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Updated on June 16, 2012


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.


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.) 


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.


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.


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    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Always a pleasure to share. :)

    • JerseyGirl profile image

      JerseyGirl 7 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Hi Springboard! I truly enjoyed this hub. Not only for the great info; but because it reminded me of, uh, me.

      While I don't like beer much, I always find a substitute.

      Sounds like a great marinade too - I will have to try it over the weekend! Thanks much :)

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      lol. I never considered an awning. One of those, why didn't I think of that moments. :) Glad to see you here.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks for coming by my hub, Springboard, because this is a hub I can sink my teeth into! Ha Ha. Anyway, we're pretty hardcore about our BBQ and do so come rain or sleet or snow or anything. We have an awning, for Pete's sake!

      Yep, we're crazy. But that's okay, 'cause we live in California!

      Nice to meet you.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I'm glad I could be of some help. Thanks to both dnrkrishnan25 and w_elizabeth for stopping in and commenting.

    • w_elizabeth profile image

      w_elizabeth 7 years ago

      very useful hub..thanks =D

    • profile image

      dnrkrishnan25 7 years ago

      useful ....hub..

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      A genius indeed. I'm strill trying to convince my wife of that.

      For me the spring part is fairly significant in that it's Milwaukee where I'm at, and I'd swear we we're lucky if we get 3 weeks of summer here sometimes. So, any sunshine or temps above 50 are a Godsend. :)

    • jstankevicz profile image

      jstankevicz 7 years ago from Cave Creek

      Two things jumped out at me when I saw this Hub. First, that brew looks soooo good. Second, spring? What's spring got to do with it? Here in AZ we grill year round, so cleaning is a quarterly event. I do it exactly as you suggest, even to shiny side down. You must be a genius!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      As I stated, it is essential. :)

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      I'm showing this one to my man! He'll love how you insist on a 12 pack on ice LOL

      Great hub

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      It's one of the easiest ways to clean the grill I've found...which of course leaves more time to work on the beer.

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 7 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Great tips! I shall try...

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Yes, for me when it comes to the beer and the BBQ, I swear without it the darn thing won't even light up. :)

    • maven101 profile image

      maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Great Hub just in time for BBQ season...I'll have to give that cleaning idea a try...the heat concentration should be much more effective than simply closing the lid ...I found spraying Oven-Off on the heat bars of my propane grill will remove the burnt-on detritus that accumulates from the dripping meat juices...

      I just gave your Pork roast Hub a thumbs up. Now, after cleaning my grill, I'll be ready to start the season with your savory recipe, the only exception being my preference for red wine vs beer...I simply cannot BBQ without a glass of red in hand...I hear my Jack Russell barking...he knows when I fire up the BBQ he is going to get treats...

      Have a great Spring, Summer, and Fall...I look forward to more of your delicious BBQ recipes...Larry

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      woodwoman—a soda will do if a soda it must be. :) Thanks for stopping by.

      Tim—garlic is like that in our house as well. I swear, between that and our additional love for onions (we go through a ton) we have no problems with vampires...or neighbors for that matter. :)

      Will definitely have to try this.

    • profile image

      Podjah(Tim)  7 years ago

      I tried a new marinade tonight.

      10 cloves garlic

      1 tbsp olive oil

      2 tsp mustard powder

      1.5 tsp salt

      1 tsp pepper

      1 tsp lemon zest

      I didn't have the lemon, so I skipped it. I made a nice wet rub for the pork chops. Very nice, and a wee bit potent. But you know how we love our garlic. :)

    • woodwoman profile image

      woodwoman 7 years ago

      I love it! But I don't drink beer, so I'll get a soda and get to work. Thanks so much, Springboard!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      lol. A man will surely find a way to do as much as he can to keep his hands free for holding on to his beer. :)

      Actually, it's sort of an outdoor version of the self-cleaning feature on your oven. It's all about the heat.

