Grill Maintenance 101

Start your ignitors! Warmer weather is finally here, which means grilling season is officially in full swing. Grills and smokers are big-time essentials for fun in the sun, but these backyard treasures can also cook up some unsavory treats like burnt foods, insects, or debris when ignored for too long. Here are some tips for maintaining both gas and charcoal grills, so you can enjoy what you eat throughout the season and beyond. 

WHEN GRILLING SEASON BEGINS 

Prior to firing up your grill for the first time, examine the inside and clear away any spider webs or debris that may have collected while not in use. For gas grills, reconnect your propane tank and check your gas line for leaks.

BEFORE EACH USE 

Before you add food to your gas or charcoal grill, let it preheat for 10-15 minutes, and then brush the grates. Preheating your grill will not only disinfect it, but it’ll also allow leftover debris to turn to ash, making it easy to brush the grates and remove residue. For gas grills, you should also empty the drip tray to reduce the chances of a grease fire.

DURING GRILLING SEASON

Grease and smoke deposits can build up inside your grill, so it’s important to scrub the lid from time to time. For charcoal grills, use a soapy water solution and paper towel, and be sure to clean out the ash catcher. For gas grills, use a stainless-steel brush, and don’t forget to address the burner covers. If you live in a drier climate, you’ll want to protect your grill with a waterproof, breathable cover. On the other hand, if you live near the ocean or in a humid area, you’ll want to leave your grill uncovered to avoid trapping salty or moist air that could cause rust.

AFTER GRILLING SEASON ENDS

Before you pack your grill away for the year, thoroughly clean the cooking grates and give the inside one final scrub down with soapy water, using a wool pad or wire brush for best results. You’ll need to give the exterior of your grill some love, too. For charcoal grills, use a mild detergent soap or glass cleaner. For gas grills, use a multipurpose cleaner and always remember to disconnect the propane tank. After your grill is clean, cover it, and store it in a secure, sheltered location. 

Need some cooking inspiration? Check out one of our favorite grilling recipes from Volume II of the Associa Family Cookbook! 

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