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Start Of Grilling Season Checklist

Flaming grill

The Skinny:

Get ready for that inaugural cookout by going through this checklist that will help you avoid unnecessary delays in getting your grill up and going.

The How-To:

As grilling season approaches, think about getting your grill in tip-top shape. We go through our quirky cleaning rituals and exorcise the demons of last year’s grime and gunk so that we have an immaculate grill before the first fires of the new season. Here are some things to consider so that your first cookout of the season is perfect.

“...exorcise the demons of last year’s grime and gunk so that we have an immaculate grill before the first fires of the new season.”

  1. Inspect your space. Check the outside area where you’ll be grilling and entertaining. Is it clean? As fall and winter fade into spring, lots of dirt and outside debris need to be cleared. Also, consider putting a tarp or grill mat under your grill to catch any grease or food debris, which will keep your outdoor space clean.
  2. Run a safety check. The only thing that should be exposed to fire is the food you’re making. Make sure your outdoor grilling space is well ventilated, away from things that you don’t want to burn. Also, make sure your grill is stable and can’t be tipped over.
  3. Clean the grill. While we all have our own ways of cleaning the grill, be sure to check all connections, hoses and burners to make sure they’re clean and don’t need to be replaced. Clean the interior and exterior of your grill with the appropriate tools. A steel brush and some warm, soapy water do wonders.
  4. Check fuel levels. Make sure you have enough gas or charcoal to get a good start on the season. Old, rusty gas tanks should be exchanged.
  5. Check the flame. If you have a gas grill, check to make sure the flame is blue with a yellow tip. If the majority of the flame is yellow, that means there’s not enough pressure from the regulator or there’s a leak in the line. Check your regulator pressure to fix the issue (disconnect and reconnect tank), or put soapy water on the tank, hoses and connectors to check for leaks.
  6. Test with toast. Another one for the fans of gas grills: check your burners to see if you have even heat throughout the grill. To do this, put slices of white bread over the grates and run the burners on high for a few minutes. Check the bread slices to see which pieces toasted most, showing where your hot spots are. You can replace your grates for a more uniform cooking surface, or you can just plan where you place your food accordingly.
  7. Assemble your tools. Make sure all of your tools are clean and in working order. While some of us may have a snazzy grill utility belt that would make even Batman jealous, tongs and spatulas are enough to get a good grill party started.
  8. Stock up on seasonings. Check to make sure you’ve got all the necessary components to make your famous rubs, marinades and sauces. Consider buying in bulk if you really know how to throw down.
  9. Plan your menu. Anything and everything can be grilled. Appetizers, main dishes, sides, desserts—all are fair game on the grill. Figure out what you’ll be serving and get ready for another one of your famous cookouts.

Here’s to another successful start of the grilling season. And for those of you that live in places far too warm to experiences things like fall and winter, just know that brats made after a harsh cold winter taste best. Until next time, Enthusiasts.

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