Summertime is all about getting some sun and spending quality time with your family, and there’s no better way than a good old backyard grill out.
Whether you prefer a charcoal grill or gas grill, It has probably been some time since you last fired up the barbecue, so I’ve put together this guide to help you get your backyard grill prepped and ready.
Gas Grills and Charcoal Grills
There are two types of backyard grills, one that uses gas and one that uses charcoal. Gas grills typically take 5 to 10 minutes for heat up and cool down times, compared to a charcoal grill where you would need to light the charcoal and wait for them to be ready which can often take 30 minutes.
Gas grills typically produce less smoke and have easier temperature control but are usually pricier than a charcoal grill. For cleaning up, there is usually a grease trap and bars that will need attention.
Charcoal grills can produce a low burning fire that is great for slow cooking foods and will add a classic smokey flavor.
Prepping the charcoal takes longer and temperature control is more difficult and requires constant attention. They are often lower in price and for cleaning, you regularly need to dispose of ash and clean the bars.
Do a Full Inspection of Your Grill
If it’s been a few months since you last barbecued, it’s recommended you do a full inspection of your backyard grill to look for any issues. If your backyard grill has been outside all winter, inspect for things like rust as metal exposed to the elements is more likely to corrode even for a high-quality grill.
It’s also important to inspect for any bugs or animals who might have built their nests there over the winter. If you have a gas grill, it’s extremely important to check the fuel line for any visible damage or cracks. You should also check the tank condition and make sure that the gas vessel is in good working condition before connecting it to the grill.
Look for any signs of rust, tarnish, and dents as these can all lead to hazardous conditions. Doing a full inspection will help determine whether you need any replacement parts and will ensure a smooth barbecue season.
How to Clean Your Grill
Grill prep is important to ensure everything is ready to go. This includes cleaning your backyard grill inside and out. You can always review the owner’s manual for your specific barbecue to see if there are any particular cleaning needs. See below for the steps on how to clean an outdoor grill.
Steps for Deep Cleaning the Inside of Your Grill
Before starting, If you notice significant rusting or chipping on your grates, it is recommended that you replace them.
- The best way to clean a grill is with a non-scratch sponge or nylon brush. You will want to first dry scrub your grates, burners, and the inside surfaces. Turn all of your burners to a high for 15 minutes to help get off any dirt and debris. Then let it cool down before you start brushing.
- For a deeper clean, you can then wash the surfaces with dish soap and water. It’s extremely important to be sure that the barbecue is completely off and cooled before you touch it. If your grates are made from cast iron or metal, re-season them with some oil before you start cooking.
- Be sure to thoroughly rinse any cleaners or degreasers off the grates before you start cooking. As you don’t want any of that transferred to your good.
Steps for Deep Cleaning the Outside of Your Grill
- Use hot soapy water and a sponge and wipe the outside the your grill. As an extra tip, Wipe in the direction of the finish to prevent streaking if your grill is made of stainless steel.
- If your grill still has stubborn buildup, use three parts baking soda and one part water to make a paste to clean the greasy areas. Once 15 minutes have passed you can wipe off the paste with a damp cloth. Be sure to double-check that the material of your grill is compatible with baking soda to prevent any damage.
- You can use stainless steel polish to finish off the outside. It will give it a nice shine and prevent rust.
How to Season Your Grill
Even with a quality grill, seasoning it is important to maintain your grates to prevent them from rusting.
- Coat your grates with high-heat cooking oil, such as canola oil or spray can vegetable oil.
- Wipe any excess oil off the grate with a paper towel and then turn the grill on high for 15 minutes or until you start to see the oil burn or smoke.
- Your grates should turn a dark color and are ready for you to start grilling.
Updating Your Grill Tools
You’ve shown your backyard grill lots of love, but now it’s time to ensure you have the proper tools to go along with it.
If your cooking utensils are old, consider replacing them or getting some new ones such as a smoker box or cedar planks. Grill grate covers are also a great investment and will help protect your grates when you’re not using the grill.
Are You Ready for Grill Out Season?
You’re officially ready for grilling season! What will you be making first on your grill?