By: Leanne Ely
Memorial Day will be here before we know it, and it’s time to get that grill in tip-top shape for barbecue season!
There’s nothing worse than getting all the grub ready for grilling, only to discover that you’re out of propane, the barbecue won’t light, or, when it does light, it smokes or cooks food unevenly.
Follow these tips to make sure your grilling season starts off on the right foot!
Get cleaning. There shouldn’t be any cooked-on crud from last summer on the interior of your grill. That goes for both on the grill itself and under the hood. That burned on residue is yucky, and it also poses a fire risk. Use your wire brush or steel wool to get that burnt-on stuff out of there. After the gunk is gone, surfaces should be washed with hot, soapy water.
Replace grates. If your grates are cast iron or metal, they can be re-seasoned like a cast iron pan. If you’re using chromed steel grates and they’re rusting or paint is chipping off, consider replacing those.
Check your tank. Run a leak test by coating your propane tank’s valves, hoses and the regulator with soapy water. Turn the tank on and check for bubbles. Bubbles will indicate that gas is escaping. Tighten connections if you do see bubbles, and try again. If you have a leak, replace the hoses or the tank, depending on how bad the situation is. Flush out the tubes that connect the gas to the burners to make sure there are no insects or insect nests in there. And, finally, make sure you have enough gas in your tank! It’s not a bad idea to keep an extra tank on hand if you do a lot of entertaining in the summertime.
Look for hot spots. Cover your barbecue grates with slices of bread and turn the burners on high for five minutes. Then turn off the flame and flip the toast over! This will show you exactly where your grill’s hot spots are.
And there you have it! You’re now ready for a successful grilling season.
To keep your grill clean throughout the season, clean the grates after you finish cooking. I like using a ball of tin foil held between my barbecue tongs to clean the grill while it’s hot. But, if you’re entertaining and want to cheat a little bit, spritz the interior of the grill with a solution of vinegar and water. This will soften the residue, so it’s easier to brush off later.