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Barbeque Makeover for Less:
How to Turn Your Aging Grill or BBQ Smoker
Into a Shiny New Machine

By Vanessa Kirkland

Has your grill seen better days? Is your BBQ smoker old, worn, broken, or just not working as well as it used to? Before you go shopping for a brand-new cooker, try giving your old one a makeover.

You can save significant amounts of money by cleaning your existing equipment and shopping for replacement parts, rather than buying a whole new cooker. That's because grill parts and simple cleaning supplies cost a fraction of what you'd spend on a whole new barbeque. And a grill makeover is an especially smart idea if your cooker was inexpensive to begin with, such as a small portable grill.

Clean It Up

The first step in our total barbeque makeover is a good scrub. It doesn't take a lot of time or money to clean your grill properly, so be sure to set aside a few hours this weekend to take care of it. Regularly cleaning your grill will not only make it look great, but will ensure a long life of top performance.

Here's a quick guide to cleaning your outdoor cookers:

  • If you have a gas grill or BBQ smoker, be sure to first disconnect and remove the gas tank. Then, take out all the removable parts such as the main grills, rotisseries, upper racks, and drip pans.
  • Prepare a solution of warm, soapy water, and soak those removable parts for an hour or more. This step will help loosen and dissolve stubborn grease deposits, making it much easier to scrub them clean.
  • If your grill has lava rocks that are a year old or more, it's time to replace them. That's because lava rocks lose effectiveness over after a while.
  • Now take an old spatula or paint scraper and scrape off burned-on grease from the inside of the grill chamber. Then vacuum up or brush out the scrapings.
  • The next step is to care for the outside of your grill. After you replace the parts you removed earlier, close the lid and wipe down the exterior. If your machine is a stainless steel grill or BBQ smoker, you can buy cleaner that's designed for stainless steel.
  • Finally, use a glass cleaner on any glass windows or chrome parts, and you're ready for your next barbeque.

A Barbeque Grill Is More Than the Sum of Its Parts!

You can restore your barbeque to a nearly brand-new condition by replacing its worn parts. You'll need to know the grill's manufacturer so you can shop for accessories that are custom made to fit your machine.

For example, if you own a portable grill by Coleman, you can choose from a variety of accessories, such as cooking grids, warming racks, knobs, lid windows, handles, and igniters. Or, let's say you have a full-size Broilmaster model. You can get replacement burner assemblies, briquette holders, burner shields, control valves - even a kit that converts natural gas to propane, and vice versa. What a bargain!

Other popular accessories include specialized starter systems for lighting charcoal faster, rotisserie attachments, and rolling carts for extra storage.

One important note for safety: If you own a gas-powered grill, be sure to inspect the cylinder of your gas tank for bulges, dents, gouges, corrosion, leaks, or evidence of extreme rusting. Also, examine the hoses on your grill for brittleness, leaks, holes, cracks, or sharp bends. If you find any of these problems, it's time to replace the equipment.

Don't Forget the Protection

You've just spent some time, effort, and elbow grease to get your grill back in tip-top shape. Protect your investment with the all-important grill cover. Of all the barbeque parts to shop for, grill covers are among the most important - and the most overlooked. Put them at the top of your list, and you'll be glad you did.

Good-quality grill covers are durable, weather resistant, and come in a variety of sizes to fit your barbeque perfectly, whether you've got a kettle-style charcoal grill or a bullet-shaped BBQ smoker. Often made of polyester, nylon, or canvas, these protective coverings are designed to encase grill shelves, trays, tanks - all the exposed parts.

Look for grill covers with a soft cotton inside lining to protect your grill. Also, look for coverings that have drawstrings at the bottom to ensure a tight fit and the ultimate protection against the elements.

About the Author: Vanessa Kirkland is successful freelance writer and outdoor cooking enthusiast whose articles offer valuable tips
and advice for online purchasers of grills, BBQ smokers, and other barbeque accessories.

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