At long last, it’s time to fire up the grill and enjoy delicious barbecued food. Whether you used your barbecue throughout the winter or are just bringing it out of hibernation, now’s the time to show it a little TLC and prepare it for grilling season.
A clean grill not only looks great, it also improves flavour and ensures your barbecue is operating safely and efficiently. To get the most from your barbecue this summer consider these tips.
Do a safety check
Check the connections and hose leading from the tank to the burner. Replace any parts that are cracked or damaged.
While on the topic of safety, remember to use barbecues outdoors only, keep them two to three feet away from walls or fences, turn valves off when not in use and always keep the lid open when lighting. Nod and smile if you learned this lesson the hard way!
Clean your grill
Give your barbecue a good cleaning inside and out. Start by cleaning the grease trap that’s underneath the body of your barbecue – the thing many of us ignore until it causes an issue. Then use hot soapy water to remove grease and smoke stains from the exterior. It’ll feel good to have it looking nice and clean.
For the inside, remove the grates and heat plates to expose the burners, lava rocks and bottom of the cook box. Give the sides a good scrub with a wire brush and vacuum or sweep up any debris from the bottom of the box. Lava rocks don’t need to be washed but should be flipped and rotated. Clean the heat plates and grids with hot soapy water; if they’re made of cast iron use a wire brush instead of soapy water. And if the heat plates are so rusted you can’t clean them, it’s time to get new ones.
While everything’s out, examine the burners carefully for rust, dirt or spiderwebs which may cause low burner flame and inconsistent heating. Use a pipe cleaner or wire brush to clean any clogged holes. Replace any rusted or damaged burners. Replacement parts are available for most models and are much more affordable than replacing the whole barbecue.
Fire it up
Reinstall all components. If you have cast iron grates, reseason them by coating with canola oil; it’s the best for high heat applications. Use paper towel to spread the oil evenly and prevent any dripping. Seasoning the grates helps keep food from sticking, prevents rust and makes cleanup easier.
Once reassembled, light the barbecue, close the lid and heat for 15 minutes. It may be a little smoky at first, but after the 15 minutes your barbecue will be ready for grilling.
When you’re ready to get grilling, try some of the following recipes.
Grilled Pork Chops with Dry Spice Rub
A dry rub adds amazing flavour to these chops. To get juicy, tender chops use a meat thermometer to prevent overcooking.
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. sugar
4-6 pork loin chops (3/4 to 1 inch thick)
In small bowl combine all dry rub ingredients, mix well.
Generously coat each pork chop with the mix and rub the spice mix into the meat.
Place chops in single layer in a sealed container in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Remove chops from fridge half an hour before grilling to bring up to room temperature.
Coat grill grates evenly but sparingly with canola oil to help prevent food from sticking.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Grill chops for 5 to 7 minutes per side until juices run clear. For best results, cook until meat thermometer shows internal temperature of 155 F (68 C). Flip only once or twice max.
Remove from grill and tent loosely with foil for 5 minutes for maximum juiciness.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp. lime zest
- 1/2 c. fresh lime juice
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 3 tbsp. Tequila
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Put chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Whisk together marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Seal bag and turn it gently so marinade coats each piece of chicken. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Pour marinade into a small saucepan, leaving chicken in the bag. Bring marinade to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Heat grill to medium. Grill chicken with the lid down, turning once and basting frequently with boiled marinade, until a thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 170 F (about five to seven minutes per side). Remove from heat and let stand five minutes before serving.
Honey Lime Grilled Pineapple
- 1/3 c. honey
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. lime zest
- 1 large pineapple, peeled
In a small bowl, mix together honey, lime juice and lime zest.
Slice pineapple into 3/4-inch (1.8-cm) slices. Remove core and place in a shallow dish. Pour honey mixture over and turn pineapple to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
Remove pineapple from marinade and grill over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until fruit is golden. Turn over and grill another 3 to 4 minutes.
Serve with frozen yogurt and drizzle any leftover marinade over top.
Recipe: Rosie Schwartz/Enlightened Eater