The Meatwave

Meat Tips: Keeping a Happy Grill

Meat Tips: Keeping a Happy Grill

The Meatwave is proud to introduce Meat Tips, a break from the usual recipe to dole out some hints and tips on meat selection, preparation, and general grilling topics.

I learned the hard way, if you don't treat your grill with the proper care, it's bound to suffer a slow and painful death right in front of your eyes. My first grill was one of those squat 12" squares you can find at most discount stores around the city, but it didn't make it past a few uses before it's sad trek to curb to await an untimely fate. For my next grill, I went bigger, a 22 inch kettle, but not much better; it was a super sale item at Home Depot, costing about half as much as the comparable Weber, and delivering about half the quality as well. Despite my inability to afford a Weber at the time, I was determined to make this grill last as long as possible, and I'm proud to say that 5 years and countless grilling sessions later, it's still going strong. With the proper basic maintenance, you can keep almost any charcoal grill alive and well, dependably churning out one bbq after another.

Basic Charcoal Grill Maintenance

Cover your grill. An obvious one, but something I failed to do with my first grill. Covering your grill when it's not in use will protect it from the elements, helping prevent rust and other deterioration.

Dump that charcoal. Do not leave ash and spent charcoal in your grill. Even with a grilled covered, water and moisture can get in, making a mess of any charcoal you left there. I have a steel bucket reserved for ash, so there's always a convenient place to dump the leftovers from the day's grilling, even if they're still warm.

Clean your grate. Keep your charcoal grate clean. Always let it heat up, then use a scrubbing brush to remove the stuck on food stuffs.

Oil your grate. Always oil your cooking grate after cleaning it. This will prevent those food stuffs from sticking to the grate in the first place.

Don't clean your grate. That's right, at the end of the day, leave your cooking grate dirty. The remains from the day's cooking will actually help prevent it from rusting between uses.

Keep your grill "dirty." The inside walls of the grill might look gross, covered with black stickiness, but this is seasoning which actually helps the grill retain heat. If there's chunks of charcoal or other excessive nastiness on the grill, go ahead and clean that, just don't scrub it down to condition you bought it in, which would be like scrubbing away years of hard work.

I hope this is nothing new for most of you, but there are some out there who might need this information. I know that I wish I had known some basic care rules when I first started grilling. With these simple tips, you should be able to keep your grill happy for many years to come.

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  1. John Excellent tips. Thanks.