How To Get Your Grill Ready For Summer

Sure, you can grill all year long if you want, but we all know that Memorial Day is the official start of the summer grilling season. But if you think you can just dust off that grill that's been dormant for the better part of nine months and get right to cooking, think again.

50 Things You Need to Grill This Summer

If you want to grill the best burgers, dogs, fish and veggies, you need to put in some elbow grease to make sure your grill is in tiptop shape. From the grates to the valves, we'll walk you through how to give your grill a much-needed tune-up so you can avoid those unpleasant surprises once you start cooking. Even if you don't have your own barbecue, you can take these tips to the park or campsite for the best experience everywhere.

Clean the grates

Even if you take impeccable care of your grill with regular cleanings, if it's been out of regular use, it's a good idea to begin by removing the cobwebs and cleaning the grates. Remove the grates and soak them in soapy water to start.

The editorial team at recommends removing rust spots by scrubbing hard with a grill brush or steel wool. Then treat your grates as you would a cast iron pan and season them by rubbing an oil-soaked paper towel over the grates. Once you're finished, heat the grill to high and re-apply vegetable oil to the grates with paper towels attached to tongs. This process creates a layer of lubricant on the grill grates, preventing sticking and rusting. They suggest applying oil like this before you grill every time to keep the grates well-seasoned, similar to a cast iron pan. While you're at it, you might as well clean the outside of the grill and lubricate the knobs if they feel sticky.

Get the grease trap

If your grill has a grease trap and you didn't clean it at the end of last season, add that to your to-do list. "By cleaning out all the old grease, you will significantly reduce flare-ups and improve the overall heat transference and performance of your cooker," according to Empty the grease trap if possible and if necessary, replace it. In a pinch, you can use an empty paint can as a grease trap.

If the grease is particularly gunky, try pouring boiling water to loosen the grease up; just be careful and be sure that you have a system to catch the greasy water. While you're at it, clean the inside of the lid and make sure to scrape any ash left in the firebox.

Fuel up

If you saved charcoal from last summer, make sure it's dry. If not, make sure you're stocked.

For gas grills, make sure the hoses and valves are leak-free. If you notice that the flame on your gas grill is more yellow than blue, the team says it could be a sign that there are cracks or obstructions in the burner tubes — sometimes caused by insects making themselves at home in there — so check for tears, clear out debris and replace the tubes if necessary. Also make sure all the hose connections are tight and that your tank is full and up to code; most tanks are supposed to be inspected every few years.

Public grilling

So the grill is ready to roll and now all you need is the fuel. But what if the charcoal you stashed away before the first snowfall happened to have gotten wet? Never fear!  Assuming the briquettes have retained their original shape, simply dry them out as best as you can and you are ready to roll. Also be aware that when using instant charcoal, be sure to close the bag well after each use otherwise there's a good chance all of the fuel will evaporate. Your best bet when storing charcoal year round is an airtight plastic bin, available in the storage section of most hardware stores and big box retailers. And if you're cooking with gas, be sure to thoroughly check the hose and its connections for leaks before using for the first time as the cold winter weather can often do damage to these parts.

Season’s Eatings

Whether you're using your grill at home or using one in a public place, make sure to give it a good cleaning. Then oil it up before use, then let it get really hot to get rid of any residual debris. Once your grill is good to go, you can spend the rest of the summer cooking your way through our 50 best grilling recipes.

More from The Daily Meal:

The 4 Essential Grilling Tools You Need This Summer

15 Vegetarian Recipes to Serve at Your Next Cookout

How to Grill Burgers: Tips and Tricks for the Best Patties Ever

Foods You Should Never Serve at a Cookout

No-Cook Side Dishes for Summer Barbecues and Weeknight Dinners