Everyone’s favourite time of the year is back, grilling season is finally here once again! Whether you prefer gas or charcoal, we’ve got the scoop on how to prep your grill for spring. You’re going to need it to host epic barbecues this year, so roll up your sleeves, it’s time to get dirty.
1. Do a Top-to-Bottom Inspection
If your grill hasn’t been used for a few months, be sure to check it out thoroughly if there are any problems. First, look for signs of rust, especially if your grill will be outside all winter (metal exposed to the elements is more susceptible to this corrosion). If your grill is covered or stored in the garage, check for bugs and pests that may sneak in during the winter. It is also important to check the fuel lines on your gas grill. After visual inspection for cracks, try the soapy water test. Brush the wires and connectors with soapy water. If you see air bubbles while the gas is running, tighten the connections or replace the tubing.
2. Clean From the Inside Out
Your gas grill is made up of many individual parts! Start by removing debris from the flame diffuser (above the burner) with a wire brush. Then remove the flame arrester and check the burner for clogging. Just brush the holes up and down with a stainless steel wire brush. Insects often colonize burner tubes during the off-season. If the pipes are removable, use a garden hose to spray water through the pipes or use a long, flexible brush to clean the inside. Make sure the hose is dry before reconnecting. Next, check that the oil pan is clean to avoid dangerous grease fires. Check before the season starts and after each grill to make sure it doesn’t overflow. When using a charcoal grill, be sure to remove all ash and unburned charcoal from the bowl and ash collector. Your new charcoal will burn easier – perfect for grilling our amazing local proteins.
3. Clean Your Grates
Whether you have a rusted grate from not using it for a long time or just a remnant from last year, it’s important to start the season with a clean grate. (Also, a clean grill will leave better grill marks!) For normal buildup on a gas grill, turn all burners on for 15 minutes. When your grill reaches these high temperatures, the remaining residue will turn to ash, which is easy to brush off. Be sure to turn off the burner before you start scrubbing. Stainless steel brushes work well but may leave tiny metal bristles that get into the food, try using a hardwood grill spatula instead. For more thorough cleaning, soak the grill overnight in a mixture of 2 cups vinegar and 1 cup baking soda. Any remaining residue should be rinsed off with water and a little elbow grease. Regular brushing of the grate will prevent food and bacteria growth, and a light coat of oil or cooking spray will prevent rust and prevent food from sticking.
4. Wipe Down the Exterior
Once the inside of your grill is good to go, wipe down the exterior. Grill surfaces are made of different materials and require different cleaning methods. Soapy water is the safest cleaning solution for most grills, but for a deeper clean use window cleaner for porcelain-coated steel lids and stainless steel cleaner for stainless steel lids.
5. Upgrade Your Grill Tools
Your favorite cooking utensils have probably been outside with your grill all winter. It’s the perfect time to replace your old grill tools and add some fun new ones that will inspire new delicious recipes, with your favorite Ottawa Valley Meats products.
Going The Extra Mile!
Gatherings have been few and far between the past few years, check out the following tips that will really take your grilling area to the next level!
- Create a comfortable seating area – Not only do you need to make sure that your grill is prepared, but you will want to organize a comfortable seating area. Create a space whereby everyone can sit together, enjoy good food and conversation. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create this sort of environment. A few comfortable and plush cushions and an open space is all you really need. You can get affordable outdoor dining sets online if you do not have one already.
- Think about your external lighting – Many people forget about the garden lighting until it gets to a spring evening and the sun goes in. Suddenly, you’re sitting outside in the dark with your guests. Not ideal, right? Planning your outdoor lighting is important, and it does not need to be difficult. There are some great options out there, such as solar lights, which work by using the sun’s energy to light your garden.
- Create A Herb Wall – Another great idea to prepare your garden for spring BBQs is to create a herb wall. There are a lot of benefits that are associated with this. Not only does a herb wall mean you can create some incredible BBQ dishes, but it will look amazing and it will also ensure that there are amazing aromas flooding into the outdoor space. Whatever herbs you decide to grow is up to you; there are plenty of options. This includes rosemary, oregano, parsley, spring onion, thyme, mint, basil, and coriander.
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