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Get your grill in order for summer barbecues

photo: Baha’i Views / Flitzy Phoebie / flickr

Everyone enjoys a summer barbecue. Though our Mediterranean climate allows us to barbecue year-round (usually), with Independence Day, summer barbecuing kicks into season. While barbecue might conjure up images of hot dogs, hamburgers and steaks, it’s not just for red-meat lovers — chicken, fish, vegetables, and even fruit are also delectable when grilled. Cooking on a gas grill is extremely convenient, especially if you have a busy schedule. The longer daylight hours takes the kitchen outdoors, perfect for experimenting with cooking foods in a different way than you would inside. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you gear up for the grilling season.

Refurbishing gas grills

Before you heat up a gas grill you haven’t used in a while, make sure it is in working order using these tips as guidelines.

  • Turn off and disconnect the propane tank, then remove the cooking grates and burner cover bars. If they look rusty or there is deep pitting, replace them. Otherwise, soak them in warm water and clean with a scouring pad.
  • Remove the warming rack, replace it with a new one if needed, and scrub, clean, or replace the burners. If the holes in the burners are clogged, poke through with a small sharp tool.
  • Scrape the inside of the grill and hood with a putty knife and then spray with degreaser and let sit for 10–15 minutes. Rinse off with a hose and scrub off any remaining gunk. Rinse and repeat. Let dry thoroughly.
  • Replace any buttons and functions that have stopped working. Reassemble the grill.

Gas grilling safety

A successful barbecue is a safe barbecue, so take precautions — planning and common sense will prevent accidents and injuries.

Propane tank safety

  • Using soapy water, check tank and valve for leaks. Open the valve, but leave the appliance off while testing.
  • Never store a spare tank beneath a grill.
  • Always store tanks upright.
  • Never store a tank in temperatures
  • over 125°F.
  • When transporting, secure the tank upright in a well-ventilated area of your vehicle. Do not allow a tank to sit in a vehicle unattended.
  • Never use or store a propane tank indoors.
  • If storing a grill indoors, move disconnected tank to a secure, well-ventilated location outdoors.
  • Do not attempt to repair a damaged tank or tank valve; take a damaged tank to a qualified propane supplier for repairs or disposal.

Propane grill safety

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembly, operation, maintenance, repair, and storage. Consult the owner’s manual.
  • Always turn control knobs to “off” and tank valve to “closed” when grill is not in use.
  • Make sure the tank has the right connection for your grill.
  • Inspect grill and tank before each use for damage or wear. Replace worn grill parts as needed, especially hose(s) and regulators.
  • Never operate a grill if parts are damaged, missing, or improperly installed.
  • Before lighting a grill, always open the grill lid.
  • Never move a grill that is in use.
  • Position your grill well away from siding, deck railings, and overhanging eaves and branches.
  • Never allow children to operate or play around a grill. Declare a three-foot “safe zone” around it.
  • Use long-handled utensils and flame-retardant mitts to avoid burns.
  • Use baking soda to control grease fires.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy.
  • To reduce flare-ups, trim excess fat from meat, replace greasy lava rocks or ceramic briquettes, and keep the grill clean.
  • Wipe the grill with a clean cloth after using a wire brush.

Ready, set, barbecue!

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Julia Strzesieski is the marketing coordinator of Cole Hardware and can be reached at [email protected].