Get Your Grill Ready

Well after a long and snowy winter, it looks like we are finally rounding the corner toward the welcome sunshine and longer days of spring. And if you are anything like me, you’ve started thinking of all the smokey, delicious concoctions soon to be created on the family grill. But, whether you are the occasional weekend BBQ warrior or neighborhood grill master, there are a few things you need to do after a long winters rest to ready your grill for another season of backyard barbecue bragging rights.


Here are my top five tips to get that grill safely fired up.


1. Lets gather a few cleaning supplies.


It’s always a good idea to give your grill a good scrub after a long, lonely winter stored in the deep, dark recesses of your garage or barn. You’ll need the following supplies to help start your season off right. Remember, a clean grill is a happy grill. You’ll need a good wire brush, a small bucket for hot water, some distilled vinegar, replacement grease cups, organic all purpose cleaner, a couple of wooded skewers some vegetable oil, and an old towel.


2. Time to roll up your sleeves.


Luckily, for those purists that use the old school charcoal grills, they are the easiest and fastest to clean up and get ready for the season. Simply remove the grill and charcoal basket and dump any remaining ashes from last season. Fill your bucket with a good gallon of hot water and one cup of distilled vinegar.


Now grab that wire brush and start scrubbing. Really get in there and scrub as much gunk and rust out of there as you can. Once you’ve finished the dirty work, give the grill and coal basket a good scrubbing. After all of the hard stuff is done, it’s easiest and fastest to hook up the garden hose and spray the grill down inside and out. Once all dried, you need to season the grill and coal basket. Simply put a bit of vegetable oil on that old towel and rub down the grill and coal basket. Once that is done, put your BBQ back together and you are ready for a summer of smokey creations.


Propane grills are a bit more complicated to clean and maintain, but well worth the bit of extra effort.  Lets start with the burners. It’s easiest to detach and remove the burners from the grill for a thorough cleaning. Using your brush and hot water/vinegar solution give the burners a really good scrubbing. Once cleaned, check all the burner ports, making sure they are all open. If some are blocked, simply use those wooden skewers and shove all the gunk out of the ports.


Next, clean the cooking grills and sear plates with your wire brush and hot water/vinegar solution. Then, just like the charcoal grills, brush the sear plates and grill with a bit of vegetable oil to re-season them. The hot water vinegar solution will work wonders removing any grease and gunk off the inside base and sides of the grill. For those fancy porcelain grills, a thorough cleaning with some organic all purpose cleaner will do the trick.


Lastly, remove and replace last seasons drip pan. Trust me, to avoid a good greasy mess on our deck or patio, you don’t want to forget this.


3. Inspect all hoses and feed tubes


Once the dirty work is done, it is a very, very good idea to inspect all hoses and feed tubes on your grill. Look for any cracks, crimps, scratches or punctures, if you notice any of these at all, it’s in your best interest to replace the hoses in order to avoid any large unplanned fireballs in the backyard this year  .


4. Check the ignition parts


Now that your grill is clean and safe, it’s time to see it lights. For battery powered ignitions, simply switch last years batteries out for new ones. For the old push button electrodes check the leads and make sure the tips of the electrodes are clean, shiny and rust free. If they do,  you can Just brush them with a bit of fine sandpaper to shine them up.


5. The final step


Now that your charcoal or propane grill is all clean and ready for the next best BBQ season, you are ready for the final and perhaps most important step of all. Come visit Winter Ridge Natural Foods Meat Department for all your summer barbeque needs like some beautiful grass finished beef rib eyes from 7B ranch or Arcadia farms heritage breed pork chops, cooking tips and more.


For a great start to your BBQ season, here is one of my favorite grilling marinades or condiments of all time.



Argentinian Chimichurri

Makes about two cups.



1/2 cup minced yellow onion

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon finely grated or minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar



In a medium bowl or jar, combine onion, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Add the oil and vinegar and mix or shake well. Store covered for a couple of days and use before the herbs start to turn brown.

Marinate beef, chicken, pork or fish in half of mixture for two to four hours. Grill to desired doneness. Use remaining mixture as a condiment or dipping sauce. Enjoy!



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