Easy Fixes for Barbeque Grills

A barbecue is the cornerstone of summer cooking. Keep your barbecue is top grilling order with the following tips and tricks on barbecue maintenance.

Easy Fixes for Barbeque Grills

My barbecue grill is crusty

Scrub it with foil

If your barbecue is encrusted with the remains of food you cooked last season, you don't need specialist cleaners or tools to ready it for use again.

Charcoal barbecues:

  • Take a ball of aluminum foil and scrub the grill vigorously. It will remove most of the baked-on mess.
  • If you need more cleaning power, mix a thick paste of baking soda and water and use a wire brush to rub it all over the grill. Leave it for 15 minutes, then use a clean cloth to wipe away the paste. Let the hot coals burn off any residue for 15 minutes or so before you start cooking.
  • When you have finished cooking, cover the grill with aluminum foil and leave it to cool — the heat left in the coals will burn off most of the food scraps left behind. Before you fire up the heat next time, scrunch up the foil and use it to scrub off any burnt remains.

Gas barbecues:

  • Gas grills usually have a "Clean" setting that carbonizes any food left behind. You should run the grill on this setting for the time recommended by the manufacturer, then allow the grates to cool.
  • Take out the grates and scrub them with a wire brush, then wash them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. Remove any charred remains on the metal plates or briquettes beneath the grates with a brush, or vacuum them away. Finally, empty the drip tray beneath the burners and wash it out with household detergent.

I can’t light my gas barbecue

Check the regulator and clean the burners

If your barbecue refuses to light, or only burns weakly, it is probably due to a simple problem you can easily fix yourself.

  • Check that there's gas in the tank. Propane is heavy, so if your cooking tank feels very light, you have probably just run out of fuel. Make sure the tank valve is in the "On" position before lighting.
  • If your electric igniter isn't clicking, change the battery. This is usually done by unscrewing the igniter button, and replacing its AA-size battery.
  • Try resetting the regulator. Turn off the gas at the tank, then completely disconnect the gas pipe from the tank. Open the grill lid and turn on all the burners to their maximum setting for a minute or two; switch off the burners, reconnect the gas supply and try lighting the burners, turning them up slowly. This is often enough to reset the regulator.
  • Check the burners for obstructions. Remove the cooking grates from the barbecue, then carefully pull out the U-shaped burners. They may be held in place by metal stays, but should come out easily. With a thin, wooden stick or pipe cleaner, clear anything that has built up inside the gas tubes. Do this on both the supply tubes coming from behind each knob, and on the large tubes at the end burners that you removed.

Word to know


The regulator is a disk-shaped part that you'll see on the gas pipe, just above the gas tank. Its job is to reduce the high-pressure gas in the tank to a lower pressure suitable for burning at the gas jets. It is prone to getting stuck, which cuts the flow of gas.


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