Barbecue: We’ve Been Grilled By The Best
It’s that time of year again — time to haul out the barbecue and get it ready for the summer season. We think that we can make it a bit easier for you this go round. Here are a few of the common problems that we can help you solve before they become a headache you can’t get rid of:
- Burner(s) won’t light
- Heat is uneven
- Your barbecue looks tattered and worn out but it’s only 3 years old
- Can’t get your grill clean
If you are experiencing any of these problems you definitely need to read on.
Each and every year we have the same problem – getting our built-in gas barbecue up and running. If we cover it – it rusts. If we leave it uncovered it gets filthy – and stained from the trees above. What’s a person to do?
What we all seem to forget is that most barbecues are made of some kind of metal. And the great thing about metal is that it is super strong and long lasting. However, there are components that make up the burner system that must be regularly maintained if you want to be sure to get the most out of the unit.
BURNERS WON’T LIGHT, AREN’T BRIGHT?
When the burner(s) won’t light the chances are there is an obstruction in the fuel supply line. This normally occurs between the on-off valve on the barbecue and the burner. Even when the valve is off insects can nest in the line. Why in heaven’s name would an insect nest in a fuel supply line – because they can?!? A barbecue fuel line is to a spider what a large cave is to a person. For years we had to clean out the fuel line in our barbecue before we could use it. And unfortunately, even wrapping the unit in a plastic bag hasn’t done the trick. A small spider can get through a space not much thicker than a piece of paper. Anyway, here’s how to solve the problem:
- Remove the cover that conceals the metal line between the burners and the on-off valve on the barbecue (not the on-off valve to the propane tank).
- With the fuel tank disconnected or completely off go ahead and disconnect the fuel line mentioned in #1 above.
- You will need to immerse the line in cleaner and use a long, soft, narrow wire to thoroughly clean the inside of the fuel tube. We use auto parts cleaning solvent and air pressure from our compressor. Never put the line back unless you know it is completely dry.
- Replace the parts as they were removed only after spraying soapy water on the connections to insure that there are no leaks. If a leak exists the soapy water will bubble.
GET EVEN WITH UNEVEN HEAT
If you are experiencing uneven heating chances are your burner(s) are becoming rusted or corroded. When a burner is new all of the holes are the same size. As grease and food make their way to the bottom of the barbecue the burner ports often become partially clogged. Also, rust can wreak the same kind of havoc. All that is needed here is a wire brush, an ice pick and 20 minutes of your time. Barbecue burners are usually very easy to remove. The reason is they are designed to be easily removed for cleaning. Remove the various layers between the cooking surface and the burner(s) and then simply remove the burner. It may be wise to review your owner’s manual on how to perform this task. Use a wire brush to completely clean the burner surfaces – scrub until a shine results. Use the ice pick to loosen fragments caught in the burner holes. Clean until all of the holes look about the same size. Use an air compressor – go to the local gas station if need be – and insure that all debris has been removed from within the burner.
NEW BUT TATTERED LOOKING?
The really neat thing about barbecues is that they are either stainless steel, enameled or painted black. Stainless is best cleaned with stainless cleaner – period. Enameled surfaces are best cleaned with mild acid like vinegar. However, painted barbecues tend to remain dirty looking no matter how hard you scrub. That’s why we paint ours ever season or two. Flat black engine paint (high heat paint) is just about the easiest and most forgiving paint on the planet to apply. If you haven’t tried it you are in for a treat.
- Scrub everything down with soapy water.
- Rinse and dry.
- Mask off everything you don’t want painted (including the ground).
- Sand or wire wheel any and all rust.
- Spot paint the shiny spots with the flat black engine paint (or a metal primer for high heat applications) and wait until dry.
- Next, shoot a coat over the whole unit.
- Remove the masking and be amazed at the beauty you’ve created.
DIRTY GRILL – NO SWEAT!
A dirty cast iron barbecue grill is the easiest thing on the planet to clean. Here’s how:
- Get a bowl of plain water and a long grill cleaning brush (the metal kind).
- Get the barbecue as hot as you can get it.
- Submerse the cleaning brush in the water and immediately follow the next step.
- Scrub one wrung from end to end until all the water disappears (about 7 seconds)
- Repeat the process on wrung after wrung until the grill is immaculate (about 2 to 3 minutes)
- Finally, lightly coat the grill with oil to season it.
You should not use this process on stamped or sheet grills. They will warp and twist and be damaged beyond repair.
For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.
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