Luckily we all survived our quick dip into Winter this last weekend as we experienced the earliest measurable snowfall in Wichita history before rebounding back into more Fall like weather later in the week. It was a good reminder, however, that Winter is fast approaching and we should all be preparing for whatever crazy Kansas weather Mother Nature has in store for us. There are many areas of your home that need to be looked at when preparing for Winter, but one that is often forgotten is your grill and/or outdoor kitchen. Most of us keep our grills outside permanently without thinking much about how they stand up to the weather, thinking a tarp or cover is sufficient. A few minutes of TLC on your grill or outdoor kitchen now can increase the useful life of your equipment, prevent unnecessary damage, and make it easier to fire everything back up next Spring….or the inevitable warm days we will have in January and February.
For those who have a gas grill, you’ll want to make sure to fire it up on high heat for 10-15 minutes to help burn off the food residue from a summer full of burgers and brats. After cooling, you can then take a bristled brush to the grates to scrape off any remaining goop. We recommend a nylon brush over metal because they won’t scratch the grill grates or leave behind small metal flakes that could get into your food. Once the large particulates have been removed, take the grates and any other removable pieces in for a deep clean using warm, soapy water. Once they have been washed and dried, spray them with cooking spray or rub them lightly with cooking oil to help prevent rust over the Winter.
Now that the inside pieces of the grill have been cleaned, take a sponge to the rest of the hard surfaces on your grill, countertop, and other equipment. You can also now disconnect your propane tank or shut off the gas valve to the grill. Propane tanks should be left outside if your grill is stored in your garage or a shed. Make sure they are stored upright and away from any heat source.
For the rest of your outdoor kitchen, after cleaning up make sure any water lines are turned off and properly drained to prevent freeze damage. Also unplug any unused appliances and cover any areas that might be able to collect moisture. All of these items are easy to do before Winter makes a more permanent stay so get them done before the leaves fall off the trees!