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Keeping Your Grill Great

With warm temperatures finally here, it's time to haul out the barbeque and get it ready for the season. We think we can make it a bit easier for you this go round.

Here are a few common gas grill problems and their solutions:


When the burners won't light, there is often an obstruction in the fuel supply line. This normally occurs between the on-off valve on the barbecue and the burner.

The usual culprit: A bug. Even when the valve is off, insects can nest in the line. Keeping them out is tough to prevent -- even wrapping the unit in a plastic bag hasn't done the trick.

So you'll have to deal with it on the other end by cleaning them out. Here's how:

—Remove the cover that conceals the metal line between the burners and the on-off valve on the barbecue (not the on-off valve to the propane tank).

—With the fuel tank completely off, disconnect the fuel line.

—Immerse the line in cleaner and use a long, soft, narrow wire to thoroughly clean the inside of the fuel tube. We use auto parts cleaning solvent and air pressure from our compressor. Never put the line back unless you know it is completely dry.

—Replace the parts as they were removed only after spraying soapy water on the connections to insure that there are no leaks. If a leak exists, the soapy water will bubble.


If you are experiencing uneven heating, chances are your burners are rusted or corroded.

When a burner is new all of the holes are the same size. As grease and food make their way to the bottom of the barbecue the burner ports often become partially clogged. Also, rust can wreak the same kind of havoc.

All that is needed here is a wire brush, an ice pick and 20 minutes of your time. Barbecue burners are usually very easy to remove. That's because they are designed to be easily removed for cleaning.

Remove the various layers between the cooking surface and the burners, and then simply remove the burner. It may be wise to review your owner's manual on how to perform this task. Use a wire brush to completely clean the burner surfaces scrub until a shine results.

Use the ice pick to loosen fragments caught in the burner holes. Clean until all of the holes look about the same size. Use an air compressor at your local gas station if need be, and ensure that all debris has been removed from within the burner.


The really neat thing about barbeques is that they are either stainless steel, enameled or painted.

Stainless is best cleaned with stainless cleaner period.

Enameled surfaces are best cleaned with mild acid like vinegar.

However, painted barbecues tend to remain dirty looking no matter how hard you scrub. That's why we paint ours ever season or two.

Flat black engine paint (high heat paint) is just about the easiest and most forgiving paint on the planet to apply. If you haven't tried it, you are in for a treat:

—Scrub everything down with soapy water. Rinse and dry.

—Use masking or painter's tape to mask off everything you don't want painted (including the ground).

—Sand or wire wheel any and all rust.

—Spot paint the shiny spots with the flat black engine paint (or a metal primer for high heat applications) and wait until dry.

—Next, shoot a coat over the whole unit.

—Remove the tape and be amazed at the beauty you've created.


A dirty cast iron barbecue grill grate is easy to clean. Here's how:

—Get a bowl of plain water and a long grill cleaning brush (the metal kind).

—Get the barbecue as hot as you can get it.

—Submerse the cleaning brush in the water and immediately scrub a rung from end to end until all the water disappears (about 7 seconds). Repeat for each rung.

—Finally, lightly coat the grill with oil to season it.

You should not use this process on stamped metal grill (the kind that looks like the top of a broiler pan). It will warp and twist and be damaged beyond repair.


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