Well friends, as I sit writing this week’s article, I can look out at my backyard to see green grass and the sun is streaming in my kitchen window. It is still a chilly morning, but I do believe spring may well be on our door step! What a long weary winter we have endured. We deserve the sunny mild days to come.
Another sight I see out my window is my gas grill. It looks rather forlorn, having endured the long months of cold and frequent ferocious winds. The cover is ripped in a couple of places and frayed in others. Once I remove the cover I know I will need to break out the cleaning supplies. As you can imagine, months of neglect have left it rather gross! The grates are greasy looking, there is a collection of “glop” on the bottom, and this year the burners will need to be replaced! Because we like to use our grill often, now is the time to get it ready for the season.
I am going to start by removing the grates and soaking them in my kitchen sink full of hot soapy water. I like to add a ¼ cup of bleach to the water to kill any bacteria that may have developed during the months of neglect. While they are soaking, I will then attack the inside of the grill itself. As I mentioned, I need to replace the burners, so I will remove them first so as to have an easier time cleaning the bottom. I like to use an old metal spatula to scrape to dried grease and food particles off the bottom, sides and top. After scraping it down really well, I will use the soapy bleach water to wipe it down, and rinse it well. That can air dry while I go back to cleaning the grates. I find a stiff wire brush works the best to remove everything that has cooked on. Once clean and air dried, I will wipe the grates down with a very thin layer of cooking oil. You could also give the grates an even spray with a nonstick grill coating. After attaching new burners and filling the propane tank I will be ready to have the first cook out of the season!
Whether you prefer meat, veggies or fish, the grill can be your go to cooking source. When grilling delicate or small items such as fish or shrimp, I like to use a vented grill tray (it looks like a regular cookie tray with holes on the bottom). This will keep the fish from flaking apart and falling through the grates. It also helpful when grilling veggies that might otherwise fall through. If you use a marinade for your grilled items, remember that if you wait until to food is on the grill to start basting it, most of what you are adding will burn off. You want the flavors to be able to soak in first so I suggest adding the marinade to you items at least 15 minutes (and up to overnight) before you begin to cook. Brushing lightly during the cooking process does more to keep it moist than actually impart a great deal of flavor.
My final bit of advice for you this week is to ALWAYS clean the grill grates as soon as you remove four food from the grill. Using a stiff grill brush while the grates are still warm is the easiest way to remove the cooking debris. As long as it is warm most things will brush off easily. If you wait until the grill is cold it will be much harder to clean. I like to brush the grates well and then turn the heat to high, close the cover and let the grill sanitize itself for about five minutes. This way it will be ready the next time I have a craving for a hot dog. Or a burger. Or a Portobello mushroom. Or a steak…You get the idea!
- ½ C soy sauce
- ½ C lemon juice
- ½ C honey
- ¼ C vinegar
- 1 t salt
- ½ t pepper
- 1 t basil
- 1 t rosemary (crushed)
- 1 t thyme
- 2 T crushed garlic
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Use as marinade for chicken or pork, allowing to marinate for 2-3 hours. May also be used for shrimp, fish or veggies. Marinating time should be reduced to about an hour for these items.
Always refrigerate items as they marinate!!
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