Many people keep grilling all year around and I am one of them. But not everybody is crazy enough to walk out to the grill in the snow or with freezing temperatures.
For those who believe that grilling season ends on Labor day, I have some tips to winterize your grill to make sure you don’t have any unpleasant surprises next year.
General Grill Winterizing Tips
Cleaning charcoal grills and making them ready to store for the winter season does not have to be hard to do.
Fire Up The Grill As Hot As You Can Get It.
I know that this sounds crazy but in my many years, I have found that this is an important step and will make the rest of the cleaning process easier.
The reasoning behind the high temperature is that it will burn off most of the grates and even the inside of the grill.
Close the lid and let it sit at the highest temperature for at least 20 minutes.
Clean the grill grates
There are tons of articles written on the best tool to clean your grill grates and I am sure most of them will work great. However, I just use a good sturdy grill brush and make sure to do the bottom part.
The type of brush depends however on the type of grill grate material on your grill.
Clean The Inside
This is a little trickier and cleaning the inside of a charcoal grill is easier than a gas grill.
More on cleaning a gas grill later.
If you like to go all the way I suggest using the same pressure cleaner and removing all the gunk from the inside of the grill.
If you like to do it a little easier just scrape off as much as you can.
Now it is time for a bucket with hot water and soap. Wash out the inside by using some rags.
Let The Grill Dry
Don’t forget this step. If you do forget your grill might rust out over the winter season.
Air drying works fine for this.
Spray The Inside With Oil
I have found out the hard way that this is an important step. What you achieve is that there is a thin coating on the inside that prevents rusting.
Clean The Outside
Clean the outside with some water and soap and let it air dry.
Check the outside for damage that needs repair or replacement.
For a whole explanation, you can read my tips on how to season a grill the right way.
Last Step For Winterizing Your Grill
Cover your grill with a good fitting and quality grill cover and store it in a place where it will not be in your way in the winter season.
Winterizing A Gass Grill
Although most of the steps above must also be used for gas grills there are a few more steps you have to take to winterize your gas grill.
Disconnect your gas tank and do not store it in an enclosed area without ventilation.
Gas grills have burners, ignitors, flame deflectors, and hoses just to name a few.
My tip is to clean all of them very well and wrap your burners in some type of thick plastic to keep bugs and small rodents like mice out of them.
Take the batteries out of your ignitor if it is battery-operated. They will probably run dry over the winter and might even leak. Better safe than sorry.
The hoses on a gas grill can dry out and are better to be stored in a plastic bag to prevent this.
Sometimes a video can explain things the best. I found one cleaning a Weber gas grill that has not been cleaned for 2 seasons.
Storing Inside Or Outside?
I do not know about your situation of course. However, I suggest storing your grill in a shed or garage during the winter season if you can.
If you have to store it outside use a thick tarp over your grill cover.
Grill covers tend to dry out in freezing temperatures and become brittle. Using a tarp will give it some extra protection.
Eddie van Aken
Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he can find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews and the outdoor cooking tips he is writing about. You can read more on the About page for Eddie van Aken