Nov 29, 2012

Get the Most Out of Your Charcoal BBQ

I love barbecues and having one on a summer's evening really is a lovely way to end the day. I must admit I'm a little bit sad when the time comes for me to pack my grill away, especially if I feel I haven't got as much use out of it as I'd have liked.

As tempting as it is to just put your BBQ into your shed or garage and not think about it again come next year, avoid doing this, as it could end up costing you. Instead, I've laid out a few simple steps that will ensure your cooking equipment is raring to go once the warmer months arrive again.

It won't take you too long and will save you time and money further down the line.

Step 1: Clean
Cleaning your BBQ is not likely to be a task you look forward to, but it's not as bad as you think and once it's done, you don't have to worry about it for a while. If you've forked out for a high-end BBQ like the charcoal Weber One Touch Deluxe with removable ash catcher, you certainly want to look after your investment.

If you have bought a quality model that comes with features like an ash catcher, at least you know cleaning it will be that little bit easier. Throwing the old ash away is not enough, though, and you really need to take the equipment apart and give it a good scrub with a wire brush.

This includes the lid and outside, as if you've paid for a good brand you will want it to not only work efficiently, but also look the part. If you don't clean your charcoal barbecue before putting it away, it will be even harder come next summer, plus a build-up of dust and dirt could cause damage.

Step 2: Dry
Your job doesn't end with cleaning, as you'll also need to make sure every part is totally dry before storing. Water can cause rust, and you'll regret not drying it properly should you pull out a rusty and broken barbecue a few months down the line.

Even though the Weber One Touch Deluxe, for example, comes with a rust-proof ash catcher, aluminium vents, lid and bowl, I think it still makes sense to not tempt fate and to look after your BBQ.

Step 3: Give it a once over
Now you've got rid of any grime and dirt, you can clearly see all of the parts and check for any damage. If you do notice you need new bits and bobs, or something needs fixing, autumn is the time to do it. That way, you'll remember to do it, rather than realising during the warmer months when you try to whip up a feast on it, only to find that it doesn't work properly.

My top tip is to buy from a well-known and reputable brand, like Weber, as that way you should be covered by a long warranty so you won't have to spend a penny on new parts.

Step 4: Protect it in storage
Just because your barbecue is clean does not mean it can now be placed in storage with no protection. While your BBQ might describe itself as weather-proof, it's still sensible to purchase a cover for it to make sure it really is protected from the wind and rain.

Even better, keep it in your garage or shed, if you have one, to be doubly sure.
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