Finally, after a long winter, you can uncover the grill and get to cooking outside now. (Yes, yes, I know that some of you lucky — or diehard — cooks grill straight through the winter. But it never hurts to give the grill a spring cleaning.)
Here's a quick checklist of things you should run through before you light the first fire of the year!
1. Safety First: Check the Hose
Here's the thing that some people forget about grills: they are filled with fire. Considering yours may have been sitting for many months without being used, take a few minutes to give it a once over before you press ignite.
Specifically, if you have a gas grill, check the hose from your propane to your burners and make sure it's intact and clean. If there's any build-up on the hose, be sure to clean it off before starting your grill. (Hoses can light on fire. Trust me, I know.)
If the hose has any holes or any signs of being torn, it's worth the few bucks to just replace it.
2. Time for a Quick Cleaning
I'm not the best at cleaning my grill, but I do always take the time to clean it once after winter. If you have a gas grill, take the grates out and give everything a good scrub down.
You can use a wire brush and a damp cloth to get the job done. I don't recommend soap. It can linger and it's tough to wash off.
But I do also recommend running your grilling tools through the dishwasher.
3. It's a Trap! Clean Out Your Grease Trap
Remember the grease trap under your grill? Yeh... me neither.
Before the grilling season starts though, be sure to pull it out and dump out any grossness from last year. For easy clean-up next year, line your grease trap with some sturdy aluminum foil.
4. Give It a Test Run Before Cooking
Before you get to cooking, turn on your grill, light it up, and let it burn for a few minutes. Watch it to make sure all the burners are firing and there are no leaks.
That's the basics! Bust out the burgers and enjoy the grilling season.
(Image credits: Nick Evans)