TLC for your BBQ | BBQ Cleaning Tips

TLC for your BBQ Cleaning


As a continuation to the great “Dirt Layer as Vehicle Protection” debate of 2012 with my other half… a dirty BBQ is not a “seasoned” BBQ.


To give credit where credit is due, he does burn off the accumulated gunk at the end of each season. It’s simply a matter of cranking the heat, closing the lid and waiting 10-15 minutes. Once the surfaces have cooled the gunk is much easier to scrape off. This step might work better when done closer to the time of cleaning but I don’t want to be a nag.


Gather your supplies:

  • – Scraper
  • – Garbage bags, newspapers or tarp
  • – Wire Brush
  • – Venturi Brush (Long twisted wire with a brush at one end for tubes and hoses)
  • – Bucket with warm soapy water
  • – Spatula
  • – Stainless steel cleaner or oven cleaner
  • – Fine sandpaper
  • – A nail
  • – Access to a garden hose
  • – Towels and rags
  • – Replacement grease cup


1. Spread out the garbage bags, papers or tarp to protect your work area. Dissemble the BBQ piece by piece and make note of the order of things and how they attach. Start with the grills, move to the briquettes/metal deflector, grate, burner and old grease cup.


Note: Some burners slide out while others are attached with a spring clip, cotter pin or stud & wing nut. Some units may even have V-shaped guards around the gas jets. They will also need to be removed inspected and cleaned. Carefully remove the ignition wires and inspect gas jets for dirt, grease and spiders. Use both brushes as needed to clean these. The sandpaper is a great tool for removing greasy build-up on the ignition electrode.

2. Now take a good look at the firebox. Are there any holes that weren’t there from the factory? Sorry, time for whole new BBQ. Some years the firebox was so dirty, I wished there were holes! If the firebox is sound; grab the scraper and have at it! A generous amount of warm soapy water will help soften the grease and make the scraping easier. Give the outside a little attention too. Rinse the unit off inside and out before letting it dry.

3. Inspect the burner for large holes and the connectors for damage. Replace immediately if you find any issues. Clogged holes can be cleaned easily with the nail. Use the Venturi brush to remove more debris from inside the burner and shake out as much as you can.

4. Scrub the grate with the wire brush. Again use the soapy water to loosen the grease. Do the same with the metal deflector (if equipped). Replace the briquettes if the old ones are too soiled and can’t be turned over.

5. After scrubbing with the wire brush, use stainless steel cleaner on the grills before rinsing and drying. My preferred method is to remove the grills the night before, spray generously with oven cleaner and seal them into a garbage bag. The next day all I have to do is hose them off and dry them.

6. Now inspect the hoses and tubes for crimps, holes or deep scratches. Replace any part that looks damaged. Reattach the gas tank and lines to the burner. Do a complete leak test before starting the BBQ. I suggest that you test the burner before you continue putting the BBQ back together. Replace the burner if it does not light evenly.

7. Reposition the grate, briquettes/deflector, new grease cup and grills once you are satisfied that the BBQ is clean and in good working order. Now it is time to get cooking!