grills – are ready for a summer full of flavor, food, and cook outs. To help you get ready, we've developed this smart guide to maintaining and storing your grill.
Types of Grills
There are two main types of grills: gas grills and charcoal grills. Gas grills typically use propane (LP) or natural gas (NG) as their fuel source. The gas flame cooks food directly or heats grilling elements,which in turn radiate heat for cooking. Charcoal grills use charcoal briquettes or all-natural lump coals as their fuel source.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Before you take your grill out of storage and prepare it for Memorial Day weekend, you'll need to do a bit of grill maintenance and house-keeping to make sure it's ready. Depending on the type of grill that you own, these steps can vary. Below are some tips for maintaining charcoal grills and gas grills.
After taking your grill out of your CubeSmart cube, you'll want to start prepping it for the season by cleaning it. To start, you'll need rubber gloves, a non-lint terry cloth, soapy water, a sponge, a scouring pad, stainless steel grill brush, and glass cleaner. Starting with the exterior of your grill, you'll want to use warm soapy water and a sponge to wipe it down. To remove any built-up grease, stains, or dust, use the terry cloth and glass cleaner as a follow-up step.
Once the exterior has air-dried, it's time to clean up the interior. If you didn't thoroughly clean your grill before storing in your cube last summer, you may notice carbonized deposits of grease on the grill's interior surfaces. These deposits are caused by moisture and grease from your food when you grill. The more you use your grill, the faster these deposits will build, so it's important that you clean your grill's interior on a regular basis. To prevent accumulation, wipe the interior with a damp rag when the grill is warm each time after you grill. Using a stainless steel grill brush, remove the carbonized grease from the grill's interior. Then wash the interior with a sponge and warm, soapy water to rinse.
- Grill Grates
To clean the grill grates, you're going to need the grill brush and warm soapy water again. Brush the grates clean while they're positioned in the grill to catch any stuck on food particles. Then remove the grate and use warm soapy water and a sponge to wipe the grates.
- Bottom of the Grill
Depending on the type of grill you own, there may be a built-in system for removing all the ashes, food particles, and charcoal that accumulates at the bottom of your grill. If not, consult your owner's manual which will include instructions for removing these particles. Once the built-up particles are removed, use a grill brush followed by a sponge and warm soapy water to clean the bottom of your grill's interior.
For gas-powered grills, you'll need rubber gloves, a grill brush, non-lint terry cloth, warm soapy water, a sponge, glass cleaner, stainless steel cleaner, and a paint scraper.
Once the grill has cooled, start by wiping down the grill's exterior using warm soapy water and a sponge. After you're finished, rinse and wipe the grill dry. For stainless steel parts, clean those parts using the stainless steel cleaner and terry cloth. Wipe these areas in a side-to-side motion with the grain.
- Interior of the Lid
Brush the carbonized grease deposits using a stainless steel brush. Then, wash using warm soapy water and rinse. If you notice any discoloration, use warm soapy water and a cloth to remove any excess residue.
- Grill Grates and Flavorizer Bars
Similar to the charcoal grill, use the grill brush to remove residue and particles from the grates and bars. Then, wipe using a sponge and warm soapy water.
When the grill is cool, remove the grates and flavorizer bars from the grill. Use your grill brush to clean each burner tube individually. Be sure to brush the ports in an up-and-down motion. Brushing the ports lengthwise only pushes the debris from one hole to another.
- Cook Box
Follow three easy steps to clean the cook box:
- First, use a grill brush to remove all excess grease and debris from inside the cook box into the bottom tray.
- Then, remove the tray and throw the debris away.
- Burn off any remaining food residue by turning all the burners to high for 15 minutes. Once your grill reaches these high temperatures, the remaining food debris will turn to ash and can be easily removed with your grill brush.
Short and Long-term Grill Storage
Now that grilling season is finally here, you'll want to store your grill in an easy to access place like your backyard, garage, or patio. This way, you'll always be ready for a summer cookout.
When it's time to pack your grill away for the summer, you'll need to find a good place – like a CubeSmart cube – to protect it from the elements. When that time comes, you'll need to give your charcoal or gas grill a thorough cleaning and follow the below steps.
For gas-grills, you need to:
- Shut off the gas at the tank and unfasten the burner. Following your owner's manual, slip the gas tubes off the gas lines and lift out the unit from the grill's bases.
- Coat the burners and other metal parts with cooking oil to repel moisture that can build up over winter and to prevent rust from developing.
- Wrap the burner unit in a plastic bag to keep bugs from nesting inside the tubes during winter.
- Disconnect the tank and store it in an upright position in an outdoor space away from dryer and furnace vents and play areas.
For charcoal grills, the process is even easier. You'll need to:
- Coat all cooking surfaces with a spray cooling oil and rub the interior and exterior surfaces with a paper towel.
- Grab a few wrenches and a screwdriver to tighten any loose bolts.
- Thoroughly inspect your grill and make note of any items that appear broken or are beginning to wear. Doing so now, means you'll have all winter to find a replacement part instead of scrambling for it the following spring.
- Cover it using a grill cover and store it in your CubeSmart unit.
With these tips, you'll be barbequing the smart way in no time. Happy Grilling!