Barbecues are great, aren’t they? The sun beats down on your garden, illuminating the laughing faces of friends and family as the aroma of cooking meats fills the air. All the men stand round the barbecue, while the women prepare salads and cocktails, or vice versa – depending on how it works in your house. A great day is had by all and tipsy guests go home, marvelling at your wonderful culinary skills.
And then you are left with the mess. Strewn empty beer bottles, dirty dishes, and – horror of all horrors – the dreaded barbecue to clean. Now this really is the worst job of all and suddenly the previous day doesn’t actually seem worth it anymore.
There are two options. Put the filthy barbecue in the garage and hope that you never need to use it again – or go into barbecue cleaning mode right away – ensuring that you can have many more happy summer BBQs without having to spend hundreds of pounds on a new barbecue each time.
Cleaning really isn’t that bad when you know what you are doing. So here are a few top tips to get you in the mood.
First of all – don’t start cleaning the barbecue until it has cooled down a bit. I know this seems insane – I mean, who would start cleaning a scalding hot barbecue? Well, people do and they live to regret it.
Second, get some rubber gloves and old scruffy clothes on. It’s not that you are going to be rolling around in fat and animal remnants, but you will want to protect your hands from all that soap and chemicals, and you will want to protect your clothes from greasy splashes.
The cooking grates should be tackled first, using special BBQ cleaner. Soapy water will do the trick, but a proper cleaning fluid is better if you really want to get rid of all of that burnt on grease. This can be quite difficult to get rid of and will probably want a bit of a soaking before you begin to scrub.
You can buy a brush for the BBQ that is perfect for scrubbing. Once you have soaked your grills, use this to remove any bits of food that are still hanging on in there.
Once you have finished the grate, time to move on to the main course. Charcoal barbecues are of course a little more tricky than gas BBQs, so we’ll discuss this first.
Again, make sure the coals have fully cooled and that nothing is still on fire before you begin! Throwing water on the coals to put them out is not advised as you will just be making the cleaning up job about ten times more difficult. Just be patient and wait. In all honesty, in most cases, you will be inclined to leave cleaning your barbecue until the morning, which means that you can be pretty certain that there are no smouldering coals left in there by the time you get to it. Obviously, take care not to set your house on fire if you are leaving the BBQ overnight before cleaning!
Remove all of the coal and ash, and dispose of this properly. Remember, no hot ashes in bins kids! You may need a garden trowel or large spoon to get all the ash out.
Once it is empty, simply clean with soapy water. If it is covered in grease, you may need BBQ cleaning fluid, so make sure you have some at the ready.
When your BBQ is clean and shiny again, replace the grates and store in a clean, dry place, ready for your next summer party.