Lighting the Fire
There are some people out there like me, who prefer that ridiculously hot, sweat-inducing heat of the summer over the bone-aching, lip-chapping, afraid to get out of the shower winter. And because the summer is upon us, it is time go outside and brush the spider webs off the grill.
It’s this time of the year, that most people go out and lift the cover off of the grill, fearing what might jump, scurry, fly, or crawl at you. After the fight or flight response has faded away, you look at the condition of your grill racks. Typically you see at an overly rusty grill rack, with bits of charred meat and veg from dinners past.
Grilling is as much an experience with your food as it is a way to cook your food. Taking your food out to a grill, somehow elevates the eating and cooking experience. The key to enjoying this experience is to have a grill worth grilling on. A well maintained grill will relieve the frustration of sticking, burning, and the regret of ever opening the grill in the first place.
First thing is first, scrape all the rust off. A hot grill is easier to clean then a cold one. Preheat the grill to high-heat; allow the heat to “bake” the grill racks. With a very stiff metal brush, scrape the hot grill racks. This is the dirty work part of getting your grill ready, but is extremely necessary. Don’t spend 30 minutes scraping, but give it a good scraping for a couple minutes. The make or break it habit of good grilling is whether or not you oil your grates. Oiling the grates is simple, and should be done before and after grilling food, but it needs to happen before grilling food. After the grill has been scraped, dip a dish cloth in a vegetable oil and, with tongs, wipe the oiled cloth over the grill racks.
Clean, oiled grill racks will accomplish two things:
1) Food will be less likely to stick to the grill rack, and will make grilling a much better experience
2) A clean grill rack will produce restaurant quality, show-off-your-skills-to-friends, photography- deserving grill marks
The June issue (now available) has two, out of this world grilled dishes: Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs (pictured here) and Grilled Farmers’ Market Sandwich. Both of these are delicious, and worth scrubbing a grill for. Another favorite, Barbecue Chicken Sliders with Pickled Onions.