      Glad to provide a little fun. Who would ever have thought "clean" and "fun" could be somehow associated? :)

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

      I don't even have a barbecue but is that really how they are cleaned? Wow! Sounds like a man's type of cleaning! Can't see the kitchen grill cleaning so easily...

      Thanks for the recipe and the fun you provide with this hub:)

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      One of my faves. Thanks for stopping in for a visit.

    • ThomR profile image

      ThomR 7 years ago from Oregon

      I will have try your marinade recipe for chicken. Sounds super! Best to you and your family!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      eovery—Yeah, I think the aluminum foil simply concentrates the heat. Less of it gets out and so it gets much hotter. Though I've never owned a grill thermometer to check if I really do get higher temperatures.

      Hub Llama—I've heard of people doing it for 15 minutes and they say it works pretty well. I just prefer 25. It could be the size of my grill, but that time frame seems to work best for me. It may also depend on how often you clean it. BTW, I agree entirely bottled beer is best.


    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Ign and entertainmentplus—I am entirely convinced of this. ;) Thanks for stopping in.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Ann, it just might well work on your stove and oven...though hopefully you won't get billowing white smoke coming from it when you clean it. :)

      BTW, I have also heard of placing your grill grates in the oven whenever you use the self-cleaning feature. I've never tried it, but from what I hear it works great, and it's a great way to kill two birds with one stone—though the grill itself will still have to be cleaned.

    • entertianmentplus profile image

      entertianmentplus 7 years ago from United States

      You have to have beer its must for a good cleaning.

    • Ign Andy profile image

      Ign Andy 7 years ago from Green Home Office

      I agree a cold 6 pack will help through the cleaning. Thanks for the tips.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      Hey springboard! This is really good information. I love the way you present it and there is so much truth within it that I believe this will work on my stove and oven as well! Great job and thank you!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I am pointing hubby to this hub!! Thanks!

    • Hub Llama profile image

      Hub Llama 7 years ago from Denver, CO

      A man after my own heart. I do not understand how anyone can grill without a BOTTLE of beer in hand. (Cans are for soda, people.)

      I never heard about the foil thing before. I've been starting to get nervous that my set grill to high, wait 10 minutes, use grill brush, put on food method of cleaning was insufficient. Now, I'm pretty sure it is.

      I just have to ask the wife where we keep the foil. (Hey, if I can't put it in the microwave, I don't use it.)

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Wow, I usually just, heat the grill up for a while and let her clean herself out. I will have to try the aluminum foil, that could help concentrate the heat so the rest of the grill does not have to get so hot.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      lol. Yes, having a grill would, perhaps, be one very important item in the grill cleaning item list, right up there with the aluminum foil to cover the grate.

      Still, I'm glad to have had an impact. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • reddog1027 profile image

      reddog1027 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      What a hoot. It makes me want to run right out and clean my gas grill and I don't even have one. Oh and the tips and marinade recipe are great too.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      sheila, I forgot all about the potential for a few of those malt beverages like Mike's or something like that. Although I'm much for the beer, if the other beverages suit your fancy then why not? :)

      POP, sorry to hear about the rain. We've been waiting a while, and the sun has finally peeked it's head out and is actually providing some warmth to grill is ready to go.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Sometimes I think I'd rather get rid of my grill and buy a new one. Cleaning it is too ghastly! Thanks for the marinade. As soon as it stops raining , I'll try to fire up the barbecue.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      You have this down to a science. I'm trying to figure out how to do it, since I just never learned to like beer. I know, I've been deprived. Used to drink the foam off my Dad's glass of beer, but didn't learn to like it. So here's what I'm thinking - I'll have to drink something cold, in order to make all of those trips to the frig. Hmmm. I do like to welcome spring with a fuzzy naval. That'll do, won't it?

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      LOL. Hey, I never once gave that any thought. Thanks for the helpful reminder. :)

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 7 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      I suggest drinking at least a 6 pack before the cleaning starts. That way any pain from burns or injury will be minimized.