When you love grilling, you have to love your grill. Don’t let your grill give out while throwing the barbecue of the century. Ensure your grill-ables are cooked to perfection this summer by following these five tips to keep your grill happy and in tip-top shape. Grab your spatula, choose your grillers, and prepare your grill for an unforgettable backyard barbecue!
1. Play it safe.
Grilling is one of life’s simple pleasures, but where there is fun, there is also the potential for safety issues. Each year an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. When setting up your grill, be sure to place it in an open, well-ventilated space at least 10 feet from your house or garage. Keep it away from overhead combustibles and dry leaves, and be sure all parts of the grill are firmly in place and stable.
2. Get a cover.
The best way to keep your grill looking new is to buy a good quality grill cover — especially if you plan on keeping it outdoors. Protecting your grill from the elements prevents it from rusting and becoming dirtier than it needs to be. The cover comes off right before you turn on the grill and it goes back on as soon as it cools. Many brands make their own grill covers, which of course have to be bought separately, but they’re well worth it.
3. Keep it clean.
Grilling gurus say that your grill only needs to be deep cleaned 1-2 times per year, but that it’s important to regularly clear away grease and ash. A buildup of fat and grease on your grill provides more fuel for a fire. If you have a gas grill, remove the bottom tray after each use, place it carefully over a trashcan, and use a plastic scraper to remove excess grease. For charcoal grills, remember to empty the ash pans, since ashes can absorb moisture and may cause rusting. As for the exterior of your grill, simply scrub with a rag and some cleaner to keep it looking nice and shiny!
4. Oil the grate.
After cleaning your grill, many experts suggest oiling the grate to keep food from sticking when cooking. If your grill grate is well-seasoned, that may not be necessary for fattier meats, but will likely be helpful when grilling lean meats, fish, and produce. To oil your grate, dip a wadded paper towel in some oil and, using tongs, wipe the oil evenly over the grate. As a safety precaution, make sure you do this before lighting your grill, and be careful not to use too much oil, as that’s a sure fire way to start a flare-up—a little goes a long way!
5. Line the kettle.
Using a charcoal grill? Before you add the coals, consider laying sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil at the base of the grill for easy cleanup! Once you’re done grilling and the coals have cooled, simply wrap up the coals and ash and toss. Then wash the kettle and line it with foil for the next time you grill.
Fortunately, the task of maintaining your grill is so minor compared to all the greatness that comes from the fruits of this labor. So, dedicate some time to keeping your grill happy, then throw some Uncle Charley’s Grillers over the flames, sit back, relax, and reap the rewards for years to come!