HOW TO CLEAN YOUR GAS GRILL
STEP ONE: SETTING THE MINDSET
When Spring rolls around, it's only a matter of time. The birds have all returned from their long vacation in the South. The robins are busy digging worms out of the snow-softened soil from the cold, harsh days of winter. That is, it's time to fire up the grill and get going on some great grilled food.
But behold. This is a process. You've waited 9 long, cold months for this day to come when the weatherman would start spouting off news about warm fronts and sunshine instead of showing you pictures of license plate laden snow drifts. You don't want to take this one lightly. You don't want to be hasty at all.
So for this task, the task of all tasks, we must start at the beginning here. Cutting corners is a dangerous prospect.
First and foremost is to bear in mind that no grilling time, even grill cleaning time, can be complete without an ice cold beer in hand, so let's get the ball started rolling there. This is an absolutely essential item for setting the mindset. So make sure you've got at least a six-pack of your absolute favorite brew very close by, and very much on ice.
On second thought. It's best to be duly prepared. Better make it a 12-pack just in case.
May I take this opportunity to recommend a few of my favorites here? Samuel Adam's Boston Lager is tops. If you live near the St. Louis area a Schlafly beer is a must-have. Other than that, whatever your fancy, whatever brew of barley and hops is for you, just make sure you have it handy. I'm inclined to believe, based on many years of careful research, that a grill could never truly become clean without an ice cold beer at the ready.
- FORGET RAGU; SPAGHETTI SAUCE FROM SCRATCH IS EASY
Forget the jar sauces. This spaghetti sauce recipe is super easy to make, and absolutely delicious. Every time I have offered it up to family and friends I get loads of compliments.
- Dr. Pepper Braised Pot Roast Dinner
A boneless beef chuck roast braised in the oven in a mixture that includes, of all things, Dr. Pepper.
- Poore Brother's Intensely Different Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
All this marinating and grilling is going to make your stomach growl. Check out Poore Brother's for Burger King brand chips, as well as TGIF flavors, Bob's Texas Style, Boulder Canyon, and Poore Brother's. Look for them at your grocer or buy online.
STEP TWO: BUILD A MARINADE
Marinades are a really great way to give an extra wow factor to any piece of meat that will ultimately wind up on your grill. I think it's fairly safe to say that any man who has ever grilled meat has also marinated meat at one time or another. No man's grilling cookbook would be complete without an arsenal of great marinades stashed somewhere.
But we're talking about a process here. I've waited a long time for this. So I want it to be special. Therefore, I want to build my marinade. I want my marinade to...marinate. So, making a marinade well in advance of marinating a meat, for me, is also an important step. If I marinate my marinade, I'm going to be assured an absolute marriage of flavor.
By the way, this marinade can be used for any kind of meat you like. For illustrative purposes I am going to use approximately 4 pounds of chicken thighs, which I have skinned.
Tip: I find that when skinning chicken, it is best for the meat to be partially thawed. You should also use a fairly sharp knife to get under the skin, peeling while cutting.
For the marinade:
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 or 3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp. ginger
2 oz. E&J Brandy
Put all of the ingredients into a nice sized old pickle jar, or other similar sized jar, lid it, and give it an initial vigorous shaking to mix all of the parts together well. Then place the jar into the refrigerator and leave it there for at least 24 hours. You want to let all the flavors come together magnificently.
Go ahead and take an ounce of brandy for yourself here if you'd like. This is hard work. You've earned it.
During the next 24 hours, it is important to make it a point to give the jar another shake each time you go to the fridge for something just to make sure everything is mixed well. A great opportunity for this is when reaching for one of those ice cold Boston Lager's or Schlafly beers—in fact, getting a fresh beer is a great incentive to give the marinade jar a little shake.
Hey, I've yet to find an excuse to drink a beer that I didn't like.
(Note: For marinating the chicken, I like to do this for 24 hours as well. Some might think that's a bit of overkill, but I tend to like it this way. The choice is yours, however, how long you want to marinate your chicken. The generally accepted time frame is about 3 hours.)
STEP THREE: CLEAN THE GRILL
Cleaning your gas grill is a fairly simple process. First, remove any old ceramic briquettes or lava rocks, if your grill has them, then scrape away any crusted on grime that has accumulated on the interior walls of your grill.
No need to be meticulous here, we're just knocking things down a bit so that our main step will be most effective.
Scoop out as much of the soot and the knocked off grime as you can. Then take some aluminum foil, and cover the entire grill grate, shiny side down. Why shiny side down? I'm not sure. But having specificity in my process does help to make it seem like I really know what I'm doing when the wife looks out the window.
Once the grill grate is completely foiled, close the lid and fire up the grill. Turn the knobs to HIGH and set the timer for at least 25 minutes. This is a great time to go and freshen your beer, or if you don't have one already, to get one.
Soon you should see billowing white smoke coming from your grill. Not to panic. This is what you want. The smoke is a sign that the grill is being cleaned.
Once 25 minutes has passed, turn off the grill and let it cool. Once cooled down, remove the aluminum foil from the grill grate, scrape away any white soot that may have formed from the cleaning process, and then brush the grate with either olive oil or mineral oil. Olive oil is best, but mineral oil works just fine as well.
Tip: Brushing oil onto your grill grate before and after each grilling helps to prevent food from sticking, and also will keep your grill grate cleaner throughout the year.
STEP FOUR: IT'S TIME TO GET THE GRILL DIRTY AGAIN
This step, naturally, needs no real explanation. You've been to this step many, many times before, that's the reason the grill had gotten so dirty in the first place. Building up grime and soot is all about firing up the grill often, and cooking up some truly awesome food. This is the moment it's all for.
You've marinated your chicken (or whatever meat you've chosen) and you're ready to go. Crack open a cold one, slap your meat onto the freshly cleaned grill, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
This really is what life is all about.
Other great grilling tips and ideas worth checking out:
- Grilled Pork Roast
By itself, a pork roast is an absolutely delicious meal. Most of the time I will cook it in the oven or I'll toss it in the crock pot. But when it's warm outside, I simply prefer not to turn on the oven if I...