Top five barbecue care tips to avoid a firePut charcoal or gas barbecue safety first

13 May 2016

Barbecue on fire

Keep your barbecue safe and cared-for this summer

As fire brigades report barbecue fires, Which? experts share their tips on caring for your barbecue to keep you and your family safe, and your BBQ working well.

If you’re looking to buy your perfect barbecue, our tests have revealed Best Buy gas and charcoal barbecues that are sturdy, safe and easy to use. 

See if top brands including Weber barbecues, Outback barbecues and Cadac barbecues cut the mustard.

But if you are not thinking of buying a new one, don't forget the variable British weather is ideal for combining your al fresco dining with a spot of barbecue maintenance when the sun isn't shining.

1. Think BBQ fire safety

The fire service’s barbecue safety tips include:

  • Make sure your BBQ is on a flat surface, away from sheds, trees or shrubs

  • Keep children, pets and play away from the cooking area

  • Don’t leave your barbecue unattended

  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of emergencies

  • Ensure your barbecue is cool before you try to move it

2. Clean your barbecue regularly

Clean your barbecue’s grills each time you use it, and factor in a deep clean every three months. Try to clean it without damaging the paint or metal surfaces which can allow the build-up of rust. 

Rust usually starts because the metal surfaces of a BBQ get damaged and then damp.

Check your BBQ’s cleaning instructions before you start wielding your scouring pad, to ensure that the cleaning equipment you use won’t damage your grill or invalidate your warranty.

A basic BBQ cleaning kit will make barbecue care much easier

3. Assemble your BBQ cleaning kit

Your basic BBQ cleaning kit should include:

  • Rubber gloves - to protect your hands
  • Brush with stainless-steel bristles – to remove baked-on food and carbonised grease
  • Lint-free cloth to clean, dry and buff surfaces
  • Warm soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge pad - to remove stains
  • Mild glass cleaner - to clean painted surfaces
  • Stainless-steel cleaner - to clean polished metal surfaces

4. Bake off grease deposits

Leave your gas or charcoal BBQ with the heat and lid on for 15 minutes to bake grease and food deposits into a blackened layer. This is then easier to remove than liquid grease. 

When the BBQ has cooled down, remove the coals and ash from a charcoal grill or disconnect the gas bottle from a gas grill to start cleaning.

5. Clean your barbecue well

This includes cleaning the lid and grills using a stainless-steel grill brush. Remove the grills and flavouriser bars of gas BBQs, then wash these and the lid with warm soapy water and a non-scratch sponge pad.

Clean stains from painted lids with warm soapy water and polish up with a mild glass cleaner and lint-free cloth. Use a mild stainless-steel cleaner on the metal parts of the lid or metal shelves.  

Clean the cavity of your BBQ, removing big deposits of food particles or grease and then washing the inside with warm, soapy water and a sponge. Rinse and dry with a lint-free cloth.

We’ve got more advice on how to care for your barbecue, including cleaning the gas burners, and protecting your barbecue from rust and other damage.

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