Summer Cooking: Grill Maintenance 101Kelsey Banfield
With the thermometer north of 70ºF and wool sweaters packed away for the summer there is no doubt that grilling season has arrived. (It’s ok to pause and give a little clap after reading that sentence.) I, for one, love grilling season. There are so many fantastic, healthy meals that can be prepared on the grill and I find it very refreshing to cook outdoors. One thing that I’ve learned in my grilling years is that the key to cooking delicious food on the grill is keeping the equipment clean. A clean grill means that your food won’t get tainted with any bad smells or tastes from anything you’ve grilled previously. Here are my tips to keep you grilling happily all summer long:
1. Scrub Brush – buy it: You don’t need many tools for grilling, but a grill brush is a must. A good stiff wire brush should last you for a few years and keep your grilling grate gunk free.
2. Grate Cleaning: Clean the grate after each time you use the grill. Turn off the heat and allow the grill to cool for about 4-5 minutes until just medium heat. Then scrub the grate with the aforementioned scrub brush. This will help release the food particles and grease to prevent any build up. If the grate gets exceptionally gunky, remove it when it is completely cool and soak it in warm soapy water. Then scrub it down, allow it to dry and place it back on the grill.
3. Cleaning Underneath the Grate: Bits of food inevitably drop down into the charcoals or lava rocks when you are cooking. Whether you are using a charcoal grill or a gas grill, the bottoms need to be swept out after each use. Allow the grill to cool completely, then sweep out any ashes or charred food bits. Doing this after each use will ensure that the last meal you cooked doesn’t end up producing oddly flavored smoke when you go to cook the next.
4. Repetition: Just like you clean out your pans every time you use them, clean your grill after each use. This will ensure that it will last a long time and that your food will always taste clean and delicious!