Fall Grill Care Guide: Essential Autumn Gas BBQ Maintenance
The arrival of autumn doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up your grill and tuck it away! Fall is a great season for grilling, and some dedicated backyard BBQ masters even grill all the way through the long, cold winter.
Whether it’s temperate year-round or you live in a climate where winter is coming, the changing of the seasons is always a good time to give your grill a thorough clean and tune-up.
Unless you’re packing up for the season, you don’t necessarily need to give your grill a deep clean every fall. A quick once-over in the early fall is a good place to start, and will make your end-of-season deep clean a lot easier when it is time to put your grill away for winter. If you do plan to grill year-round, you have a bit more work to do—a good rule of thumb is to deep clean your barbecue in the spring and again in the fall to keep it working its best all year.
Keep reading our fall grill care guide to learn more about:
- How to clean a gas grill in fall
- How to clean a charcoal grill in fall
- Inspecting your grill for deterioration or damage
- Getting ready to winterize your grill
Let’s get started.
How to Clean a Gas Grill in Fall
To clean a gas grill in fall, you’ll follow the same basic steps you’d take in the spring or summer:
- When the grill is cool, brush or scrape off any deposits that have built up on the underside of the lid. Brush the cooking grates using a grill cleaning brush to remove any leftover debris from your last cookout. A wood scraper can be used for any seriously stuck-on bits.
- Remove the cooking grates and clean the heat plates or flavorizer bars.
- Remove the heat plates and clean the burner tube ports to remove any rust and debris. Be sure to brush across and not down the length of the burner to avoid pushing debris into the burner tube ports.
- Chip or scrape away any built-up debris or deposits along the sides and bottom of the cookbox, pushing all the debris into the grease tray. Scrape debris from the grease tray into the drip pan and empty the drip pan.
- Clean the exterior of the grill and the side tables using warm soapy water or stainless steel grill cleaning solution.
If you’re packing your gas grill up for the season, you should also do a deep clean of each of your grill’s interior parts and components, including the cooking grates, burners, and heat plates. Read our grill cleaning guide for detailed instructions on how to deep clean a gas grill.
How to Clean a Charcoal Grill in Fall
Follow these steps to clean a charcoal grill in the fall:
- When the grill is cool, brush or scrape off built-up deposits on the underside of the lid.
- Brush the cooking and charcoal grates to remove leftover debris from your last cookout.
- Use a scraper to chip away any difficult residue on the inside of the bowl, pushing any debris into the ash catcher.
- Empty the ash catcher and clean the exterior of the grill with warm, soapy water.
Inspecting Your Grill
Cleaning your grill in the fall is the perfect time to inspect it for damage and deterioration.
- Check all the hoses for cracks or abrasions. These can worsen in the cold weather, and spotting and fixing them now can save you a lot of headaches when spring arrives and you’re ready to grill again.
- Look closely at the grill grates, heat plates, and burners for rust, corrosion, or other signs of deterioration. If you spot any and it can’t be cleaned away, it may be time to replace these parts.
- Check for gas leaks at all gas connections, including at the propane tank or natural gas hookup.
If you spot any issues during your inspection, you still have time to replace the part or repair your grill before the snow starts to fly. It’s best to take care of any issues now rather than risk forgetting about them while your grill is tucked away, only to discover that you can’t fire it up again in the spring.
Getting Ready to Winterize Your Grill
An autumn cleaning is a good opportunity to prepare your grill for winter, even if you plan to grill for a few more weeks or months. Here are 4 easy things you can do in the fall to help prepare your grill for winterizing:
- Brush the cooking grates after every grilling session while they’re still warm using a wire brush or a ball of heavy-duty aluminum foil between tongs. Lightly coat the grates with vegetable oil or cooking spray to season the grates and make them easier to clean after use. Regularly seasoning the grates will create a non-stick surface that makes grilling easier, help you create perfect grill marks, and also make your grill less susceptible to rust and deterioration
- Get a good grill cover. If you store your grill outdoors in the winter, you’ll need a heavy-duty weather-resistant cover. Your usual summer cover might fare well in the warmth and rain, but it may not cut it in -40 degree weather covered in snow and ice. There’s still time to invest in a winter-proof grill cover before the first snow.
- Invest in a handle light. Some grill manufacturers sell special handle lights that affix to your grill’s handle to make it easier to grill in the dark—an important consideration for fall and winter grillers.
- Replace any damaged parts. There’s still time to replace parts before winter arrives, and it’s better to do it now than wait till spring when you may have forgotten, only to fire up the grill and find it’s not ready to be used when you want it.
Is Your Grill Ready for Fall?
Whether you plan to use your grill right through the coming winter or you opt to store it till spring, your grill deserves an autumn cleaning after serving you well all summer long. Unless you grill year-round, you don’t need to do a deep clean in the fall—a quick clean and inspection is all your grill needs for the last few weeks of grilling season.