Winter seems to finally be making it’s exit and I’ve been thinking more about outdoor cooking. Even if you enjoy your gas grill year round, it never hurts to give your grill a good spring cleaning. So before I light my gas grill for the first time, there are a few things that I want to do to make sure my grilling season is safe. Here are four tips to help you have a great season of outdoor cooking.
Let’s look at Safety First. On gas grills remember to check the hose from your propane tank to the burners. Make sure it is intact and clean. If there is any build up from cooking residues, get this cleaned off. Also check the hose for holes or any signs of being torn. Then consider doing a leak test on the propane tank to check the regulator, valves and hose connections. Simply coat the parts with soapy water and then turn on the gas to pressurize the system. Look for bubbles which show escaping gas. If you have any bubbles, tighten the connections and try again. If there are still bubbles it is time to replace the hose or the tank.
Second, if you didn’t clean your grill before winter or you enjoyed a January barbecue, it is a good idea to clean out the grill before the summer season. For a gas grill take out the grates and give everything a good scrub. A wire brush or a putty knife can remove much of the accumulated grease on uncoated steel or iron. Wash surfaces with soap, rinse really well and dry thoroughly. If the cooking grates are rusty, it’s time to replace them.
Third check the grease trap, you know, it’s that thing under the cooking area of the grill. Replace the grease container with a new one. Consider adding a lining of heavy aluminum foil which will make cleaning the grease trap easier to do next year.
Finally, give your gas grill a test run. Light it up and let it burn for a few minutes. Look at each of the burners to make sure they are holding the flame and there are no leaks or irregular flames. Use a metal paper clip to unclog blocked grill tubes after the burner has cooled. The flame should be blue on the bottom and yellow on top. If the flame is all yellow, check the propane tank to make sure it is full and has enough pressure. You can also disconnect and reconnect everything for a better seal. If that does not work, it might be time to get new burners.