Whether you love the convenience of a gas grill that lights at the touch of a button, or if the ritual of placing the charcoal so that your fire burns at just the right heat is more your speed, before you have that first big, back-yard BBQ, there are maintenance items to take care of that apply to any type of grill. (Memorial Day Weekend and the “unofficial start of summer” is less than 2 weeks away!) Take time to follow our simple tips, and your grill will be ready to take on the season.
- First things first! Do a complete inspection of the grill. If your grill hasn’t been used for months, it’s important to give it a good once-over to look for any problems. Look for any signs of rust, especially if your grill has been outdoors all winter. If your grill has been covered or stored in a garage, then check for bugs and pests that may have found their way in during the winter. On gas grills it’s also important to check the fuel line. After giving it a visual check for any cracks, try the soapy water test. Brush soapy water on the line and along the connections. If you see bubbles while the gas is running, tighten your connections or replace the line.
- Give your grill a thorough cleaning. For a gas grill, it’s important to remove debris from the flame tamers (located directly over the burners). Then remove the flame tamers and check the burners for clogs. As mentioned above, insects frequently take up residence in burner tubes during the off-season. If tubes are removable, use a garden hose to spray water through the tube or use a long, flexible brush to clean the interior. Make sure tubes are dry before reattaching. Next, check that the grease pan is clean to prevent dangerous grease fires. Give this a look before the season starts and after every few cookouts to make sure it doesn’t overflow. For a charcoal grill, be sure to empty all ashes and unburned charcoal from the bowl and ash catcher. Your new charcoal will burn much easier. For easy deep cleaning, soak grates overnight in a mixture of two cups of vinegar and one cup of baking soda. Any leftover debris should rinse off with water and a little elbow grease. For the final cleaning step, wipe down the exterior of the grill using an appropriate cleaning product for the type of grill you own.
- Replace your old grill tools. If your grill has been sitting, unused for several months, chances are your grilling tools have been doing the same thing. Don’t start the season with dirty, worn-out implements. Treat yourself or the grill master of your house to some new, must-have tools. Of course, it depends on the type of food you're cooking, but in general it's a good idea to have at least one of each of the following: metal tongs, metal spatula, instant-read thermometer, meat thermometer, grill brush, and a pair of heat-resistant cooking gloves.
- Grill safely! Apart from the obvious rules of keeping children away from any burn hazards, it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher handy should any unforeseen fire problems arise.
Outdoor grilling is definitely one of my favorite ways to cook, so all of our sauces and spreads work well for everything from marinades to melty toppings for a perfectly grilled steak. If you are looking for an easy way to take your grilling game to the next level, type the keyword “grilling” into the search tool on our website and take advantage of the many pages of recipes and grilling tips we have there. Happy grilling from all of us at Bellisari’s!