Preparing your Grill for Season in 4 Easy Steps

March 5, 2024 by Kenmore

preparing your grill for season

So, how’s your winter been so far? If you’re like us, you’re about ready to send it (and its nasty weather) packing. More importantly, we’re super-ready to get back to the enjoyment of outdoor living and outdoor cooking!

Don’t get us wrong; we still love to make stews, braises, soups, and slow-cooked classics that fill the house with warmth and hearty aromas in the colder months. But there’s just something about a hot flame searing and sizzling our favorite meats, poultry, seafood and veggies that sends our spirits soaring!

Before long, the grilling season will be in full swing. Is your grill ready to take on the task and perform at its peak? Take a few moments to read through our grill-prep checklist for timely tips and handy insights to get your outdoor cooking season started on the right foot.

Step 1: Do a Quick Inspection

Take off the grill cover and take a close look to make sure everything is in proper working order. Examine hoses for any cracks or damage and replace them if needed. Check the gas connections for leaks using a soap and water solution. Bubbles will appear if there’s a leak. If you detect a leak, address it before using the grill.

Step 2: Give It a Thorough Cleaning

preparing your grill for season

To start your grilling season off right, you’ll want to start with a grill that’s clean and residue-free, top to bottom.

  • First things first: ensure the gas supply is turned off. If you use a charcoal grill, extinguish and remove any coals.
  • Remove the cooking grates and use a grill brush to scrape away leftover residue and charred bits. If you have stubborn residue that won’t come off, soak the grates in warm, soapy water for a few hours before scrubbing again.
  • Remove the burner protectors and scrub the burners using a brush. Clear any clogs with a toothpick or a small wire.
  • If your gas grill has a grease tray, empty it to prevent flare-ups and clean the tray with warm, soapy water.
  • Wipe down the exterior of the grill with a damp cloth or sponge. Use a mild soapy solution for stubborn stains.
  • Check and replace drip pans if needed. Drip pans can collect grease and may become a fire hazard if not properly maintained.

Step 3: Take a Test Run

When you are finished with the cleanup project, heat the grill on high for 10 to 15 minutes to burn off any remaining residue and to ensure that it’s 100% ready for cooking. If you have cast iron grates, you may want to lightly oil them to prevent rust and enhance their non-stick properties.

preparing your grill for season

Step 4: Season the Grill Grates (Cast Iron)

Wait, isn’t seasoning supposed to be for the food? Yes, but this is another kind of “seasoning”!

Seasoning cast iron grill grates is commonly done to prevent rusting, improve non-stick properties, and enhance the cooking performance of the grill. Cast iron grates can develop a natural non-stick surface over time with proper seasoning.

Here are the basic steps to season cast iron grill grates properly:

  • Clean the grates well (see Step #2) and make sure to dry them thoroughly.
  • Coat the entire surface of the grates with a thin layer of cooking oil. You can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or other oils that have a high smoke point such as flaxseed, grapeseed or peanut oil. Make sure to apply the oil evenly on all surfaces, including the top and bottom of the grates. Note: olive oil is not recommended, due to its low smoke-point.
  • Preheat the grill to a high temperature, around 400-450°F. The heat helps the oil to bond with the iron and form a protective layer.
  • Once the grill reaches the desired temperature, let it smoke for about 15-30 minutes. This allows the oil to polymerize and create a seasoned coating on the grates.
  • Lastly, turn off the grill and let it cool down. The seasoned grates should now have a “seasoned” layer that helps prevent rust and provides a non-stick surface for cooking.

It’s important to note that not all grates require seasoning. Stainless steel and porcelain-coated grates, for example, generally don’t need seasoning. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific care and maintenance recommendations for your particular grill grates, as different materials may have different requirements.

Setting Up & Prepping a Brand New Grill

Preparing your grill for Season

First of all, congratulations on your new grill! It can be a little tempting to charge right out and start grilling on it ASAP, but it’s a good idea to follow the following steps before you fire it up and start cooking. Take your time and do it right: future-you will thank you!

Read your Care & Use Guide (aka the owner’s manual). It provides a wealth of information on your grill’s assembly, operation, maintenance, and safety guidelines.

If the grill requires assembly, take the time to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and put it together properly.

Check the grill for any visible signs of damage during shipping or assembly. If you notice any issues, contact the manufacturer or retailer for assistance.

If you have a gas grill, connect the propane tank or natural gas supply according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Check for gas leaks using a soap and water solution. Then perform an initial burn-off by heating the grill on high for about 20-30 minutes to burn off any manufacturing residues, oils, etc.

If your grill has cast iron grates, consider seasoning them to prevent rust and enhance non-stick properties. (See Step 4 above.)

Clean the grates with a grill brush to remove any potential debris or residues left from the manufacturing process.

Test the burner controls to ensure they work properly. Adjust the controls as needed to achieve the desired heat levels.

Spend some time getting to know how the various controls and features on your grill work. This includes ignition systems, temperature gauges, and any additional features your grill may have.

Routine Grill Cleaning & Maintenance

grill maintenance

After the initial spring-cleaning, it’s a smart practice to clean the bottom of your grill after each use, especially if you grill frequently. Removing ashes, food debris, and grease promptly can help prevent the buildup of residues that might become more challenging to clean later.

Aside from the routine cleaning after each use, plan for a more thorough cleaning of the bottom of your grill periodically. The frequency of deep cleaning can depend on factors such as the type of fuel (charcoal, gas, or electric), the frequency of use, and the types of food you tend to cook.

If you use your grill for high-fat foods or experience frequent flare-ups, check for grease buildup on the bottom tray or pan more often. Accumulated grease can lead to fire hazards and affect the performance of your grill. And if you’ve ever had to extinguish a grease fire before, you know they are no joke!

For more useful tips on the routine care and maintenance of Kenmore grills, be sure to check out our helpful how-to materials available at

Ready for an Upgrade?

4 burner gas grills

Of course, if your grill isn’t working like it should or is worn out beyond clean-up, the easiest thing to do is upgrade! Check out our newest grills, with features for every grillmaster and functions for every grill gathering.


Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about pre-season grill preparation.

What should I do to prepare my gas grill for the season?

Before the start of the outdoor cooking season, you should give your grill a quick inspection to make sure it’s in proper working order and there are no gas leaks. You should then give it a thorough cleaning, inside and out, and give it a test run to make sure it’s ready to cook. If your grill has cast-iron cooking grates, you should take a few moments to season them to enhance cooking performance and improve their nonstick properties.

Is it necessary to season the grates if they are not made of cast iron?

Grills that use stainless steel or porcelain-coated nonstick cooking grates already have nonstick properties, so it’s not completely necessary to season them before use. But, just like cast-iron grates, they should be scrubbed clean with a stiff grill brush before each cooking session.

How do you break in a brand new grill?

After the new grill is assembled, and the gas supply is connected and tested for leaks, you should perform an initial burn-off to eliminate any manufacturing oils and residue. Then, after allowing the grill to cool down, you should oil the cooking grates well before their initial use.


The Kenmore brand represents 100 years of trusted performance, backed by exclusive features and innovations that no other brand can bring to the table. We’re always evolving to ensure day-to-day tasks are taken care of with faster cooking, better cleaning and more living throughout the home.