Barbecue is one of the great friendly pleasures of summer. We appreciate being able to reconnect with simple cooking, in the open air, without too much daily cleaning… Your barbecue still requires a little maintenance with each use and cleaning at the end of the season. What do you absolutely have to wash after each use? How to increase the life of your device? We take stock.
Why clean your barbecue regularly?
- For food hygiene. Cleaning the grid is essential to avoid bacterial proliferation and possible poisoning…
- For the pleasure of tasting. A clean barbecue heats up faster. The heat is better distributed, which has an effect on the quality of the grills. Not to mention that the meat sticks much less to a clean grill.
- For better performance. In the end, the performance of a clean barbecue is much better. Faster, better quality cooking; Worth a little cleaning effort, right?
- For a longer life. A properly cleaned barbecue is less exposed to oxidation and rust. It can make you a few more seasons.
What do you absolutely need to clean every time you use it?
Some elements need to be cleaned regularly: the cooking grid and the utensils. Fat should also be burned regularly during the season.
The cooking grid: 10 natural cleaning techniques
To clean the cooking grids, several methods are possible. No need to burden yourself with chemicals, expensive and polluting. The most natural methods are often the most effective (and economical).
- Remove the grates and scrub them with a barbecue scraper or barbecue grill brush. Use a brush with a long handle and stiff bristles, preferably brass (less aggressive). Scrub with warm soapy water. Dry your grates well before putting them back in place.
- If you don’t have a brush, form a ball with papier aluminium. You will use this aluminum ball in the same way as a brush. Efficiency is on point.
- After it has cooled, wrap the grill in wet newspaper. Leave to act quietly for a few hours, until the residue stuck to the grid softens. After that, finish cleaning with a sponge and soapy water. It will be much easier!
- Soak the grid in a container filled with water, to which you will have added baking soda. Not too much water, just enough to cover the grid. After a few hours of soaking, the baking soda will have dissolved the fats. Just wipe with a sponge and rinse the grid. You can also add to the diluted bicarbonate a little black soap and use a sponge soaked in this mixture to scrub the grid.
- You have some coca-cola left ? Immerse the grid in a cola bath for several hours. The combined action of carbon dioxide and acids dissolves dirt. You just have to rinse the grid with clean water.
- The White vinegar also has excellent degreasing properties. It is used diluted on a sponge or in a bath, like baking soda, for a visible result in 30 minutes.
- With a charcoal barbecue, you can reuse ashes for cleaning the grid. Take an old rag and dampen it. Dip the rag in the ash, then rub the grate vigorously. Ash and water act together to radically clean the grate. The stuck-on residues do not resist. Once the cleaning is finished, rinse the grid with clear water.
- To clean the grill of a gas barbecue, a simple technique is to heat the grill, when the appliance is still hot. With the lid closed, leave the grill in place and heat the barbecue until it reaches maximum power. Grease and residue burn off and come loose. You will then clean the grid more easily, once cooled.
- Something effective? At the end of your barbecue, while the grill is still hot, cut an onion in half and rub the grill with it. Fats do not resist! It only remains to rinse with water so that it shines.
- The prevention tip: brush the clean grid with a layer of edible oil. This will prevent food from sticking to the grid while cooking. Less cleaning required! As a bonus, this technique protects the grid from rust.
Utensils: do the dishes!
Utensils should be cleaned after each barbecue. Some can go in the dishwasher: do not deprive yourself of it. For others (especially wooden handles), just soak them in a mixture of water and baking soda, or in soapy water. A sponge to finish, before rinsing them.
Interior and exterior: to be cleaned regularly
Not necessarily with each use, some cleaning can be done regularly during the season. Even just at the end if you are not very motivated. Empty and clean the tank, shine the exterior… Carry out these operations regularly, depending on the frequency of use and the model of your barbecue.
