Grilling season sets the stage for a summer full of cookouts and memories. To avoid any safety issues, you need to know how to clean a grill and properly prep it for use. Whether you have a contemporary gas grill or traditional charcoal model, the following tips will help you prepare for a safe and satisfying grilling season.
1. Check for gas leaks
While gas grills offer a number of benefits, it takes some extra attention to keep them safe. To ensure that your grill is working properly without any leaks, brush the gas lines with soapy water and inspect them closely in search of tiny bubbles. If you spot any, replace the lines or tighten your connection before firing up the grill.
2. Prepare your own cleaning solution
To avoid unpleasant flavors and potential toxins, it’s important to thoroughly clean your grill grate. Instead of purchasing a chemical cleaning agent, you can prepare your own powerful cleaning concoction by mixing one-part distilled white vinegar and one-part water in a spray bottle. Soak the grill’s grate and interior with the solution and close the lid. Let it soak for an hour to loosen any residue and break up any sticky gunk. You can then wipe down the grill with paper towels.
3. Loosening stubborn residue
If you just can’t seem to remove especially sticky gunk, you can try heating up your grill and then rubbing the grate with a sliced onion. Be sure to use a fork to avoid burns and place the onion cut-side down. This can loosen up especially stubborn residue and make the grill easier to clean. You can also use a wire brush to scrape away sticky gunk.
4. Clean your burners and tubes
With your propane turned off, de-clog any residue build-up in your gas tubes or ports using a paper clip, pipe cleaner, or toothpick.
5. Measure your fuel
The last thing you want is to have your grill flame go out in the middle of a get-together. Before inviting friends and family for a backyard barbecue, be sure to check your propane levels so you won’t end up with half-cooked hamburgers and steaks.
6. Watch your flame color closely
If your gas grill is putting out an all-yellow flame, you’re probably not getting enough pressure from the gas tank. Ideally, your flame should appear blue. If you don’t get the flame color you want, turn off the tank and control valve, then disconnect the tank and open and close the valves before reconnecting everything and turning the tank back on. If this doesn’t work, you may need to replace your burner ports, which can become distorted over time.
7. Prepare for next time
A light coating of cooking spray or oil can prevent rust and stop food from sticking to your grill’s interior. This can reduce your prep time for the next grilling season and prolong the life of your grill. Just be sure the grill is completely cool before spraying on any flammable cooking oil.
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