Grilling season is here! Are you ready? With the warmer weather arriving, it’s time to dust off your beloved grill and make sure it’s ready for those outdoor, summer get-togethers. Whether you prefer the convenience of gas or the smoky flavor of charcoal, prepping your grill helps ensure a successful and delicious experience for you and your guests. From safety inspections and deep cleaning to upgrading your grilling tools, we’ll walk you through the ways to prepare your grill for summer.
Conduct a Safety Inspection
Before firing up for the first time this season, conduct a thorough safety inspection. Check for any signs of rust, particularly if your unit has been exposed to the elements. There are a few different methods for handling rust including soaking in vinegar and baking soda or applying a paste of lemon juice and detergent.
If you have a gas grill, look for cracks or damage in the fuel line by doing a soapy-water test. Apply a solution of soapy water to the connections, including the hose and regulator. Turn on the gas supply temporarily and look for bubbles, which indicate a gas leak. If you spot one, tighten the connections or replace the faulty parts.
Perform a Deep Clean
Deep cleaning your grill may seem like a daunting task, but it’s worth it in the long run because it promotes safety and ensures better-tasting food. For a charcoal grill, empty all ashes and unburnt charcoal from the bowl and ash catcher. Then scrub both rigorously with soapy water and a steel brush. You may need to repeat the washing and rinsing process a few times before you are satisfied with the results.
It’s a little more complicated for a gas grill—the first thing you’ll want to do is turn the fuel off. You can then remove debris from the burners using a wire brush. Clean out any clogs in the burners and remove any insects that may have taken up residence in the burner tubes. If the tubes are removable, use a garden hose to spray water through the opening or use a long, flexible brush to clean the interior. Make sure the tubes are dry before reattaching.
Next, make sure the grease pan is clean to prevent potentially dangerous grease fires. Check it after every few grilling sessions to ensure it doesn’t overflow.
Scrub the Grates
After the deep clean, turn your attention to the grate surfaces, which should be cleaned frequently. Doing so leads to better-tasting food and prevents food from sticking. For gas grills, turn all burners on high for 15 minutes to burn off any buildup. Afterward, use a grill brush or a hardwood grill scraper to remove any remaining residue. A word of caution: if you use a wire brush, make sure none of the small, pointed bristles detach and become lodged in the cooking surface. Otherwise, they might end up in your food after your next grilling session.
It’s a good habit to give your grill a thorough scrape-down with a sturdy brush both before and after each use, but it’s sometimes necessary to go a little bit further to keep your grates in optimal condition. To accomplish this, remove your grill grates (if you can) and place them on a surface for cleaning. Soak them in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda for a deeper clean. If your model doesn’t have removable grates, it likely has a removable and cleanable tray underneath to catch debris.
When you use your grill, regularly apply a light coat of oil or cooking spray to the grates to prevent rust and keep food from sticking. This also helps simplify the regular cleaning and scraping process.
Focus on the Exterior
After cleaning the inside of your grill, move on to the exterior. This not only improves grill aesthetics but also helps protect it from the elements. Different grill surfaces require specific cleaning methods. Use soapy water for most grills, but opt for a window cleaner for porcelain-coated steel lids and a stainless steel cleaner for stainless steel lids. We also offer a selection of grill cleaners that are perfectly suited to the task.
If you haven’t already, invest in a quality grill cover to can minimize the need for frequent cleaning and maintenance while simultaneously prolonging the lifespan of your investment. A cover helps prevent the buildup of grease, soot and other residues on exterior surfaces. It helps safeguard against various weather conditions and debris, such as rain, snow, dust, pollen and leaves, while also deterring pests that might try and nest inside.
Get Some New Grill Tools
The beginning of the summer season presents a good opportunity to upgrade your grill tools. Replace old utensils that may have been exposed to the elements during winter and consider adding new accessories—like a smoker box—to enhance the overall experience. Having the right equipment can make grilling easier and more enjoyable!
When it’s finally time to cook, it’s important to have a good meat thermometer at your disposal. There are plenty of options to choose from, including instant-read digital thermometers and Wi-Fi-enabled probe thermometers you leave in the meat. These probes have an external readout that displays the meat’s temperature as it cooks, so there’s no need to continue opening the lid or cutting into the meat to check your progress. Some of them can even be monitored through your smartphone for extra convenience.
Get Ready for Grill Season with Koopman
When you combine these tips with our extensive line of grill products and outdoor-living expertise, you’re sure to be ready to host your friends and family during the summer season. Are you all stocked up on the necessary supplies? Whether you need charcoal and wood or a new propane tank, we’ve got your back.
Don’t worry if your grill’s best years are behind it—we can also help you find the perfect upgrade, with brands including Weber, Traeger, Big Green Egg and more. Our team of experts can help you get exactly what you need; contact us or visit one of our many Koopman Lumber locations to get started. Happy grilling!