The weather is finally warming up, which means that it is now officially BBQ season. We have mentioned many restaurants in the area that specialize in BBQ but nothing is better than grilling your own steak or hamburger on the grill in your backyard.
Grilling is a favorite pastime for millions of people around the world. The grill is their backyard domain. But, in order to have the best BBQ experience, you have to make sure that the grill is ready for the season. For most people the grill has been sitting in a storage unit, garage or basement and hasn’t been used in months. It is very important to properly prepare a grill for use during the spring and summer. Or accidents could happen.
Preparing your Grill
Below are a few tips for getting your grill ready for BBQ season:
- Check the Hoses: If you have a gas grill, check the hose the runs from the propane tank to the burners to make sure it is intact and clean. Clean off any build-up on the hose before starting the grill. If the hoses are torn or damaged, replace them before starting the grill.
- Clean the Grill: If you didn’t clean the grill before storage for the winter, it is very important to take the time to clean the grill before you use it for the first time this year. Before cleaning, turn the gas source off. Take the grates out of the grill and scrub down with a wire brush, a coarse cleaning brush, or a damp cloth. Wipe down the outside of the grill with soap and water. Run the grilling tools and accessories through the dishwasher.
- Clean the Grease Trap: Cleaning out the grease trap is usually a forgotten task, but it really needs to be done on a yearly basis. In order to make the job easier for next year, line the grease trap with sturdy aluminum foil.
- Charcoal Grills: If you have a charcoal grill, certain steps must be taken to make sure it is clean as well. Remove the grill grate and clean it with a coarse cleaning brush. Brush or wipe out any debris at the bottom of the grill. Before grilling, empty out the ash catcher. For kettle grills, wipe down the outside of the lid and grill with soapy water.
- Prevent Rust: Help prevent your outside grill from getting rusted by painting the exterior in a rustproof metal paint. If there is existing rust, scrub it off with steel wool. Check handles, knobs, wheels for rust or damage. These can easily be replaced during the grilling season.
- Test Run: Give the grill a test run before you start grilling your hamburgers for the season. Watch to make sure that all burners are going and that there are no leaks.
Once the grill is up and running for the season, it is time to perfect your grilling technique. To allow for easier daily cleaning of the grill, preheat the grill, then brush the grate with a grill brush to remove the burnt pieces of food from the previous grilling session. It is easier to remove the stuck food when the grate is warm.
Every griller has a different technique and style when they are cooking their barbeque. In fact, every grill master has a special barbeque recipe or grilling style. Some specialize in grilling beef or pork while others have specialized in grilling chicken, fish or vegetables. There are many, many online tips about grilling technique, but WebMD has put together a wide variety of tips from how to marinate your meat or vegetables to some common sense barbequing tips. Go to any bookstore and you can see rows of books with BBQ Tips. Late last year, the Huffington Post put together a list of their Top 10 best BBQ books, including America’s Best BBQ and Weber’s Time to Grill. Here are just a few good ideas for the BBQ for this spring and summer:
- Plan Ahead: Cooking times for the meat will vary depending on the type: ribs can take at least one hour or more to grill, pulled pork can take 6 to 7 hours and brisket can take 10 to 12 hours or more to properly cook. It is very important to plan ahead if you are grilling so you can prepare the meat, (either the day before with a marinade or a meat rub before you start grilling), and then cook it to the proper temperature.
- Grilled Veggies: Grilled vegetables are great side dishes or a meal in themselves. Vegetables can easily be cooked on the grill. Marinate vegetables before cooking or just lightly brush them with olive or canola oil to give them an added flavor. Vegetables can be cooked over direct medium heat in about 8 to 10 minutes, but they need to be turned frequently for even cooking.
- Marinate it: There are many meat marinade recipes that you can find online. The best and easiest way to marinate meat, chicken, fish or vegetables is to place them inside a re-sealable plastic bag, then drizzle the marinade over the food. Seal the bag, by removing any excess air and look to see that the food is surrounded by the marinade. Keep the bag in the refrigerator until it is time to grill.
- Drink Pairing: There are many drinks that are great to go along with barbeque. The Beer Advocate recommends anything from American Pale Lagers to English Stout. It will all depend on the type of food you are preparing. Food and Wine also shares the best wine pairing for ribs to pulled pork. They recommend drinking red wines from zinfandels to cabernet blends to syrahs.
- Cook Smart: High heat and quick cook times are the secret of the perfect juicy hamburger. Timing will vary depending on if you want your hamburger pink or completely finished inside. Let meat “rest” after removing them from the grill. This allows the meat to soak up the juices and flavor that could be lost during the cooking process. For an even tastier hamburger, grill the buns on the grill.
Happy Grilling Season from Men’s Cuts!