The burger-flipping days of 2019 are now long behind us, and chances are you’ve either stuffed your barbecue in your shed or left it out to embrace the winter frost and rain.
But if you don’t take a few simple steps to get your barbecue properly set for winter storage, summer 2019 could well have been the last for your grill. We’ve put together five quick tips for storing your barbecue over winter.
Rather fix yourself up with a brand new burner? Head straight to our barbecue reviews.
1) Give it a good clean
If you haven’t touched your barbecue since your last sunny get-together, chances are it’s blackened, shiny with grease and probably has a few charred food bits stuck to the grill.
You’ll be wanting to get that off. As much of a chore as it may seem, leaving it dirty will be very inviting for mould and hungry creatures.
Old food and grease can be a hive for moisture as well, which will increase the chances of rust setting in.
Giving it an initial scrub using a scourer and some hot soapy water should make the tough, stuck-on bits easier to dislodge.
A decent oven/grill cleaning spray will do fine for the proper cleaning. If you’d like to use something a bit kinder to the environment, you can also combine vinegar with warm water in a spray bottle, or sprinkle some baking soda on before scrubbing it off.
You’ll need to use something tough to dislodge all the burned-on bits. A wire brush or a scourer are the best tools for this kind of work.
Looking for a detailed tool list and steps for cleaning each area of your grill? Our handy how to care for your barbecue guide will tell you everything you need to know.
2) Keep it dry
After you’ve put it through a good clean, it can be tempting to pull your gloves off and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
But all your hard work will have gone to waste if come springtime your barbecue is too rusty to use.
Drying your barbecue after cleaning is a very important step you can’t skip, as leaving moisture on the metal parts is certain to cause rust.
A simple dry cloth should do the trick. If you’re keen to keep the outside of the barbecue shiny as well, you can use a dry cloth to buffer the hood and outer frame.
Wherever you plan to store your barbecue, it may also be worth investing in a barbecue cover.
A good cover will help keep the barbecue dry and also reduce the chance of any six or eight-legged creatures making a home out of it.
Some manufacturers sell certain covers for specific barbecues, but there are lots to choose from and they usually range from around £15 to £60.
Make sure you get a barbecue worth protecting by checking out our Best Buy barbecues.
3) Prevent rust
Rust is tricky to avoid and is the most common cause of a barbecue becoming an ex-barbecue.
One handy trick for fending it off is to apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to your grills.
You can do this to other parts of the barbecue too, but for this it’s best to use a vegetable-oil spray to avoid applying too much.
Check what material your grills are made of before applying the oil, as some require more TLC than others. The manual of your barbecue should tell you what it’s made of.
If it’s a cast-iron grill, for example, you’ll likely need to apply a highly saturated fat like lard rather than a vegetable oil. This is because grills of this type rust much more easily than others and so need thicker protection.
4) Choose the right spot
Making sure your barbecue is dry before you put it away will be useless if the place you’re storing it isn’t dry as well.
A shed is a solid go-to as long as it’s dry on the inside and it doesn’t share space with any damp gardening accessories.
The best place is indoors if you’ve got the space for it. Nothing beats the cold and the damp like the warmth and dryness of your home. A garage would be ideal so that you can store it inside without needing to feature it as a living-room display piece.
If you do have to keep it outside to brave the elements, your best bet is to choose a barbecue cover that fits well and won’t blow off in the wind.
Some barbecue covers come with ropes or hooks for attaching it securely to the barbecue. These are the best choices if you plan to keep your barbecue outdoors.
To make sure you won’t have too much trouble moving your barbecue to your shed or garage, check out our reviews of barbecues that scored highly for manoeuvrability.
5) Store gas separately
A barbecue gas canister of any kind should never be stored in your house.
Make sure the gas tap is switched off on the canister before you try to detach it from your gas barbecue.
Gas canisters should be stored upright, out of reach of children and out of direct sunlight. This is a risk even during winter, so keep your gas canister stored in your shed to be safe.
Keep the canister away from any items or devices that have the ability to heat up, and out of enclosed spaces. A garage is not a suitable place to store gas.
Keen on buying a gas barbecue? Take a look at our top five best gas barbecues guide.