Spring has finally arrived! The warm sunshine puts me in a joyful, sing-out-loud mood. And warmer weather means it’s time to fire up the grill – another reason I really love this season. Happiness for me is sharing a delicious barbecued meal on the patio with friends and family. It’s the perfect summer food that makes the most of sunny days. Here are my tips and tricks to begin this vibrant season on the right foot!
Get started with a thorough cleaning.
Since oil and grease have a tendency to build up on the grill, I begin the season by giving my BBQ a good scrub. With the heat and humidity, this build-up can give food a rancid taste if not removed.
I heat my empty BBQ on high before turning it off and letting it sit a few minutes. I then vigorously scour the grill with a stiff brush.
If needed, I use a non-toxic DIY cleaner made of baking soda and water (mix enough of each to obtain a paste).
I apply a generous amount of cleaner on the grill in the evening, leave it overnight and then scrub it the next day with a brush.
Always check the propane tank
Each spring, it is crucial that you take a moment to check the condition of your propane tank. Personally, I make sure that it is undamaged and no more than 10 years old.
To find out if the tank is empty, I pour hot water along one of its sides and then slowly pass my hand over the same side. If the tank contains propane, the side of the tank will remain cold up to the level of the propane. Where the side is hot, there is none. It’s a great trick to determine how much propane is left in the tank.
You can easily exchange an empty tank in good condition for a full one at certain gas stations.
Damaged or unusable tanks
When my gas tank is old, I make sure I dispose of it safely. I take it to the eco-centre in my city, to a gas station or to a store that accepts them. Did you know that your old propane tank is considered hazardous household waste (HHW)? It poses a danger, so getting rid of it intelligently is important. It can still contain a small amount of gas – enough to create an explosion if compressed in the back of a garbage truck. Never throw it in the garbage!
Disposing of old tanks in a safe and responsible manner is simple (PDF).
You can also check with your municipality to find out when HHW is collected from homes and place it outside for pick-up.
Charcoal BBQs: Only for the daring?
Cooking on a charcoal BBQ can be difficult to master. But If you really want to become a BBQ maestro, cooking over charcoal is the only way to go – it gives meat a unique and exquisite flavour. Hardwood charcoal can also be used to smoke meat and fish. Interesting fact: Charcoal BBQs heat hotter, which reduces the required cooking time.
A few helpful tips at the grill
It’s much easier to cook thickly sliced food. Vegetables cut in such a way won’t fall between the grill and pieces of meat stay juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside. Also, it’s worth it to take your time when grilling. By cooking your food slowly over medium heat, you’ll avoid burning it. Generally, I avoid placing my food directly over the flame. This way, whatever I am cooking never becomes too blackened or burnt.
Come back at the end of the summer to get my tips and tricks on how to safely store your BBQ for the winter!
But until then, have a great barbecue season!