We all know summer doesn’t really start until you fire up the grill. But nothing dampens the summer party mood more than a grill that won’t light or smokes too much. Luckily, with a little planning (and some help from our Taskers), you can get ahead of grill trouble while your BBQ marinates. Here’s a checklist to start your summer grilling firing on all cylinders. Dust it off, light it up, and delight your guests with one of our tried-and-true recipes below.
- Check for signs of rust, wear, and debris.
- Make sure all knobs and screws are tightened.
- Gas grills: Inspect the hoses, burners, and gas tubes. To test for leaks, brush soapy water along the fuel line. If you turn on the gas and see bubbles, it’s time to replace or tighten the line.
- Remove and scrub the grates with a wire brush and hot water. For a deeper clean, soak them overnight in a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to baking soda.
- Gas grills: Clear debris from the burner tubes and make sure the propane tank is full.
- Charcoal grills: Remove leftover coal and ash from charcoal grills and wipe down the inside with a rag.
- Empty and line the grease trap with aluminum foil for easy clean-up next year.
- Wipe down the outside of the grill with soap and water.
- Heat the grill for 10-15 minutes to reach the desired temperature. To test, hold your hand above the heat. The grill is at high heat if you pull away in two seconds, medium if you pull away in five, and low if you pull away in ten.
- To keep food from sticking, grease the grate with tongs and an oil-soaked paper towel. After cooking, scrape off debris while the grill is still hot. (You’ll thank yourself next cookout!)
- Create heat zones (either by layering charcoal or setting gas burners to different levels) for searing, cooking, and warming food.
Getting hungry? Try some of our Taskers’ favorite grilling recipes below, and follow us on Pinterest for more of our favorite summer dishes.