We Pledge Allegiance to the Grill
It stood beside you when you recited the “pledge of allegiance” on Memorial Day. It watched the “rocket’s red’ glare during the fireworks display on the fourth of July, and it saluted the proud worker of our great nation on Labor Day. And now it’s time. You must put your beloved BBQ grill away for the winter. It’s a bittersweet moment but ask not of what your barbecue can do for you now, but what you can do for your barbecue. Don’t you at least owe it to your barbecue to keep it well protected so it’s there for you next season?
Winterizing Your Grill
Buck up brave soldier, it is a hard mission to accomplish, but the last thing you want to do is procrastinate. After all, you don’t want to be winterizing your grill when the first flakes are falling on the grill grates. Take up thy wire brush and get to business. Here are some winterizing tips for grill storage to take the winter chill off your grill.
- Clean grill thoroughly. Heat grill and let it run on high for 15 to 20 minutes or until the food remnants burn off. Allow it to cool down.
- Clean grill grates. Use a wire grill brush to scrape the remaining food off the surface while the grill is hot. Once it has cooled, use soapy water or oven cleaner to target the caked-on gunk. Thoroughly rinse grill afterward to remove soap residue.
- Clean the inside of the grill. When the grill is cool, remove the lava rocks or metal heat deflectors and clean the inside of the grill. You may also want to use this opportunity to put in new lava rocks so the grill is ready for next year.
- Clean the outside of your grill. Wipe off the outside of the grill using a damp cloth. Use a soapy cloth and clean every surface of the grill including the hoses and the propane tank. If your grill includes a drip pan, make sure to empty and clean it as well.
- Consult your owner’s manual. The manufacturer may have extra suggestions about wiping down certain parts of the grill with light oil to prevent rust. Not all manufacturers make these recommendations, so be sure to consult the owner’s manual to find out.
- Do a quick damage inspection. Check for cracks and aging in hoses. Clean the burnt food off the grill elements and order new burners from the manufacturer if the current parts are rusted or cracked. Fix temperature gauges, handles or anything else that might keep it from running next year.
Storing A Grill: inside or Outside?
Sometimes grilling outside means spending more time gritting your teeth than using them to chew. When that happens, winter grill storage is a necessary evil. However, whether you choose to expose your grill to the elements or not depends on the weather conditions in your area. Should you leave your grill to tough it out or bring it into the household to share in the warmth of the season? Outside or inside? What side will you take?
Inside Gas Grill Storage
If the weather outside is frightful and White Christmases are more the rule than the exception, the general rule of thumb is to bring the grill in. Garages, basements, and sheds will all work for grill storage as long as the area is dry and free from falling objects. The propane tanks, on the other hand, are never to be given a warm welcome. Storing propane tanks indoors causes the temperature to increase, leading to some very hazardous conditions.
The safest place to store a propane tank in the winter is outside on a flat surface at least 10 feet away from any flammable materials. If you have babies or pets likely to explore the area, think about building a barricade around the tank using bricks or cinder blocks.
Tips for Inside Storage:
- Shut off the LP tank, unfasten the burner and slip the gas tubes off the gas lines
- Lift out the unit as a whole
- Coat burners and metal parts with cooking oil to prevent moisture buildup and rust
- Wrap burner in a plastic bag to keep insects from nesting in the gas tubes during winter. This can lead to problems with balky starts, uneven heat ups, and even one-alarm fires.
Outside Gas Grill Storage
If there’s an outside chance of a Thanksgiving barbecue, it’s a good chance that you can leave your grill outside without much worry. Leaving your gas grill outside is one thing but leaving it outside without the best darn grill cover you can find is totally unacceptable. Covers protect grills from rain, snow, sun, and heat, not to mention the errant bird dropping. No griller worthy of their apron should be without heavy duty protection.
Tips for Outside Storage:
- Keep propane tank connected, but shut off
- Put a protective cover over the grill when you’re done cleaning it
- Disconnect the tank and store it in an upright position away from furnace vents and children’s play areas
- Tape a plastic bag over the gas line opening to keep unwanted pests from nesting.
Gas Grill Cover
Look outside at your griller. If you see anything resembling a garbage bag covering it, cease and desist immediately. Shopping for a grill cover isn’t rocket science, but you should know a bit about your grill’s dimensions and the cover’s available features. Here are some of the top choices for finding the best grill covers to cover your needs.
Classic Accessories Grill Cover
For the grill cover lover whose grill is extra-large in size, the Classic Accessories Grill Cover comes highly recommended. It’s guaranteed to fit grills with dimensions of 74″ x 24″ x 48″ and can be used for Weber Grills and other popular grills such as Charbroil, Brinkman and Jenn Air. Grills love the Classic Accessories because of the elastic hem cords with toggles that keep it so warm and cozy. Grill owners love the grill because of its fashionable design choices, durability and matching accessories (ooh la la!).
Other features include:
- Heavyweight Gardelle woven polyester fabric with water-resistant and repellant undercoating to keep moisture away from the grill
- Air vents that reduce the risks of condensation buildup and wind lofting
- Padded handles for easy glide cover
- Zippered pocket on top for storing grill accessories
- Click-close straps that snap over the wheels and legs to prevent the cover from blowing in heavy wind.
With the Weber Grill Cover, polyester is back in fashion. It might not be for tab collared suits anymore, but it’s definitely the latest in grill-wear. The Weber Grill Cover is made from 100% polyester which means the ultimate protection for your grill. Polyester dries quickly, and the fibers used to make polyester are treated to withstand both sun and rain. But it doesn’t stop there; the polyester material is not the only thing that gives the Weber gas grill cover its bragging rights. Other features include:
- 60” x 24” x 44.4” dimensions
- Velcro straps to secure the cover to the grill on windy days
- Padded handles for easy removal
- Compatible with most brands of grills, including JennAir and Charbroil
- 36-month guarantee against rips and tears
Would you rather spend $30 to $40 dollars on a new grill cover or upwards of $300 on a new grill? It’s more or less a rhetorical question. But if you buy the Scala Grill Cover you can answer neither of the above. The Scala is the highest quality grill you can find for under $30 this side of Amazon and that’s shipping included. What does the Scala have to offer besides some extra lunch money? Here are some of the features of the Scala that will have you protecting your investment without costing your Shake
- Fits a majority of medium-sized grillers that measure 58 x 24″ x 48”
- It can be used on Weber, JennAir, Charbroil, and Brinkmann.
- Elegant design looks great on porch or deck
- Air vents to reduce condensation and wind lofting
- Protective backing and guard skirt
- 600d Denier fabric to withstand wind, rain, and sun
- Padded handles for easy on and off
- Special straps click over wheels and legs to keep the cover from blowing off in strong wind
- Three-year warranty against damage due to tearing and manufacturer defects is longest in the business.
Storing A Charcoal Grill
Just because you say a big, “Hell, no” to propane doesn’t mean you can say a big, “Hell, no” to winter grill storage procedures. If you don’t brush those charcoal grates clean, you could be in for a nasty surprise when you go to use them the next year. Uninvited wildlife included. For charcoal models:
- Make sure to brush the cooking and charcoal grates clean
- Scrape the interior surfaces with a putty knife and push the loose debris into the ash catcher at the bottom and empty the empty ash catcher
- If that doesn’t stop the critters from nesting in your grill, never fear. Simply clean out the tokens of appreciation they’ve left behind and run the grill for 15 minutes to disinfect.
A charcoal grill should not have to be brought inside for the winter, but a good cleanse and grill cover is always the best policy for avoiding mold, corruption, and the occasional rodent gone rogue. Store your grill for the winter and restore great barbecuing next summer.