At our home, we don’t use the outdoor gas grill much in the winter, preferring to use the oven and help warm the house. Besides, by dinner preparation time in winter it’s often dark outside. But now – it’s warmed up, sun goes down late, and no way do I want to heat the house. Time to use the grill!

Photo courtesy of


Here in the Southwest, the gas grill sits out all year, but it’s a sensitive piece of equipment and needs periodic maintenance. If you haven’t used it for a few months – do these five things first. (Even if you used it last weekend – when is the last time you did a tune-up?)


Grease, food bits, and charred remnants limit the effectiveness of your grill and can lead to flare-ups – dangerous! Give your grill a good scrub. Using soap, warm water and a steel wool pad, scrub down each of your cooking grids. Do the same for your sear plates, ensuring they are in good working order. If not, buy replacement parts.

Scrapers made of cedar wood help keep the grill grid clean. Photo courtesy of

Gently clean each burner ensuring they are in good shape and the burner ports are not plugged. Pull out the tray(s) that collect fallen bits and scrub clean. Empty and clean or replace the grease tins or trays.

Check for Leaks

Once cleaning is done, inspect all hoses and feed tubes. Look for any crimps, scratching and or punctures. (Pack rats are out there!) If you detect any of these – time to replace the hoses.

Flare-ups due to food debris in your grills are a safety issue, and they can ruin your meal. Grill Safe!

A leak test should be performed when you change any components on your grill. Brush a combination of soap and water on each hose and especially at the connections — if no bubbles form, you are good to go. If there are bubbles, it is indicative of a gas leak that needs repair.


Check Ignition

Clean – yes. Safe – yes. Now check how the grill lights. For battery ignitions it’s a good idea to simply replace the batteries with new ones. Check electrode leads and ensure the tips of the electrodes are clean and have no grease or rust build up. If they do, use a very fine grit sandpaper to clean them.

Get the long tongs. Burning your knuckles is no fun!

Get Your Tools Together

Make sure you are equipped with a good grill cleaning brush — cedar scrapers are all the rage right now, but there is something to be said for a good abrasive pad. You will also want to make sure you have a good set of tongs, a quality spatula and it is a great idea to invest in a temperature probe.

Salt blocks are great for cooking foods that need gentle heat, like scallops and asparagus. Photo courtesy of

Upgrade Your Grilling Game

The start of the season is when new gadgets come out. Consider a Himalayan Salt platter to bring a new dimension to your outdoor cooking, or a rotisserie basket that enables you to cooked mixed veggies or pub fare like wings and fries without tons of oil.

Thanks to Napoleon Products for the tips! More at  And yes, they do have stores in the Southwest, including the Tucson area.

Wishing you all a safe and savory grilling season! ~ SavortheSW Team

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