It’s safe to say now that grilling season is truly here, barring any surprise flurries, like we had last week. It’s time to talk seriously about grilling. If you’re like me, you keep your grill near the back door, as close as it can be, in the winter. Even when the snow flies or sits 2 feet deep on my patio, I’m still slipping out there quickly to throw something on the grill. I just love how quick and easy it is to grill something for dinner.
In the “off season”, I can’t say that my grill is in its best condition. Now that the weather has changed, I’m off to the patio today to prep the grill. When getting your grill ready for prime time, there are a few things to think about: fuel, cleanliness, stick-free surface, and the proper tools.
1. Fuel: Whether you use propane or charcoal, be sure to stock up for the season before you start grilling. I make my trek to the hardware store and fill my two propane tanks up for the season. That way, even if I run out of gas in the middle of dinner preparations, I can simply switch the tanks out, without have to stop and run to the store.
2. Cleanliness: A grill cover is essential, if you, like me, do not have a garage or a shed to keep your grill in. In fact, even if you do have a shelter for your grill, a cover is a great idea, just to protect it from scratches and dust.
To clean your grill, be sure to invest in a hearty grill brush. You can purchase one at any kitchen supply store. I bought mine at Home Goods, at a nicely discounted price. Be sure to clean the grates on your grill with your grill brush before and after you use it.
When it’s time to wash the grates, I use Dawn soap, it’s spectacular for cutting grease. Simply soak the grates and scrub with a brush or sponge. Dry thoroughly and return to the grill.
3. Stick-free surface: Sticking is a common, very frustrating problem for the home chef. You can buy cooking spray, specially formulated for the grill, but I prefer to use an old rag, some cooking twine and some canola oil.
Take an old kitchen towel and roll it into a cylinder. Wrap both ends with a piece of cooking twine to keep the cylinder intact. Soak the cylinder in some canola oil to completely saturate it. Shake off any excess. Use this to wipe the grates of your grill after they’ve heated and you’re ready to put your ingredients on the grates. Keep this nearby and use as needed.
4. The proper tools: Tongs, an offset spatula, and an instant-read thermometer are your essential tools for grilling success. Be sure to have several pairs of tongs and offset spatulas in order to protect your family and guests from cross-contamination that is caused by using the same utensils for raw and cooked proteins.