Empty and wash the tank
In the case of a charcoal barbecue, it is better to empty the tank of its ashes, or even of the residual charcoal, ideally each time it is used. But it depends on your habits. As carbon absorbs moisture, its permanent storage in the tank could cause premature oxidation and clog the aeration system (which affects its proper functioning).
Should the charcoal be emptied each time it is used?
- If you make numerous meal in BBQ mode and that your appliance is put away each evening shelter, no need to empty the coal. It can be reused from time to time, a few days apart. No risk of oxidation.
- On the contrary, if your barbecues are casual or that the device remains outside permanently, do not leave charcoal in the bowl.
And the coal ashes, should they be emptied?
The ashes should preferably be emptied after each use. At the bottom of the tank, they could block the slots. For this cleaning, wait until the barbecue has completely cooled down. Remove the unburned charcoal briquettes and sweep up the ashes. (Be careful not to put it anywhere.)
When the tank is empty, wash it
Whether your barbecue is charcoal, gas or electric, cleaning the tank is done with a sponge and soapy water, possibly with baking soda to tackle the most stubborn marks. Same thing for the ceramic briquettes of a gas barbecue. Rinse and dry your tank with a microfiber cloth.
Clean interior and exterior surfaces
With a soft sponge (no need to scratch, you risk scratching), pass soapy water on all surfaces. The more often you clean, the easier it is. Remember: before cleaning, disconnect the power supply, close the gas bottle!
Washing the lid must be done according to the rules, depending on the material.
- Lid in stainless steel : take warm water, soap and a sponge. By rubbing in the direction of the grain, you will avoid leaving unsightly marks. Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft, clean, dry cloth. If you want it to shine, use a special stainless steel cleaner.
- Lid in enamelled steel : it’s beautiful but fragile. Clean it gently with water and a mild soap. Dry with a soft cloth. A little glass cleaner to finish, and it will be like new!
- Lid in powder coated steel : it looks like stainless steel but it is as delicate as enamelled steel. Mild soap and water, a non-abrasive sponge, a microfiber drying cloth, and you’ll be fine. The thing not to do: damage the finish of the lid with an unsuitable or too aggressive product.
- Lid painted : clean with soap and water, like the others. When the lid is old and corroded, you can repaint it. Start by removing the rust with sandpaper, wash, dry. Then apply a high temperature paint.
What maintenance should be planned at the end of the season?
The burners should be cleaned thoroughly as soon as you have made your last barbecue of the season, before storing the appliance. Of course, this does not apply to charcoal BBQs.
Clean the burners
After disconnecting the gas cylinder and the gas pressure regulator, you can remove the tubes from the burners. Carefully clean the inside and outside, with soapy water, a steel wire (or a toothpick) and a stiff brush. No residue should remain. Dry it all off with an old towel. Then replace the tubes.
Wash the inside
As long as the burners and pipes are removed, take the opportunity to thoroughly clean the interior. Cooking leftovers must be discarded. Don’t hesitate to do this cleaning again when the good weather returns, at the start of the new barbecue season. This time it will be to remove the dirt accumulated during the winter. Proceed step by step. The gas valves are protected with aluminum foil. Clean with a long-handled, stiff-bristled grill brush and soapy water. Rinse the bottom and dry with a towel. When dry, replace the pipes and burners.
Empty the grease collection tray
The grease can be removed with absorbent paper, then with soapy water to which white vinegar can be added.
Shelter your barbecue for the winter
Store your appliance in a dry place, not without checking that the barbecue itself is perfectly dry. You can cover it with a protective cover, which will protect it from humidity and ambient dust. To prevent rust, consider applying a little cooking oil to the grill and metal areas. Protect accessories in the same way. Before storing a gas BBQ, check the condition of the pipes and the ignition device. If necessary, replace the elements. Make sure the hoses are not kinked while storing. As for the gas cylinder, store it in a well-ventilated place, out of reach of children. Close the gas valve, disconnect the pressure regulator; wintering can begin.