Make your next barbecue become a real summer blockbuster with these quick tips on how to get your grill in tip top shape. ~ Darren Hoffman

Many believe that Memorial Day marks the arrival of summer, but for me it is firing up the grill! You may have all of your secret spices and rubs all ready for your chicken and burgers, but is your barbecue ready for them?

Here are a few ideas on how to get your grill in shape for the summer.

Safety first

After a long winter, all sorts of things can happen to your grill. Take a close look outside and inside for any debris that may have worked its way into the nooks and crannies of your grill. It’s also a good idea to inspect the handles and shelves to be sure they haven’t rusted or loosened up to an unsafe level.

Be sure to inspect all propane lines and connectors for visual wear and tear. After coating the entire gas system with soapy water, including the regulator, valves and hoses, pressurize the system by turning the propane on. Closely inspect for any bubbles which could mean leaking gas. This may require tightening or replacing components and repeating the test until all bubbles are gone.

Keep it clean

For the exterior, warm soapy water and a washcloth will usually remove the dirt and grime. If you have stainless steel features like nobs or tables use a stainless steel cleaner with a soft microfiber or terry cloth to bring the bling back. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and always follow the grain of the steel to avoid scratching the finish.

Let’s face it all of the magic happens inside the grill. You may be tempted to believe that grates and interior when covered with charred particles will add a special taste, but it is most likely just dirt and grime…GROSS. Remove the grates and flavor bars and thoroughly clean them. Brushing them with a stainless steel brush and rinsing with warm water will do the trick. Next, check out the actual burner and inspect for clogs in the outlets. The same stainless steel brush will get open them up and help create an even grilling pattern. Finally, reassemble the parts and crank it to high and let it run for about 15 minutes to burn off all residue and keep the meat from sticking to the grill.

Now get cooking

Finally, remember to check your propane supply before grilling. There is nothing worse than throwing on a steak only to find out you need to scramble and finish cooking inside. Although many grills have propane level indicator based on the weight of the tank, I love my grill pressure gauge that seems to be more accurate.

All that is left is to get out there and start grilling!

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