BY ART DRAGOO
Outdoor grilling is a weekend ritual in Indiana, whether it’s at a tailgate party, a getaway to the lake or just having family over to the backyard. But as the leaves begin to change and the air gets crisper, only the most committed grillers keep cooking through the winter. For the rest of us, the arrival of frigid temperatures signals the time to put away the grill until warmer weather returns. Here are some helpful tips to ensure your grill is stored safely and is ready to go next spring:
Clean it: With the consistently nice weather this year, your grill probably got a lot of use. So now is the perfect time to give it a thorough cleaning. Start by removing all the components and take a stiff bristle grill brush to loosen debris. Then, dive in with a sturdy washrag and a bucket of hot soapy water (or grill degreaser), cleaning everything inside and outside the grill. Be sure to empty that grease tray, too! Your grill should be completely dry before you put it away.
Inspect it: As you’re cleaning your grill, check all the parts for possible wear or damage. You’ll want to replace any hoses that look aged or have visible cracks. Repair parts are readily available for most major grill brands.
Season it: Once the cooking grates are brushed, washed and dried, a light layer of cooking oil adds extra protection against rust in the winter months. You might also consider bringing the grates inside to store them in a dry space.
Cover it: A rugged all-season cover will protect your investment from the elements and limit the ability of critters to take up residence while it’s sitting idle.
Store it: If you’re moving your grill indoors for the winter, remove and store the propane cylinder in a well-ventilated garage or outdoor shed. It’s never safe to store tanks indoors as the smallest leak could mean big problems.
Use it: If you’re an all-seasons griller, it might be tempting to find a little shelter from the snow. But you should never fire yours up in a garage, shed, balcony or other enclosed space. Your grill should also be at least 2½ feet away from any combustible surface and clear from any overhangs.
Visit your local Do it Best store or doitbest.com for the best in grills, covers, grilling tools and other essentials for your outdoor entertaining.
Prolong the life of your grill
If your grill rusts apart and it seems it’s ready for the ash heap after just a couple of seasons, showing it a little TLC and protecting it with a quality cover after every use can extend its life
Art Dragoo is the owner of Dye Home Improvement in Monticello and is a member-owner of Do it Best Corp., a Fort Wayne-based cooperative of thousands of hardware stores, home centers and lumberyards throughout the United States and around the world.