We simply can’t imagine an Australian summer without the sounds and delicious smells of a sizzling hotplate.  Not only does barbecuing create mouth-watering flavours, it makes cooking so easy.

It doesn’t totally eliminate cleaning up though, as you really should look after your barbecue just as you would with your other cooking appliances. Removing grease and protecting it from the outdoor elements will increase the life of your barbecue and improve the taste.  Here’s how you can give your barbecue a little TLC:

Before you get cookin’

If you have just purchased a high quality barbecue, your hotplates are most likely to be coated with vitreous enamel and will just require a gentle wash with soapy water.

Those with uncoated hotplates are recommended to season the surfaces to prevent any rust.  Simply, wash your hotplates in soapy water and dry well before applying a light coating of cooking oil.  Turn on the barbecue for about three minutes to heat the plates.

When you’re ready to cook, lightly apply cooking oil on the hotplate to prevent food sticking. After you’ve cleaned your barbecue, add another light coat of oil to protect the surfaces from corrosion.

Giving your barbecue a clean

If there is grease building up on your barbecue’s hotplates and interior, it’s time to get scrubbing with a soft steel brush.  In future, you should save yourself the trouble and hard work by cleaning it immediately after you’ve finished cooking. That way the grease and food are still warm and easy to tackle.

Maintaining the cleanliness of your barbecue throughout the year is relatively simple.  Just soak your hotplates in some warm soapy water and dry well.  Try avoid using toxic cleaners and harsh chemicals which can end up contaminating your food.  If you have some stubborn build-up, use an oven cleaner but use it sparingly.

Storing your barbecue from the elements

If you don’t want your rusty barbecue to end up on the nature strip as hard rubbish, you need to ensure its stored well.  If you’re barbecue is integrated into an outdoor kitchen, look after your investment and keep it under cover.  Those with a freestanding barbecue should purchase a weatherproof cover designed specifically for your model.

Keep your gas turned off and disconnected if you own a gas barbecue.  If you’re dusting down your barbecue after a few years of neglect, make sure you check your gas bottle’s date of manufacture.  It’s recommended they be replaced within 10 years.

Now it’s time to get outdoors and get cooking!