Grilling season is here! So let’s dust off the grill – and the spice rack – and get ready to barbecue! Follow these easy steps for a flawless start to spring grilling.
Give the tires a kick.
It’s a good idea to give your grill a quick inspection before firing it up for the season. Start by visually inspecting for any signs of rust or corrosion and looking for any critters that might have taken up residence inside for the winter. For gas grills, we also recommend checking the propane line and connections for cracks and leaks. We use the soap test – simply brushing the line and connections with soapy water, then turning on the gas. Bubbles at the connections indicate tightening is needed, and bubbles on the line will let you know it might be time for a replacement.
Fill ‘er up!
Know what’s the worst? Starting to cook the perfect steak and running out of fuel. We hate to admit it, but we’ve finished things off on the stove a time or two, and it’s completely avoidable by starting with a mostly full tank.
If you don’t have a fuel gauge on your grill, try pouring a glass of warm water down the side of the tank. Wherever the water starts to feel cool to the touch is the approximate level of fuel in the tank.
Give it a good cleaning. For the outside, we recommend using a bucket of soapy water and a rag (one you don’t mind destroying) or non-scratch sponge. Wipe the surfaces clean with the sponge, then use the cloth to wipe them dry.
On the inside, scrape off any loose debris on the underside of the lid. Remove the grate(s) and wipe down the burners. Make sure to let things dry out thoroughly before firing it up. Give the grates a good cleaning by soaking them overnight in a mixture of two cups white vinegar and one cup baking soda (we do this in a jelly roll pan). Wipe them clean and give them a good rinse in the morning. For charcoal grills, take care to remove all ash and any partially used coals.
Remove and replace or thoroughly clean the grease pan. If you only do one thing to prep the grill for use, do this one. Removing any old drippings will prevent dangerous grease fires. While we hate to admit it, we’ve used an extinguisher on the grill after skipping this step.
Ready those rubs!
Spices are forgiving – most don’t go “bad.” But they do lose their oomph over time, resulting in some bland food. We prefer to toss out anything we had at the start of the last season, knowing it’s now well over a year old.
If you use AllSpice products (and we hope you do), just dump your jar and pick up (or order) the ½ cup refill bag. It’s about $.80 cheaper than the jar, and if you’re shopping online and having your products shipped to you, it’ll save you a chunk of change (glass is heavy, y’all).