The temperatures are warming up, the days are getting longer, and the trees are starting to bloom. It's grilling season. It's important that you know how to clean a BBQ grill before having your first cookout. The National Fire Protection Association notes that the leading cause of grill fires, which often lead to injury, is failure to clean. Follow these steps for the best way to clean a grill.
Scrub the Grates Clean
Open the lid of your grill and remove the grates. If you didn't clean them before putting them away for the winter, they probably have a nice layer of stuck-on grime. The best way to clean grill grates is with warm and soapy water. Use a wire brush to scrub the surface and make them shine. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. Your food sits directly on these pieces, so you want them to be as clean as possible.
Wash the Burner Protectors
The burner protectors catch all of the drippings from your food, so you can imagine how dirty they are. Though they don't come into direct contact with your food, the smoke produced from anything burning off can alter the flavor of what's cooking. Scrub these clean with warm, soapy water and a wire brush.
Get Rid of Burnt Food From Last Summer
With the burner protectors removed, you can see right down into the bottom of your grill. The remains of all your cookouts from last summer are likely sitting there in a charred heap. Many grills have removable plates below the burners that make it easy to lift out and dump. While you're down there, wipe the burners clean with a damp sponge. Take special care in removing any debris from the openings.
Give the Grill a Safety Inspection
Your grill should look brand new now, but don't fire it up just yet. Do a thorough inspection of the hose and nozzle connecting the propane tank to the grill. Make sure they are fully intact, or replace them if they look like they didn't survive the off-season very well. If everything looks good, fire it up and give it a test run.
Maintaining the grill takes just a few extra minutes, and is an easy way to make sure you have evenly cooked and flavorful foods every time you use it. It also cuts down on how dirty your grill gets, saving you time farther down the line. After each use, scrub the grates with a wire brush before the food has a chance to get really stuck. Once a week, fire your grill up to high or the clean setting to burn off any stuck-on food. Lastly, give the exterior a quick wipe down to keep it looking good.
Ready to put that clean grill to work? Head to Food Lion's in-store grilling center to stock up on steaks, burgers, pork chops, and everything else you need for grilling season.
For more recipe ideas and grilling inspiration and ideas, visit our Grilling section.