Fire Up the Grill

Nothing is better for summer days than smoky, mildly charred meats, veggies, and fruits. Grilled food can taste even better (and your grill can last longer) with consistent cleaning. Here are some things to consider:
  • Grates: Clean grates completely after every use (key word: after; it's easier). Once the grill has cooled a little, but it still slightly warm, take your time and brush off remaining food. Don't worry about cleaning it to a shine; just get rid of bumps. Brush on oil with a paper towel when finished, to protect from rust.

  • Charcoal grills: Don't just dump out the old charcoal; brushing out the ash and other remnants will cut down on bad-tasting smoke. Clean both top and bottom grates. Clean inside and outside of lid.

  • Gas grills: Always brush off grates and sides when complete. Clean and replace caked-on rocks or briquettes to cut down on smoke. Turn on the "clean" function each time before cooking to get residual food off (but don't think this function gives a free pass to neglect other cleaning).
If you're planning to use your grill for the first time in a year, make sure to first turn off the gas connection if you have a gas grill. Take apart the grill and use fine steel wool on the grates. Clean off hard-crusted fat from the grill with grill cleaner. Never use cleaning solutions on a warm grill; wait until it is cool. Spray valves with WD-40 and re-oil to prevent knobs from breaking off. Next, for a gas stove, make sure to check on the burners to make sure they're not blocked. Clean everything with soapy water, then heat again to burn off residue.
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