To the untrained eye, this circa 2005 Weber Genesis Platinum C gas grill looks like a piece of junk, ready for the scrap heap. But Scott P. from Porter, TX knew better. He picked it up on Craigslist for $50, gave it some spit and polish, and it’s ready for many more years of grilling.
Scott gave the grill a thorough cleaning inside and out, then removed the storage enclosure and did some repair to the floor pan using a rust converter, bonding primer, and graphite spray paint.
A little more polishing of the stainless steel and gray painted surfaces and this gasser was ready for action!
“The burners all work well. It got up to 500°F in about 6 minutes and 600°F a bit later,” says Scott. “I could have spent more time sanding and grinding to smooth out the rust and old paint, but I was looking to do this quick.”
It’s not uncommon to encounter a rusted-out screw hole when restoring an old Weber gas grill. How do you repair a rusted-out screw hole? In some cases, it’s easy enough to clean-out whatever remains of the hole and replace the original screw with a bolt and nut. But in some cases, you’ll want (or need) to repair the screw hole so the original screw can be used again.
Did you know that your Weber gas grill contains spider screens? Did you know that you need to occasionally inspect and clean them? If you didn’t know these two facts, read on.
When the performance of your Weber gas grill seems to be lacking—for example, it’s not achieving the high temps it used to—the first thing you should check is the condition of the burner tubes. If the tubes are covered with cooking debris and scale and the flame pattern is more yellow than blue, the burner tubes need to be cleaned.
In a post last year, I said I was a clean freak when it comes to my grill. But sometimes I get busy and/or lazy and I let my Weber Summit 450 go too long between cleanings. I know it’s starting to get bad when I have a hard time lighting the grill because the ignitors are clogged with debris. I know it’s getting even worse when the burners are burning unevenly and with yellow flames because some of the burner holes are clogged. That’s when I know it’s time to break down and do a deep cleaning of my grill.
Here’s how I do it.
Grill Cleaning Tools & Supplies Needed
To deep clean your grill you’ll need the following tools and supplies:
Leather grilling gloves
Narrow and wide putty knives
Stainless steel bristle brush
Eyeglass screwdriver or paper clip
Disposable latex/nitrile gloves
Windex, Simple Green or similar cleaner
Stainless steel cleaner
Compressed air duster
0000 super-fine steel wool
During some of the steps shown below, you may want to wear disposable gloves to keep your hands clean.
Brush The Grates
Turn all burners to HIGH and burn-off the grates for 10-15 minutes. Use a grill brush to clean the top side of the grates. Let the grates cool enough so you can handle them safely with grilling gloves then flip them over and brush the back side. Remove the grates and set them aside.
Scrape The Flavorizer Bars
When the grill has cooled sufficiently, use a wide putty knife to scrape both sides of each Flavorizer bar into the open grill. Examine the condition of each bar. It’s common for Flavorizer bars to rust due to food drippings and high heat. They do not need to be replaced until they start to rust through and break apart. Set the Flavorizer bars aside after scraping.
Use a wide putty knife to scrape debris from the back and sides of the upper firebox, allowing it to fall down into the grill. Use a stainless steel wire brush to remove any debris from the ledges and nooks & crannies around the perimeter of the upper firebox.
Clean-Out The Ignitor Boxes
Use a compressed air duster to remove debris from the ignitor boxes. Examine the condition of each box; if rusted through, consider replacing the ignitor assembly so that the grill lights easily.
Clean The Burners & Crossover Tubes
Use a stainless steel wire brush to remove debris from the burner tubes and the Crossover tubes. Force the brush bristles into the holes to clear them. Pay special attention to the holes leading from the ignitor box to the top of the burner and the holes leading from the top of the burner to the Crossover tube. It’s difficult to light the grill and the secondary burners when these holes are clogged.
It’s common for some holes in the top of the burner to remain clogged after brushing. Use an eyeglass straight blade screwdriver or opened paper clip to punch down into these holes to clear debris.
When the burners are clean, they should burn with mostly blue flames as shown in the photo above. If you are unable to clear clogged burner tube holes or if the burners or Crossover tubes are showing signs of extreme rust damage, it may be time to replace them.
Scrape The Lower Firebox
Use a narrow putty knife to scrape the sides and bottom of the lower firebox below the burner tubes. Push the debris into the tray in the bottom of the grill. Use a compressed air duster to remove debris from any hard-to-reach spots.
Brush Inside The Lid
Use a grill brush or wad of aluminum foil to remove any flaking material inside the grill lid. These flakes are carbonized grease that builds up during grill and eventually flakes off. It is not rust, paint or the porcelain enamel finish coming off.
Reinstall The Flavorizer Bars & Cooking Grates
With everything inside the firebox cleaned, it’s time to reinstall the Flavorizer bars and cooking grates. You may wish to reinstall the Flavorizer bars in a different order so they wear out more evenly, swapping center bars for edge bars or whatever makes sense to you based on how you use your grill.
Clean The Bottom Tray & Drip Pan
The shape and size of the bottom tray varies by grill model. Some are narrow and porcelain enamel coated like the one shown here. Some are made of stainless steel. On older grills like Genesis 1000, the bottom tray serves as the entire bottom of the grill box. The point is that your bottom tray may look quite different from the one shown here.
Remove the bottom tray from the grill. Use a putty knife to scrape the tray contents into a garbage bag, then use paper towels to remove any leftover grease. Remove and discard the foil drip pan liner and use paper towels to remove any liquid grease that made its way past the liner. Remove any bracket that holds the drip pan and wipe with paper towels to remove major debris and grease.
