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High Steaks: How to Prepare for Grilling Season

Timm Ready, CMA,  Sr. Mortgage Advisor

May 23, 2022 — 7 min read

Summer is in the air, and that means the smell of barbeque should be too, right? If you're like most homeowners, at the first sign of warmer weather, you're ready to fire up the barbeque to prepare for grilling season. Whether you've got a backyard, a patio, or a small space in the driveway, we're here to share our top barbeque tips and show you how to season your grill for the months ahead.

Prepare for Grilling Season with a Clean Grate

You wouldn't cook in a dirty kitchen, so why would you grill on a dirty barbeque? Since last summer, months of dirt and grime have accumulated in and around your grill; before firing it up, you'll need to clean it inside and out. Once this has been completed, we'll show you how to season your grill. Gather cleaning supplies. The first step to prepare for grilling season requires elbow grease and cleaning supplies, including:
  • Hot water and dish soap
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Old towels
  • Shop vacuum
  • Long-handled steel wire brush
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Putty Knife
Try to avoid chemicals, since they could impact food taste. If your grill has a stainless-steel exterior, use a stainless-steel cleaner to add extra shine. Pro Tip: Bristled by wire brushes? There are alternatives, including nylon brushes, onions, and a barbeque-cleaning robot. Burn it. If you have a gas grill, fire it up, shut the hood, and let it rise to full temperature. Wait for a half-hour, then dip your wire brush into a bucket of warm, soapy water. Scrub off the burnt stuff, turn off the gas, and disconnect the propane tank. For charcoal grills, dump old briquettes somewhere safe, then scrape off debris with a putty knife. Soak it. Once the grill is cool, remove its grates and flavorizer bars and submerge them in warm, soapy water. Let them sit for about a half-hour before removing and scrubbing. Pro Tip: For stubborn stains, mix up a paste of white vinegar and baking soda, then apply it directly to the worst caked-on food bits. While the components soak, wipe down the inside of your grill using hot water and soap; place an empty bucket directly below the grease tray opening to catch soapy water and debris. Once it dries, vacuum up any remaining loose debris.

How to Season Your Grill for Grilling Season

Over time, grill grates can erode and become sticky, making it difficult to pull off food in one piece. The start of the grilling season is the perfect time to season your grates, particularly if it's a new barbeque. Grill seasoning is an important step to prepare for grilling season, as it removes contaminants, prevents rust, and makes the grill easier to clean. To season your grates, oil them, then turn up the heat so that the oil penetrates into the pores of the metal. Canola oil and peanut oil work best, but you can also use coconut oil. Smiling woman learning how to season a grill on a summer evening.

Prepare and Test Your BBQ

Now it's time to make sure your grill is working properly. Once everything has been cleaned, put back the grates and flavorizer bars. For gas grills, check that the connections and hoses are secure and undamaged. Then, light it up and watch the flame to make sure it's blue with a yellow tip. If it's mostly yellow, it means there may not be enough pressure from the regulator, and you should check it for leaks. Finally, check all of your burners to make sure they're functioning.

Gather Your Grilling Supplies

Before you can slap on a steak, take some time to gather and disinfect your tools, including brushes, tongs, spatulas, thermometers, and other cookware. If your tools have been sitting around all winter, it's a good idea to wash them with warm water and soap. If you notice they're missing bristles or they're broken, it's time to replace them. For a gas grill, it's a good time to refill or replace your propane tank and check the battery in your lighter. For a charcoal grill, make sure you have charcoal and lighter fluid available.

Tis' the Season ... for Seasonings?

Whether you're working with sirloin steak or eggplant, no one can prepare for grilling season without a healthy supply of seasonings, rubs, and marinades. There's a lot to choose from, but some staples include:
  • Salt and pepper
  • Onion power
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Dried herbs
  • Hot sauce

How and When to Use Your Grill Cover

To cover, or not to cover? Using a grill cover seems like a straightforward concept, but in fact, it's a heated debate. While it's generally a good idea to have a cover for your grill, most machines are built to withstand the elements to a certain degree; however, the better care you take of your grill, the longer it will make tasty meals for you. Humid climates. If you cover your grill when it's humid outside, it can trap humidity against the grill, which leads to corrosion. In these climates, it's best to give it air, just remember to wipe it down periodically. Coastal climates. Over time, salty air and erratic weather are hard on a grill. If that's the case where you live, it's best to use a cover, especially if you're expecting heavy rain, snow, or other inclement weather. It's also a good idea to perform a weekly wipe down to remove salty residue. Dry climates. If you live in a region that is consistently dry, it's fine to leave your grill uncovered; however, using a cover is still a good way to keep dust and debris from accumulating on your barbeque. No matter where you live, it's a good idea to keep your grill in a covered area and out of the direct wind. It's also a good idea to learn how to season your grill and do it at the start of every season. Remember never to operate your grill in a completely enclosed space or indoors. Happy friends raising toast while grilling food for a dinner party.

How to Prepare Your Grill for Storage

If grilling during the cold months is not for you, here are a few things to keep in mind. Critters. If your grill is going to remain outside over the winter, it's important to clear out the inside. Wildlife will want to use your grill as a winter home, and leftover bits of grilled meals make for a nice supply of food. For gas grills, brush the grates and burners clean, then scrape all of the interior surfaces with a putty knife; push the loose debris into the disposable drip pan for disposal. If you're using a charcoal grill, brush the cooking and charcoal grates clean, then scrape the interior surface with a putty knife. Push the loose debris into the ash catcher for disposal. Mold. Since mold grows and feeds on organic matter, and leftover food and grease are exactly that, the inside of a dirty grill is a perfect place for it to grow. If you spot mold, scrape it off of any surfaces it has grown on, then let your grill burn on high for at least 15 minutes. Storage. You may not need to bring your grill indoors for winter, but it definitely doesn't hurt. However, if you have a gas grill, leave the tank outside. If you leave your grill outside, use a cover to keep its exterior surfaces clean. Grilling is about having fun, but a little maintenance goes a long way to making sure it stays that way. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, use these tips to prepare for the grilling season ahead, and to keep your barbeque happy all season long. Now that you're set to enjoy good food outside your home all summer long, what's your next backyard upgrade? Contact your local Mortgage Advisor today to get started.
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