Steps to Prepare Your Grill for Grilling Season
As I write this blog, it’s our first beautiful Saturday (weather wise) here in Michigan. It is sunny and the temperature is in the 70s. Which means for many people, it is time to start thinking about grilling outside again (I know there are some of us that grill outside all winter, but we are in the minority).
As you look to get that grill out of storage and cook the first hamburgers and hot dogs of the season, I want to remind you of some simple steps that will help make sure your grill is ready for use. And even if you have been grilling all winter, spring is a great time to do a little extra cleaning to keep your grill in tip top shape.
The first step is to do a basic disassembly of your grill so that it is easier to clean. If you have a charcoal grill, remove the grill grates and the lower charcoal grate. That will make it easier to clean the interior of the grill. Take a sturdy brush and knock off all the ash, creosote, and baked on food that might be lingering from last summer. When all of this has collected in the bottom of the grill, you can easily remove it with a small scoop or a shop vac. This would be a great time to wash down the interior as well. Just make sure it is rinsed thoroughly and dried completely before putting your grates back in.
If you have a gas grill, remove the grates as well as deflector bars. Take the opportunity to visually inspect your burners, looking for any rust damage or blocked holes. If your burners appear to be beyond the scope of cleaning and minor repair, this would be the time to replace them. Then, as above, brush down the interior and remove the loosened debris.
Next, clean the grates, deflector bars, and any other hardware you removed. Brush them down with a stiff brush to remove any loose debris, then evaluate whether they need to be cleaned further. Sometimes a pressure washer is a great tool to use here, but it’s hard to beat a good old scrubbing. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly and dry completely before reassembly.
Now that the grill is clean, it’s time to inspect your grilling tools. Give your spatulas and tongs a thorough cleaning. Look closely at any brushes or other cleaning tools to see if they need to have parts replaced (or be replaced completely). Many cleaning brushes or other cleaning tools have replaceable heads, so you may not need to replace the entire tool.
One thing to consider here. Much has been written in recent years about the danger of metal bristles coming off of cleaning brushes and finding their way into your food. You might want to consider a safer option. Many newer cleaning brushes (such as this one) use stiff nylon bristles instead of metal.
Now check your fuel supply... Look to see if you have, or need, fresh charcoal, wood chunks, or wood pellets (depending on your grill). If you have a gas grill, check to make sure your LP tanks are in good shape and refill if necessary. This would also be a good time to check your gas lines for possible leaks. Coat them with warm, soapy water then turn the gas on to the grill. If bubbles develop, you have a leak and the lines need to be replaced.
All that’s left now is to choose your meal and fire up the grill. Don’t forget that vegetables are great for the grill as well. Happy GRILLING!!!
by Robby Richardson