Incinerated (or raw) meat, lighter fluid-spiked food, and falling-apart fish can really put a damper on a summer barbecue. Our tips will help get things in order.
You don't clean the grate every time
THE RESULT: The food sticks.
THE FIX: If you’re prying food off the grill every time, chances are there’s one crucial thing you aren’t doing: cleaning that grill. Before and after each grill session, clean the grates thoroughly with a wire brush. (A brass-bristle brush is best, since steel bristles can damage the enamel finish of some grates. Make sure the bristles are in good repair—you don’t want wayward bristles making their way into the food.) Each time you grill, preheat the rack with all burners on high for 10 to 15 minutes to incinerate any remaining residue from the last cookout, making it easy to clean off. Then, brush the grates vigorously with a grill brush so they’re smooth and free from any stuck-on food. Finally, make sure to oil both the grates and the food. Cleaning the grill isn’t just to prevent sticking. You’ll also get the best flavors when you’re not incorporating leftover bits from previous cookouts.