Give Your Gas Grill A Checkup Before Summer Begins

Around my suburban neighborhood, the smell of grilled meat is beginning to waft from backyards. Here in the Northeast, we pack our grills away for the off-season. Now that it’s May, we’re fairly certain that it’s not going to snow anymore, so most people are bringing their grills out of hibernation. How can you make sure that yours is in safe working condition for meat season?

Here are some gas grill checkup tips courtesy of our fired-up colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports.

Use soapy water to look for gas leaks. They recommend mixing up some dish soap and water in a spray bottle, then coating hoses and connectors with the mixture. Turn on the gas and look for bubbles: this method will find even hairline cracks. Replace hoses or tighten connections accordingly.

Watch the flames. If the flames are yellow or uneven, you may need to replace burners or ports. This is pretty common, and may be cheaper than getting a new grill.

Clean and check the firebox. Remove grease, corrosion, and other badness using the cleaning solution recommended in the owner’s manual for your individual grill. If the drip pans are corroded, cracked, or so full of crud that they’re beyond help, replace them. Covering them with foil does not count.

Scrub the grates. You should have done this before putting the grill away for the winter, but if you didn’t, we won’t judge. Don’t use soap on porcelain grates, but deploy a stiff wire brush and lots of elbow grease. Check for chips, which can lead to rusting. In some cases, you might be better off replacing the grill than going shopping for new grates.

Is your gas grill a goner? [Consumer Reports]