Setting up a new BBQ
Once you have assembled your new BBQ it’s a good idea to read the instructions and become familiar with your its capabilities.
Make sure the BBQ is in a suitable cooking environment with plenty of ventilation and on a level surface. Please refer to your instructions for any extra clearances.
Before cooking for the first time, follow the instructions for seasoning a BBQ. This will remove any coating that may have been applied for shipping purposes and help cure the hotplate to prevent future rusting.
Consider purchasing a BBQ cover, as this will protect the BBQ from the elements and keep it nice and clean.
How to season a BBQ
Here is a general guide to seasoning a BBQ hotplate, please check your BBQ’s manual for specific seasoning instructions.
1. Remove the hotplates and scrub with warm water using a soft steel brush and a little dishwashing liquid.
2. Rinse with hot water and dry with a cloth or paper towel.
3. Turn the BBQ on and leave all burners on medium with the hood up for around 30 minutes. For cast iron cooking surfaces, continue on with steps 5 and 6.
4. Line the drip tray with aluminium foil and then place fat absorber in the tray. The fat absorber collects fat and prevents fat fires from occurring. (Do not use kitty litter or sand, as they may cause rusting or bad odours.)
5. Turn off the BBQ and lightly coat the cooking side of the grill/plate with canola oil or a cooking spray, then rub it in with a paper towel until there is no more loose dirt/black coming off the BBQ. (Do not use butter or margarine).
6. Heat for another 30 minutes and then let the grill/plate cool.
Keep your BBQ looking and working like new
With a little bit of effort it’s easy to keep your BBQ in great shape.
Check the lines
Before every BBQ check that the gas bottle and lines are connected firmly, without blockages or leaks. If the hose is worn or leaking, tighten the fittings or replace as required. You can test for leaks by spraying a mixture of soapy water over the fittings. If it bubbles, then there is a leak.
Empty the drip tray
Check the fat absorber in the drip tray, it will need to be changed after every 10 BBQs (more if you cook fatty foods). If your BBQ has volcanic rock under the grill, replace this every 10 BBQs or as required. This will help to stop fat fires from starting.
Inspect the grill and hotplate – if either is rusted then they may need replacing. Also, when you finish cooking, make sure you clean all cooking surfaces. If you have cast iron burners or cooking surfaces, once the BBQ is cooled, spray canola or olive oil on the surface to prevent rusting. If the BBQ is not going to be used for a long period, this step is the most important. (Do not use butter or margarine to coat the BBQ. They are fine to cook with though.)
Turn off your BBQ safely
Remember to turn off the BBQ after each use. It is a good idea once you have finished cooking to turn the gas bottle off before turning off the BBQ knobs. This will allow any excess gas to be burnt away.
If you have a stainless steel BBQ, it may be susceptible to surface rust. Surface rust can be easily removed with a fine scourer and soap.
How to clean your BBQ
It's a good idea to clean your BBQ regularly. Here are some tips:
1. Make sure the gas bottle is turned off and disconnected.
2. Lift up the hood and remove the hot plate, grill and the drip tray.
3. Remove the burners and if cast iron, scrape off any loose flaky crust with a wire brush.
4. Replace the aluminium foil on the drip tray and the absorbent material.
5. Clean the hot plate and grill with a BBQ degreaser.
6. Clean the body of the BBQ with soapy water and a soft scourer pad or BBQ wipes. You may wish to use a stainless steel polish to guard against finger prints.
7. Use canola oil on all cast iron surfaces to prevent rusting. Do not use olive oil, butter or margarine to coat the BBQ.
8. Check all hoses and replace if they show any signs of cracking.
For more information on how to clean and maintain your BBQ read our DIY article.