Get Back to Grilling – Updated!

This blog has been updated from its original post in 2021.  You can see that version here!

Warm weather means grilling season is FINALLY here!  After a long, dreary winter, we’re sure you’re itching to get outside, fire up the grill, and get cooking!  We know you’re in a hurry to grill those burgers and ribs, but there’s a few steps you should take to get your grill summer-ready. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy checklist to get you started.  After you’ve knocked everything off the list, you’re left with the fun part – cooking!  If your brain is a little rusty after those long winter months of eating soups and casseroles, don’t worry!  We also have a handy grilling recipe section where you can find some truly awesome recipes.  Let’s get back to grilling!

Gas Grill Preparation

Did you forget to winterize your grill back in the fall?  It happens!  You might be excited to start outdoor cooking again, but you must, must, must clean your grill after months of sitting idle.  Here’s how you do it on a GAS GRILL:

  • On a cool grill, brush or scrape off built-up carbon on the underside of the lid. Then, brush the grates to remove leftover food (you don’t want to be tasting steaks from last September)!
  • Using a clean brush, clear the burner tube ports of rust and debris by brushing across, not down, the length of the burner.
  • Use a scraper to chip away any built-up debris along the sides and bottom of the cook box. Push all the debris into the slide-out grease tray, then clean out the tray.
  • Here comes the safety portion of the preparation! Be sure to inspect all hoses for cracks or abrasions, and leak check all gas connections (including LP tanks), using a soapy water solution. To leak check, dab a mixture of dish soap and water on all connections. With the control knobs off, turn on the gas. If bubbles form, there is a leak.  Now is the time to call customer service about your grill, because you do NOT want to use it if there’s a leak!
  • Don’t forget to clean the outside of your grill, too.  You can use a little grill cleaner like this, or some soap and water.
  • Last but not least, how are your tools and grill cover looking?  If your tools are looking rusty and your cover looks like it’s been through a tornado, might as well splurge and get some new stuff, too!

Charcoal Grill Preparation 

  • On a cool grill, brush or scrape off built-up carbon on the underside of the lid.
  • Brush the cooking and charcoal grates to remove the leftover debris from your last grilling session (we hope it hasn’t been sitting there for 6 months, but hey, it happens)!
  • Use a scraper to chip away any difficult debris on the inside of the bowl. Push ashes and debris into the ash catcher.
  • Do not forget to empty the ash catcher – ashes left sitting in the ash catcher can promote corrosion.
  • Clean the outside with a grill cleaner like this one from Weber® to clean the outside lid and side tables.
  • Inspect your grilling tools and cover to see if they need to be replaced!

Now your grill is cleaned and ready to go!  These steps take a little time, but it’s better than discovering the meat you’ve been slow cooking all day tastes like last year’s hot dogs (or worse).  One more tip – check under your grill for any creatures that might’ve created a cozy little winter vacation home!

Are you setting up your grill for the first time ever?  How exciting!  Here are some tips straight from the pros at Weber on how to set up both a gas and charcoal grill.  Be sure to check your manual for further details!

Gas Grill Setup

  1. To light a Weber® gas grill, first open the lid so unlit gas fumes don’t collect in the cooking box.
  2. Next, slowly open the valve on your propane tank (or natural gas line) all the way and wait a minute for the gas to travel through the gas line.
  3. Turn on the burners, setting them all to high.
  4. Close the lid and preheat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. When the temperature reaches 500°F, use a long-handled grill brush to clean the cooking grates. Then adjust the burners to the suggested method and temperature in the recipe.

Charcoal Grill Setup

  1. If you are using wood chips, soak them first in water for at least 30 minutes so that they smolder and smoke slowly rather than flame up (yikes)!
  2. If you are using charcoal, dump the charcoal on one side of the charcoal grate. A charcoal basket holds the coals together in a compact bunch and slows down the burning. Tap the edge of the basket with tongs every hour or so to knock the ashes through the basket holes.
  3. Drain some wood chips and lay them right on the coals. Replenish them after the first hour of cooking, ideally when you replenish the coals, too.

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably itching to get out there and get the grill fired up right NOW!  Not that we want to fast-forward spring and summer by any means…but here is something you might want to think about: you’ve put in a lot of time and effort preparing your grill for the season, but it would save you a lot of time for next spring if you get your grill ready at the end of this season!  We know, we know…but trust us, you will be happy next spring when you don’t have a lot of work ahead of you!  Here are some great tips for winterizing your grill – you’ll be thanking yourself later!

Happy grilling!  What will you be making this spring and summer?


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