It’s been a long and rather cold winter in Australia’s southern states and I think more than one home is happy that summer is on the way and possibly dreaming of those outdoor Sunday BBQs. You can almost smell the sausages in bread from here.With Aussies love of backyard cooking and the barbie one of the best features of an outdoor entertainment space (besides your outdoor SealTV flat screen enclosure), it also is no stretch to say that BBQ safety is something we need to pay extra attention to.No matter how far away you are from your first summer cook up, now is the time to go over your BBQ unit, clean it up and do the safety checks needed to ensure everything goes smoothly when you do put some heat under those steaks. We all know that once your guests have arrived, your chicken wings marinated and your outdoor TV is on you’re not going to pause to look over your gas hose for leaks and dodgy sealing. Even if you do notice something is a little off in the heat of the moment you are more than likely going to press on and ignore it. 

1. Get Your Cleaning Kit Ready Before You Get Started

 Even if your BBQ has been under cover over winter, chances are it needs a good clean up. Having your cleaning supplies stocked and loaded for a pre-summer clean means you are set and ready to go after your first cook-up as well, so you can get the grime off straight after and making cleaning quick and easy and cross it off your to-do list faster.Depending on the size and type of BBQ you own here are some practical cleaning tools to have on hand before you get started:
  • Brush for scrubbing the cooking grid
  • Hot water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Venturi brush
  • 1/16” drill bit (provided when you first purchased your grill)
  • Replacement grease cups (or aluminium foil)
  • Spatula
  • Stainless steel cleaner
  • Soft lint free cloth

2. Clean Every Inch of Your BBQ

 Go over every surface with the tools listed above, turn on your outdoor TV to keep you company while you work. Start by removing any cooking plates and grids so you can get to the burners. The burners are usually detachable so you can clean them separately. Use hot water in a container and washing liquid to scrub the burners inside and out (the venturi brush will help you clean the inside, use a wire brush on the outside). If any of the burner ports are clogged the drill bit is on hand to unblock them.Wash out your grease cup with hot water and reline it with foil if you haven’t used disposable cups in the past. While hot soapy water is enough to clean your grill plate and irons you can also put them in the dishwasher (use a gentle cycle). Once everything is dry you can rub in some stainless steel cleaner/protector/polish using the soft lint free cloth. 

3. Run a Thorough Safety Inspection

 Now that your BBQ is gleaming have a good look over it for any signs of trouble. Pay especially close attention to gas hoses and feed tubes, make sure they are new looking and undamaged, that includes being alert to scratch marks and punctures. There needs to be a free and flexible path from gas bottle to BBQ, no creases or kinks. At the same time, check the seals and connections, if you have any doubts install new ones. 

4. Secure All Your Connections

 Make sure you have put everything back onto your BBQ correctly and all your gas pipes for the BBQ cooking sections are tightly fitted. If your ignition is battery powered this is a good time to replace the battery.Check online for videos on how to run an easy leak test. You need to do this at least once a year.Accidents with BBQs are serious so give your BBQ your full attention, go over it with a fine tooth comb and check your gas levels this weekend, so that when summer backyard opening day arrives you are ready to sizzle, everyone gets to go home with their eyebrows attached and a pleasantly full stomach.