With a busy summer ahead we find out the best way to give your barbecue some tender love and care so you can enjoy delicious meals for years to come
The best way to care for your barbecue this summer
The sounds and smells of delicious food sizzling on a hotplate capture the essence of an Kiwi summer. Cooking on a barbecue may be an easy option, but that’s not to say your barbecue doesn’t need looking after.
“You should treat it as you would any other cooking appliance,” says Lee Hardcastle, director of Brisbane’s Enigma Interiors and a specialist in the design of outdoor kitchens. “The key thing is to ensure it’s adequately protected from the weather. If you do that, you can expect at least a decade of service from a quality barbecue.
Most top-quality hotplates are coated with vitreous enamel (porcelain) and will only require a wash with detergent prior to first use, says Peter Woodland, managing director of Beefeater Barbecues.
Uncoated surfaces, however, will require seasoning. “Most new barbecue grills have a light coating of lanolin to prevent rust. Before using your barbecue for the first time, it is recommended that you season it,” he says. “Wash and dry the plates well, apply a little cooking oil, then light the burner and heat it for about three minutes.”
Going forward, apply a light coat of cooking oil to the hotplate each time it’s used to prevent food sticking. An extra coat of oil after cooking will help protect it from corrosion, says Peter.
Cleaning your barbecue
Clean your barbecue after every use, says Peter. “Clean grills work better and last longer, plus you won’t get a bad taste from fat build-up and excess smoke.”
The best time to clean your grill is immediately after removing the food, thus getting to grease and mess before it cools, he says.
Once or twice a year, soak the hotplate in warm soapy water. Never use harsh chemicals such as bleach as they can contaminate food. “Oven cleaner can be used to tackle stubborn build-up, but take extra care to scrub all residue off because it’s toxic too,” says Peter.
If you have a gas barbecue, don’t forget the control valves are also subject to the effects of heat. Remove the knobs and spray them with a lubricant such as WD40.
Storage and safety
“If you have invested in an integrated barbecue, it’s a good idea to keep it under shelter,” says Lee. “A freestanding barbecue should have a protective fabric cover over it when it is not in use.”
Ensuring it’s covered helps prevent dirt build-up, weathering and corrosion. “Over the long term, corrosion can reduce the lifespan of your barbecue by impacting on its heat-production capabilities, says Peter.
If you have a gas barbecue, ensure the bottle is securely turned off after every use. “Ten years is the upper age limit for a gas bottle, so check the bottle to confirm its date of manufacture. This is usually stamped on the side,” he says.
If you’re looking for recipes for your next barbeque, check out Food to Love’s delicious collection of barbeque recipes.
Words by: Sarah Pickette. Photography by: Scott Hawkins.
This article originally appeared on Homestolove.com.au.