For those of us that live on the west coast, it feels like we have skipped over spring and summer has arrived. For those in the Midwest or Northeast, get ready because better weather is on the horizon. The time is almost here to put away your winter jacket and put on those shorts and sunglasses and get ready for spring events.
Nothing is more American than a good old fashioned BBQ. We love to invite our family and friends over and enjoy the warm weather while socializing with a few drinks and firing up the grill. And now is the best time to make sure your outdoor cooking space is ready for spring.
Spring Cleaning your Cooking Space
During fall and winter, leaves will have accumulated on your cooking surfaces. Rinse off any dirt or leaves with a hose. This is also a great time to rinse off any patio furniture you have, including your cushions and outdoor accessories. Once your countertop has been hosed off, get a bucket of soap and water to thoroughly clean and sanitize the counters. Make sure to also use the soapy water to clean out your outdoor refrigerators and sinks.
If you live in snowy or frozen conditions during winter, you may need to re-seal your outdoor counter tops. An easy way to determine if your seal is not up to par is to place a couple drops of water on your counter top and wait about 10 minutes to see if the water has been absorbed through the surface or not. If the water drops remain on top of the surface your seal is good, if they have soaked into the counter top, you will need to re-seal it.
Prepping your Grill
To guarantee safety and peak grilling performance, you will need to make sure your grill is fully maintained. For gas grills, test gas lines for any leaks. To do so, use soapy water to coat the gas line and propane tank valve. Turn on the propane tank valve to the one position and see if any bubbles form. If bubbles do accumulate, this indicates a leak and the part will need to be replaced. If you own a charcoal grill, clean out any leftover charcoal or ash.
Scrub off of all grill racks any leftover residue with a grill brush, clean out and rinse the grease trap with soap and water and remove any ash or debris from the bottom of the grill. Use soapy water and a sponge to clean the exterior of the grill.
After each use of your BBQ grill, set the burners to high with the hood closed for 10 minutes to burn off any residue from the grill racks. After the 10 minutes, while using a stainless steel brush, scrub the racks. Before you heat up the grill for the next use, remove any residue that fell to the bottom of the grill and empty the grease trap.
Now you are ready to fire up the grill and have your first cook-off of spring!