By: Angie’s List
The grilling season is in full swing and whether you’re crazy about charcoal or gaga over gas, make sure your grill is in good working order before heading out to the patio with the brats, burgers and buns. Angie surveyed dozens of highly-rated grill experts to help make sure your barbecue bash doesn’t flame out.
1. Annual check up. While emergency calls can be made, it’s best to have a yearly service call to ensure your grill is in good shape.
2. Repair or replace? Lifespans vary greatly, but typically you get what you pay for. Regardless of price, replacement parts are available for most grills. It’s time to replace your grill when its casting (the lid and bowl) is rusted.
3. Clean and spider free. Before you fire it up for the season, give your grill a good scrub to get rid of food, grease and – spider webs. Spiders are attracted to the smell of propane and they can take up residence in the venturi tubes and valve openings, blocking air and gas flow and leading to uneven cooking and possible safety hazards.
4. Use the right tools. Invest in sturdy, flame retardant accessories, like spatulas, tongs and brushes (avoid using a stainless steel brush on a porcelain-enamel finish).
5. Test drive. Give your grill a test run a week or two before the day of the big barbecue to make sure everything is in good working order. That way, if it does need a new part or repair, you’ll have it working in time for the big cookout.
6. Fuel check. Check that you have enough gas or coals for your grill before you fire it up. You can add a gauge to your propane tank to help detect levels. For charcoal users, generally use about 30 coals per pound of meat, with the charcoal extending about one inch beyond the area where the food is.
7. Low salt diet. Avoid seasoning while grilling. Salt acts as a corrosive and can help contribute to rust.
8.Keep it clean. Once you’ve pulled the food from the grill, allow any excess food to burn off and then clean the grill with a brass bristle brush. Clean the grill while it’s still warm. It’s far easier to clean than waiting until food and grease settles and hardens. Clean the drip pan regularly.
9. Protect your grill. Use a water-resistant cover when not in use and store it out of the elements during the winter.
10. Don’t treat your grill like a second-class culinary citizen. It’s an appliance just like your stove or refrigerator and with proper maintenance and care, it can give you decades of great use.
11. Check all gas supply lines with a mixture of one part water and one part soap detergent. With heat control knobs in the “off” position, turn on the gas supply. Apply the mixture to the connections. If bubbles appear, the connections aren’t properly sealed. Tighten connections, or replace hoses
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