We know the fourth of July isn’t going to be what it is every year. We are in a global pandemic. Which, strangely, is easier to say aloud now than it used to be – probably because we are adjusting to our new way of life with our masks and our compulsive handwashing and our deep appreciation of shea butter and coconut oil for our dry skin.
But we’re willing to bet that our mantra resonates from sea to shining sea: where there’s a grill, there’s a way. It seems counterintuitive for the Fourth of July – social distance, few or no guests, no BBQ hopping. But say it again with us: where there’s a grill, there’s a way.
That said, how’s your grill looking? When was the last time you cleaned it? Much like cleaning your oven, cleaning your grill results in better tasting food and keeps things safe (read: no fire!). So, let’s get to it!
Whether you’ve got a charcoal or gas grill, your grates need a good scrubbing – soap and water should do the trick. Then brush them with vegetable oil to keep food from sticking. And always use your grill brush after grilling to loosen any bits that are stuck or leftover. That grill brush should be your best friend.
For a charcoal grill, empty the ash and any leftover charcoal or bricks (you must empty the ash catch regularly to prevent fire and to make it easier for air flow to allow you to regulate temperature). Remove the grill grates and set aside. Clean the grilling bowl using warm soapy water. Beforehand, if anything is stuck on use a putty knife or kitchen scraper to scrape off before washing.
If you have a gas grill, first make sure the gas supply is shut off. Then empty the grease tray (another regular part of maintenance) – the safest way to dispose of the grease is to pour it into an empty can or bottle and wait for it to harden, then throw it away. Clean the grease tray with soap and water, remove the grill grates and set aside. Use a brush to clean the burner tubes and burners as well as the inside of the grill, use the putty knife or scraper to scrape away any meaningful debris.
Now, when you grill your food, enjoy the flavor of whatever you’re making that day – not the amalgamated taste of the last ten weeks of grilling.