This is a messy job, so you’ll want to wear your work clothes and gloves. Lay down some newspaper that you can scrape all the built-up crud into, but do it away from your deck or patio so that you don’t get grease and grime embedded into the surface.
There are commercial clean-up products available on the market, but this is a job that really only requires elbow grease. A putty knife or old butter knife are perfect for scraping the gunk out between the bars in your barbecue grates. Run the edge up and down between each pair of adjacent bars from above and then flip and repeat below. You can also finish off with a pumice stone or steel wool. Just make sure fragments of the steel wool don’t break off and get stuck to the grate.
Do you have a propane barbecue that just won’t light? Spiders like to make nests inside the burner tube. There’s a tool called a venturi tube brush specifically designed for cleaning these out.
If your barbecue is propane-fired, there will be some sort of heat diffuser over the burners—either a solid perforated plate, or a set of triangular pieces that fit into slots in the base. Remove these, and scrub them clean with your scraper or steel wool. Most flare-ups occur because of a build-up of charred junk in the drip tray. Remove this, scrape it clean, and wipe out any residue with some paper towel.
Once you’ve finished scrubbing everything and reassembled the barbecue, run it on high for a few minutes to burn off any remaining debris. To make shorter work of your clean up next time, every time you finish cooking, turn the heat on high, and use your cleaning brush to scrape away as much of the charred remains stuck to the grill. Pro tip: only apply pressure while pushing towards the back so you don’t fling debris onto your clothes.
Hands up if you’ve ever singed your arm hairs or—gasp—burned a steak on the barbecue because of a flare-up? That looks like a unanimous vote. Here are five barbecue tune-ups to get your barbecue ready for summer so that you don’t burn your meal—or yourself! Featured Video