This is one job I loathe….. but hubby hates it more so I usually end up with the job. Let’s face it – it’s hard work! But if you have to do a job, lets get it done right the first time!
Disconnect the gas bottle and remove it from the barbecue. Store it someone safe out of the sun until you need it again. Take off the grills, the drip tray, pull the knobs off the front and pull out the burners – anything that is easily removable – take it out. Don’t worry too much about the hood though unless it is seriously grotty, you can clean it whilst it’s attached.
Lay out the plates on newspaper on the lawn and either spray them with degreaser or oven cleaner. Make sure that kids and pets won’t go anywhere near it, this stuff is CAUSTIC! Make sure you use gloves too! Leave for 15 minutes or so then using steel wool or a scourer and give them a good scrub. Wipe away the remaining mess with a damp (but not wet) cloth or BBQ wipes.The biggest problem with barbecues is they accumulate fat deposits from cooking. Fat = greasy mess. The best tool for this job is a paint scraper to scrape the hotplate and the grills. DON’T scrape the hood or the burners, you may damage them! Remove any large wads of fat but leave a small layer of oil as it is a great protectant for your barbecue. Remember you don’t need to have your barbecue sparkling, you just want to remove the unsightly mess.
Odds and Ends
Give the knobs a clean in hot soapy water in the sink to remove all oil and grime. Wipe over the gas valve controls and oil them with machine oil or vaseline to keep them lubricated. If they are too ‘stiff’ they can break so keep an eye on them, you can always get replacements for places like Barbecues Galore.
The Hood and Painted Surfaces
If the hood is only dusty and a little grotty, just use a spray bottle with white vinegar and water to give it a good clean. If stains are really persistent, use straight white vinegar to move them. Wipe down the whole barbecue with the damp (but not wet) cloth to remove grease and grime.
Carefully put the barbecue pieces back together, making sure there is no dollops of soap or cleaning liquid. Throw away the oil in the drip tray, give it a quick wipe with newspaper and replace. If you like to make it easier for next time, line it with aluminium foil or the specially made trays for barbecues – most supermarkets stock them. Replace the volcanic rocks.
Wipe the cooking plates with canola oil. Re-connect the gas bottle taking special note of the fittings to ensure they are all in good working order and there there are no leaks. Make sure the gas bottle actually contains gas (you’ll thank yourself next time you throw an impromptu barbie!)
Seasoning the Plates
Turn on all the burners to their highest settings for 10 minutes. Let the rocks and the plates get very very hot, then turn it down to the lowest section and carefully wipe the plates again with canola oil before using. It’s important to oil the plates after every use to prevent rust!