Spring is almost here and it is time to bring out the Barbeque - now is the time to give your gas BBQ the once over.
Checking for gas leaks
Check the hoses for any sign of perishing (you should expect to replace hoses every five years or so). Check that your tank is in test. By law, gas tanks have to be professionally checked every ten years – there should be a date stamped on the tank from its last test.
Get an old paint brush, bucket, some water and dishwashing detergent. Brush soapy water onto the hoses and around the hose ends and regulator connections and watch closely for bubbles. Bubbles are a sure sign of a gas leak.
Gas BBQ maintenance
When replacing your tank, have a roll of plumbers tape on hand and use it to make sure your hose connection is a perfect fit.
Remember that gas bottles should always be stored upright and outside the home. The safest way to transport gas bottles is in the boot of the car, tied down so that they cannot roll around.
Keep the burners clear of insects and cobwebs using a soft bottle-brush. To clean food residue, burners should be removed and washed in water and detergent, then dried thoroughly to prevent rusting. You can spray them with fish oil for added protection from rust, though it’s a little smelly.
Getting the last bit of gas
Ever been in the middle of cooking dinner and the gas runs out? You might be able to finish sizzling your sausages by sticking the tank in a tub of water so that the water comes not more than halfway up the sides. This will warm the tank and squeeze a little more gas out. Hopefully just enough to finish cooking dinner!
Caring for BBQ cooking surfaces
Cast iron cooking surfaces are best left covered in cooking residue after use, as the grease and oil seal and protect the metal from rust. When you next use the barbecue, clean the surface by preheating and allowing it to cool, then scraping or brushing away the old residue.
For coated cast iron surfaces, follow the cleaning instructions advised by the manufacturer. Apply a light coat of cooking oil before you begin cooking. If you can’t stand leaving the cooking surfaces in a mess between sessions and prefer to clean them right away, make sure you coat them generously with cooking oil after cleaning.
To clean the barbeque’s stainless steel and enamel parts, wipe over with a mix of water and mild dishwashing detergent, rinse well and dry. Purists might even want to polish stainless steel surfaces with a little baby oil to restore their shine.
When your barbeque is not in use, protect it with a cover.