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Grilling season formally starts with Memorial Day weekend, but that doesn't mean you should wait until Saturday afternoon to examine your fire-breathing cooking companion. We'll start at the grates & work our way down with the five things we check every spring to make sure we have a smooth grilling season.
1. Cooking Grate
Dirty Grate Close-up
Time, heat and grease take their toll on all of your grill guts, but don't drop cash on new grates just because they're a little ugly. Surfaces like stainless steel rod or uncoated cast iron grids should be replaced when they become pitted or the rust is irremovable. Coated racks are a little more fickle & less durable - check for pits or blemishes in the enamel that will mess up your cooking surface. Time to replace 'em? You can see our list of grates here or find your model on our home page .
2. Radiants
Flavorizer bars, heat tents, ceramic rods — they're in your grill to help heat radiate evenly and deter flare-ups. They're also the most abused part of your grill, constantly pummeled by scorching heat from below and sizzling fat & grease from above. Life expectancy varies, but look for any flaw that's going to let grease go down or flame sneak up. It's time to replace hardware as soon as you see rough edges, holes, or broken rods. Radiants in good condition are a critical part of heat management. See what we have for your grill here.
3. Burners
Getting consistent & even heat on your cooking surface starts here. If your radiants are in good shape but you still have hot spots, blame your burners. Ugly is OK, but splits, cracks and holes are a path to giving up on your grill and ordering pizza. Blocked holes can usually be cleaned up with a wire brush, but you probably need to replace your burners if your radiants have been letting too much stuff pass through or they've been at work for more than a handful of years. See all of our replacement burners here or track down your grill on our home page.
4. Firebox & Deflectors
Every ousted onion, errant asparagus, and hopping hot dog ends up in the inferno that is the bottom of your grill. You might have heat deflectors, a clean out tray, or a simple pile of mystery gunk, but this is where grease builds over time and fires get sparked by high heat and flaming drippings. You don't have to hose this out, but you've made it this far - at least scrape and clean up the interior of the firebox as best you can.
5. The Little Things
Things like cracked knobs and missing wheels are easy to ignore but end up annoying us all summer. Taking care of this stuff now means an irritation-free season. Add any accessories you'd like at the beginning of the season, too - grate brushes, smoker boxes & grilling pans are all great ideas. If you need a new integrated thermometer, take a minute to see exactly how yours is attached - a lot of them look the same but have different bezels and fasteners.
Bonus: We Get This One A Lot
We get asked all the time about what to use on the outside of the grill. First, we think a dormant grill should always be covered, but the outside will get funky no matter how careful you are. Weber has an enamel cleaning kit that works well, but what about stainless finishes? We cleaned the grill above on the right with soap and water, then hit the left side with Barkeeper's Friend. Perfect? Nope. Worth the extra 10 minutes? Absolutely.
We don't let a Memorial Day weekend pass without acknowledging the sacrifice that so many brave men and women have made in service to our country. We offer our humble and sincere gratitude to these heroes and the friends and family they left behind. Thank you.
We'll see you at the grill.