How to prepare your barbecue for winter

As the colder months approach and the nights draw in, those of us who enjoy outdoor dining are usually considering packing away the barbeque we’ve used over the summer period. Whilst we reluctantly put away our BBQ and wrap up our long-handled forks, spatulas, gloves and such, it is important to remember to properly prepare the barbeques for the wintertime.

Here are some tips on how to maintain your barbeque safely:

Winter storage for charcoal barbeques

If your barbeque of choice is the traditional charcoal burner then it will need a thorough clean before it’s next use or being stored away for the winter. It’s likely that you clean your barbeque between uses anyway but, just in case, ensure that all previous ashes and any unburnt charcoal are removed from the bowl and other voids.

Wiping with a damp cloth with some hot, soapy water should remove any lingering residue and leave your barbeque clean and ready for use. Not only is this important in the maintenance of your barbeque but also allows your charcoal to burn easier, hotter and cleaner on next use

Winter storage for gas barbeques

Preparing a gas barbeque is a little more complex but shouldn’t take long if it has been properly cleaned and maintained throughout the year.

The first thing to ensure is that the gas barbeque is safe to use – so check for leaks. You should do this whenever you are reconnecting a gas bottle following a change or storage. It is a straightforward, but important process – simply apply a soapy water solution to the connection then, with the control knobs off, turn the gas bottle on. If any bubbles appear then it would suggest that there is a leak – if this is the case STOP – you CANNOT use the barbeque until this is remedied. Turn the gas off again and repeat the process with a different gas bottle – if the same situation occurs and bubbles appear you may need to replace the hose on your grill.

The next step is to ensure that the burner tubes are clean and in working order. Using an appropriate hard brush, clear all the oxidation and grease from across the portholes. Remember to do this by brushing ACROSS the portholes – brushing lengthwise may push grease and dirt INTO the holes and this will reduce the performance of your barbeque.

The cook box itself is the next part to be tackled – grease can collect on the sides and, if left overtime, can accumulate to a dangerous level as it is flammable. Simply take an appropriate scraper, to loosen, then remove, any grease and dirt and then dispose of it accordingly.

Finally, on your gas barbeque, clean out the bottom tray – again with an appropriate scraper, push any lingering grease into the drip pan below the tray and replace it with a new one.

Barbecue storage

Having cleaned your barbeque, it is safe to cover it properly and store it away in a dry environment for the winter months. It is worth considering though, firing it up and enjoying some winter grilling!

There is no law that says you can only barbeque in the summer months – winter is a great time for barbequing – the natural moisture in the air keeps food from drying out and the cold conditions can add a greater appreciation and enjoyment to some roasted pork belly!