Wash the bottom tray, drip pan and bracket in hot, soapy water. Dry the parts thoroughly. Reassemble the pan and bracket with the tray, install a new foil drip pan liner, and reinstall the tray under the grill.
If your grill has wooden work surfaces, basic cleaning can be accomplished by brushing with warm, soapy water then rinsing and drying thoroughly. Extensive staining requires sanding and refinishing the surface.
The burner control knobs and panel on your grill may vary from the one shown here, but the cleaning process is the same. Remove the knobs by pulling them away from the control panel. Clean the knobs and the panel using Windex or Simple Green, then replace the knobs.
A Clean Machine, Ready For Grilling
To finish the job, wipe the frame, cabinet and LP tank with a damp cloth to remove any grime. Now step back and behold your clean machine…then fire it up and grill something delicious!
Ordering Replacement Parts
As you go through the deep cleaning process, examine the condition of each part. If you need replacement parts, many can be ordered from Amazon.com which helps support this blog. However, some specialized parts may have to be ordered direct from Weber.com at 800-446-1071 or from online sources like eReplacementParts.com or GrillStuff.com.
Does your cast iron skillet smell funky? If so, try this tip from America’s Test Kitchen. Place it in a 400°F grill or oven for about 10 minutes. This burns off the oxidized fatty acids left behind from cooking that cause the odor.
Let the pan cool until still warm but safe to handle. Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the pan, removing any excess with paper towels. Your skillet is ready to go!
This method works for all cast iron skillets, pots, Dutch ovens, griddles and bakeware.
There are two, maybe three reasons why it’s best to burn-off the grates in your gas grill before grilling, not after:
1) You preheat the grill and burn-off the grates in a single step, saving time and fuel.
2) There’s zero chance of forgetfulness. If you burn-off after cooking, you go into the house and enjoy your meal, only to realize 30 minutes later that your grill is glowing cherry-red-hot out on the patio. In fact, on one occasion, I left the house to run errands with my Weber Summit 450 burning-off in the backyard. I’ll never make that mistake again.
One of the reasons that Weber gas grills work so well is because of a feature called Flavorizer bars. These are the inverted v-shaped pieces of steel that sit below the cooking grates and above the burner tubes.
Flavorizer bars serve four purposes:
Prevent Flare-ups: Flavorizer bars quickly vaporize some of the grease that drips off the meat and sheds any excess into a drip pan below the bars. Lava rocks or other media allow grease to pool and flare-up.
Even Heat Distribution: Flavorizer bars create even heating throughout the firebox.
Protect The Burner Tubes: Flavorizer bars prevent debris from clogging the burner tube ports.
Flavor & Aroma: The vaporized grease from Flavorizer bars adds to the aroma and flavor of grilled meats.
Types of Flavorizer Bars
Weber grills use two types of Flavorizer bars. Least expensive are porcelain enameled steel. Most expensive are 18-gauge stainless steel. Stainless steel Flavorizer bars are more expensive and will last longer, but both types will last a very long time.
Despite what you might assume, stainless steel Flavorizer bars are not rust-free. The marinades, salts, acids and high temperatures they are exposed to will cause rust to develop over time.
To clean the Flavorizer bars, start by burning off the grill at HIGH temperature for 15 minutes. This will turn most accumulated debris into ash. If you have cast iron grill grates, remove them before burning off the grill, otherwise you will burn the seasoning off the grates.
After 15 minutes, turn the grill off and let cool. Remove the bars and brush off any debris with a grill brush. A wide putty knife can also be used to scrape tough residue off the bars. Take this opportunity to clean the burner tubes, the inside of the firebox, and the drip pan.
Replace all the parts and your grill is ready to go. You may consider changing the order of the Flavorizer bars if you notice some wearing faster than others.
Flavorizer bars can be washed in hot, soapy water and scrubbed with SOS steel wool pads, but the burn-off method is easier. Weber says that citrus-based dish soaps should not be used.
Weber does not recommend using the dishwasher, oven cleaners, or a self-cleaning oven to clean Flavorizer bars.
When To Replace
Flavorizer bars do not need to be replaced until they rust through or burn through.
Know Your Model
To get the right set of replacement Flavorizer bars, make sure to know your grill’s model name and number. The dimensions of the bars and the number of bars (5, 7, 8, 11 or 13) will vary depending on the model.
Weber warrants porcelain enameled Flavorizer bars for 2 years and stainless steel Flavorizer bars for 5 years against rust through or burn through. Both tend to last several years longer than their warranties, depending on how often you grill.
Where To Buy
You can purchase original replacement Flavorizer bars at Amazon.com or other online retailers. They can also be purchased by calling Weber Customer Service at 800-446-1071.
There are also aftermarket sellers of replacement Flavorizer bars using heavier 16-gauge stainless steel available at Amazon.com.
A common complaint from new Weber grill owners goes something like this:
It looks like the paint is peeling inside the lid of my new grill. WTF? I expected more from Weber!
OK, just chillax, Grasshopper. Weber does not paint its grills. They use a baked-on porcelain enamel finish that cannot peel. What you’re seeing is grease and smoke that builds-up during normal use, turns into harmless carbon, and eventually peels off in flakes or sheets.
Before grilling, use a grill brush or a balled-up piece of aluminum foil to remove any loose flakes. If you really want to be fastidious about it, each time you finish cooking, while the lid is still warm, wipe the inside surface with paper towels or a soap and water solution to prevent the build-up.
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