Here at Stubb’s in Austin, Texas, every season is barbecue season and we barbecue all year long. But whether your grill has been in the garage all winter, sitting lonely on the back deck or doing full-time duty since last summer, National Barbecue Month is a great time to do some necessary maintenance. Don’t wait until you’re standing there with your spice-rubbed brisket – do it before you’re hungry! Here are some tips for getting that grill ready for barbecue prime time.
Your gas grill
If you have a gas grill, first disconnect the propane tank (for safety) then check the parts. Has anything rusted through? You only want flames coming out of the burners, and nowhere else, so take a good look. Get your hands on it to feel for weak, rusted or loose connections. Look for clogged gas jets, too. A clog can be cleaned with a metal barbecue skewer, paper clip or wire brush – just try to pull out the clog rather than pushing it back into the jets.
The next step is to give it a good cleaning. Pull off the grates and scrub them down with a bucket of water and good grease-cutting dish soap (don’t use cleaners that you wouldn’t want near your food) and a scouring sponge or wire brush. Some people will even throw those grates in the dishwasher, and that’s not a bad idea either, but you still have to scrub. A dishwasher is a machine, not a miracle.
So now that your grill looks nice and clean, fire it up! This will burn off the last little bit of cleaners and whatever’s still stuck on there. Leave it going for about 20 minutes or so. If your propane is running out on your gas grill, this is a great time to find out, and not when you have in-laws coming over for dinner In fact, unless you remember for sure that you just replaced the tank the end of last season, I’d say go ahead and replace it now.
Your charcoal grill
Charcoal grills are easier to maintain, but they still need some attention. First, dump out the ash and debris left over from last season and scrub the insides with soapy water – and don’t forget the top. Get out the garden hose and rinse everything inside and out. People are always taking pictures during cookouts and barbecues, and you don’t want to see your dirty grill on Facebook, ight? Towel-dry or air-dry and put everything back together.
And that’s all there is to it. You’re ready for the season, and I hope it’s your best ever. I’ll be providing tips and recipes from Stubb’s here on Parade.com throughout the season and I hope you’ll pop in for a visit.
Rocky Stubblefield is the grandson of C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield, who founded the Austin, Texas-based Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q sauce company, where Rocky is brand ambassador. Stubb’s is the country’s No. 1 super-premium brand of barbecue sauces, marinades, smokes and spice rubs. Rocky has followed in his famous grandfather’s footsteps and has been barbecuing in the Stubb’s tradition for more than 20 years. For more information, go to www.stubbsbbq.com.