It may be fun to watch the squirrels scurrying about to hide nuts for the winter, but you also have some fall maintenance tasks to complete. Sorry. There’s just no rest when winter’s coming!
I’m kidding, of course. When you prepare your outdoor grill or smoker for winter, you won’t have to scurry about! And when you’re done, you can rest knowing that your grill will be in fine shape for that first spring barbecue.
Reasons to Store Your Grill During Colder Weather
Whenever a task involves a bit of elbow grease, it’s always nice to have some extra motivation. So, let’s take a look at what might happen if you don’t prep your grill for winter storage. You may not want to hear it, but leaving your grill unprotected outside during the cold-weather months means you may end up with one or both of these unfortunate problems:
- Inhabitants: Once things are calm and cool inside your grill, critters like chipmunks may take shelter from wintry conditions in the very place you expect to put your hot dogs next spring! Hey, it happens.
- Rust: Maybe you can shoo away critters that take up in your grill, but rust can cause permanent damage. Following some simple steps will help you avoid grill-related headaches in the spring.
Prepare Your Charcoal Grill for Storage
- Clean the grime and remove any remaining food particles.
- Allow your charcoal grill to dry.
- Apply cooking oil to grates.
- Cover, and store in a dry location.
Prepare Your Gas Grill for Storage
- Clean the gunk and food scraps. To remove any moisture remaining after cleaning, turn your gas grill on for a few minutes. Now is the time to sing your “farewell for now song.”
- When everything has cooled down, apply cooking oil to protect burners and other metal parts. Consult with your owner’s manual for maintenance instructions for your model.
- Using tape and a plastic bag, close off the grill’s gas line opening. This simple step will keep those nosey spiders and bugs away. (If you’re storing your grill outside, keep the propane tank connected, but turned off.)
- Cover your gas grill, and store it in a dry location.
- Store your propane tank outside in an upright position away from heat sources. No matter what, never store a propane tank inside an enclosed area like your garage, shed or storage unit. Propane tanks can leak, and cause a very explosive situation. Read more about gas grill safety.
Look Forward to Spring
Don’t worry. Grilling season will arrive again before you know it! In the spring, take your nice and clean (and chipmunk-free) grill out of storage. To burn off that protective coating of oil, simply allow your grill to heat completely before you throw on those burgers. Oh, and send me an invite!
Where do you store your gas or charcoal grill for winter? Have you ever had a creature take up residence in a grill left outside for the winter?