How to Prepare and Store your Barbecue for Winter

LOFA hopes that your barbecue gave you many splendid garden parties and helped you to create scrumptious feasts for your friends and loved ones. During the warmer months, our barbecues become an integral part of our afternoons and evenings, but a winter barbecue is rarely on the top of anyone’s to-do list. If you’re not one of the braver souls who will be bracing the cold to cook winter meals on your grill, you should make sure that you properly store your barbecue for winter. Winter barbecue preparation can vary from model to model, but it is important to take the necessary steps to keep your barbecue in its very best condition through this frostier time of the year.

Without your outdoor BBQ, summer parties simply wouldn’t be the same and you’d have no fitting way to welcome in the warm weather next year. You don’t want to risk ruining the first barbecue in spring by opening up your grill to find mold and rust because it has not been cleaned or stored properly in preparation for the colder months. Winter barbecue preparation is so important to help keep you barbecue working for years to come, so LOFA are going to run through some winter barbecue preparation tips and ways to store your barbecue for winter. 

Winter Barbecue Preparation

Depending on the style of barbecue that you have, there will be slight variations in the way that you need to prepare and store your barbecue. However, we’ve given an overview of the generally recommended steps for winter barbecue preparation. Further down you’ll find common barbecue types and the specific recommendations for them. Most importantly, always refer to your owner’s manual to check the exact requirements for your particular barbecue.

Step 1: Cook off the excess
Firing up your barbecue on a high heat for around 15 to 20 minutes will make your grill much easier to clean. It will burn off excess food leftover from cooking and make remnants easier to scrape off during cleaning.

Step 2: Cleaning the inside of your barbecue
Cleaning the inside of your barbecue thoroughly will ensure it’s in perfect condition when you’re ready to cook on it once the weather gets warmer. Do this after the barbecue has cooled down to a warm, rather than hot, temperature – after the previous step. By doing this when your barbecue is still warm, you’ll find that the debris is easier to remove. A wire brush is one of the best ways to clean your barbecue grill, as you can use it to scrape away the leftover food. Next, you can let your barbecue become cool and clean it with simple soap water; once you’ve given your barbecue a good scrub with your soapy water you should rinse it thoroughly to ensure no soap residue lingers.

Step 3: Cleaning the outside of your barbecue
As with the inside of your barbecue, a batch of warm soapy water is often the best option for cleaning the outside of your barbecue. If your barbecue exterior is metal and you want to really make the outside of your barbecue gleam, you can buff it with a dry cloth to give it a shine, but keep in mind this may not last throughout the winter and may be something you’ll want to do when taking the barbecue out again in spring or summer.

Step 4: Barbecue cover
It’s so important to properly cover your barbecue when not in use for the colder months. For the cost of a good barbecue cover, you’re making sure that you don’t have to replace the whole barbecue in just a year or two! You can either purchase a generic barbecue cover that is suitable for most models, or you can check whether your barbecue manufacturer provides a specific barbecue cover for your model. No matter the type of barbecue cover that you decide to purchase, be sure to cover your barbecue against exposure to the elements as this can drastically shorten the lifespan of your barbecue.

Step 5: Store your barbecue
Finding the right place to store your barbecue will make all the difference when it comes to how well your barbecue withstands the winter. Ideally, you should store your barbecue indoors (but never store propane indoors). By keeping your barbecue indoors during the winter, you’re protecting it from the elements and ensuring it doesn’t rust or mold. If that’s not possible, however, a garden shed would also be a good option. If you must keep your barbecue outside, try to keep it sheltered from strong winds and keep it as covered as possible to keep it out of harm’s way from rain, mud, or snow. When storing your barbecue, make sure that both your barbecue and your barbecue cover are completely dry in order to avoid any rust accumulating through the winter.

Outdoor BBQ Kitchen

If your barbecue lives in an outdoor kitchen with good shelter, you will find that your winter barbecue preparation is fairly minimal. You may even find that you can use your barbecue all year round! However, if you do think it will be unused for a few months, you should take some steps to make sure it will be in good working order once you’re ready to fire up your outdoor grill again.

You should thoroughly clean your barbecue as described above, as this will make sure that any food and ash is removed and your barbecue is ready to go when it gets warmer. Depending on the shelter provided by your outdoor kitchen, you may decide that covering your barbecue is needed for extra precaution.

Charcoal Barbecue

When you prepare your charcoal barbecue for winter, your main focus will be on scrubbing the cooking grill clean and thoroughly cleaning out all of the ash. If you leave ash and charcoal in your barbecue, water can seep in and cause the ash to firm into an almost-cement, making it extremely tedious to get rid of in a few months time! By taking the time to properly prepare your charcoal barbecue for winter by completely cleaning it of all food residue and ash, you’ll be met with a gleaming fresh barbecue come summer.

Gas Barbecue

For storing a gas barbecue, the cleaning process needs to be a little more thorough, as there are more components to consider and maintain. For cleaning a gas barbecue, you should remove all cooking grids and burners, as well as any other components that you can remove with your particular model. These should be soaked in soapy water to remove all residue left over from cooking. A wire brush can also be used to scrub them with. You should never store your propane (if applicable) inside.

If you’re not quite ready to store your barbecue away for winter yet, you can make the most of the few milder evenings we’re having by throwing your very own autumn garden party with a range of tips from LOFA

kevin carvill