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A Quick and Dirty Guide to Cleaning Your Grill or Smoker

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If you’re reading this, chances are good you’ve been grilling throughout the winter and early spring. In any case, now is a perfect time to give your grill or smoker some love. A clean grill not only performs better, it makes you look like a professional.

Steven and I have written numerous blogs on spring grill maintenance. (See links to them below.) This is a distillation of that information with more emphasis on non-toxic cleaning products and useful tools to make the job easier. We’ll also share our best tips for getting your grill or smoker in prime condition for the grilling season ahead.

How to Clean Your Grill or Smoker
1. Spread a tarp over the area where you intend to work.
Before you begin, spread a large heavy-duty waterproof tarp over the area where you intend to work. Grease and carbonized debris can make quite a mess of your patio, driveway, or even the grass.

 

2. Fill a large bucket or tub with hot soapy water.
Fill a large bucket or tub—we like the rectangular bus tubs like those used in restaurants—with hot soapy water. A dishwashing detergent that’s good on grease, such as Dawn, works best.

 

3. Disconnect the gas tank.
Disconnect the gas tank. If it is nearly empty, set it aside for refilling. (To determine the gas level, pour boiling water over the shoulders of the tank. The gas line will reveal itself.) Transport it in a plastic milk crate like this one.

 

4. Loosen any food stuck to the grill grates.
Using a sturdy wire grill brush, loosen any food stuck to the grill grates. Remove the grates, warming rack, Flavorizer bars, drip pans or plates, ash catcher, grease bucket (on pellet grills), etc., and soak them in the hot soapy water. If they are too large for the bucket, slip them into a sturdy garbage bag with soap and water and set aside to soak. Dump any unused charcoal or ash.

 

5. Remove the burner tubes, if it’s an option.
On some gas grill models, the burner tubes are attached to the unit with a small screw or cotter pin. Remove them if it’s an option. Use a bent paper clip to clear any that appear to be plugged. If the burner tubes are not removable, cover them with heavy-duty foil. (Be sure to remove the foil before firing up your grill.)

 

6. If cleaning a pellet grill, remove all the pellets from the pellet bin.
If cleaning a pellet grill, remove all the pellets from the pellet bin, including any that remain in the augur or firebox. Under no circumstances do you want them to come in contact with water or moisture, as they will disintegrate and cause you all kinds of headaches.

 

7. Scrape the underside of the grill lid to loosen and remove carbonized debris.
With a plastic putty knife, pot scrubber, or other dull-bladed tool, scrape the underside of the grill lid to loosen and remove carbonized debris. (It will look like flaking paint.) Clean the firebox with a shop vacuum, using the putty knife to dislodge any burned-on bits.

 

8. Clean the gas line.
Clean the gas line with pipe cleaners or a similar tool—a chopstick wrapped with a paper towel, for example. This is often a hiding spot for spiders or other insects.

 

9. Wash the interior of the grill.
Wash the interior of the grill with hot soapy water and a plastic sponge or scrubby. (Metal scrubbies can easily scratch stainless steel.)

 

10. Sweep out any leaves or other debris from the lower cabinet.
If your grill has a lower cabinet, use a whisk broom to sweep out any leaves or other debris.

 

11. Clean the outside of the grill.
Clean the outside of the grill with hot soapy water, white vinegar, or a non-toxic stainless steel cleaner like Simple Green Stainless Steel Polish. (Try to work on a cloudy day for less streaking.) Polish following the “grain” of the finish. Use a soft toothbrush to clean outside knobs.

 

12. If you own a pellet grill, clean the inside of the chimney.
If you own a pellet grill, remove the cap (it will likely need a good soaking) and use a paint stick, dowel, or bottle brush to clean the inside of the chimney. Carefully wipe down the temperature probe (located inside the firebox) to ensure it continues to give you accurate readings. Clean WiFi-connected mechanisms following the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

13. Dry the grill with soft microfiber towels.
 

14. Scrub the grill grates and any other parts you’ve been soaking.
Scrub the grill grates and any other parts you’ve been soaking. If the debris is stubborn, sprinkle it with white vinegar and coarse salt or baking soda. Let sit for 30 minutes, then scrub vigorously; rinse with clean water from a garden hose.

We’ve discovered a pumice brick, often sold in the grilling section of hardware stores, is an effective tool for cleaning grill grates. (Do not use on porcelain grates.) Be sure to rinse well to remove any dust from the brick. If your grates are cast iron, dry them thoroughly after cleaning and coat with peanut oil.

Grill grates hopelessly rusted? Bite the bullet and invest in a new set. Ditto for any Flavorizer bars that have oxidized or burned through, or lava stones.

 

15. Replace the battery in your grill’s igniter.
If needed, replace the battery in your grill’s igniter. (Many people don’t realize it’s powered by batteries.)

 

16. Lubricate any moving parts (such as grill vents), with WD-40.
 

17. Reassemble the grill.
Reassemble the grill. If apropos, reconnect the gas tank (preferably topped off). Fire up the grill to burn off any soapy residue. Fifteen minutes should be sufficient.

 

18. Spritz your grill grates with water after each grill session to keep them looking pristine.
To keep your grill grates looking pristine, spritz them with water while they’re still screaming hot after each grill session. Any burned on bits of food or sauce should release easily. The process is a bit like deglazing a pan. If the grates are cast iron, finish your grill session by coating them lightly with vegetable oil.

 

19. Prepare a grilled or smoked feast to reward your hard work!
 

For additional blogs devoted to cleaning and maintaining your grill, click here.

Do you have any questions about cleaning your grill or smoker? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram!

The post A Quick and Dirty Guide to Cleaning Your Grill or Smoker appeared first on Barbecuebible.com.

Barbecue University™,Grill Maintenance,Homepage Feature,grill cleaning

By: Cialina TH
Title: A Quick and Dirty Guide to Cleaning Your Grill or Smoker
Sourced From: barbecuebible.com/2020/04/28/guide-to-cleaning-your-grill-or-smoker/
Published Date: 04/30/20

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Grilling Recipes

Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Skewers

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When I'm devising a marinade, I always taste it to ensure the flavor and seasoning are all in line with expectations. It's not uncommon for a marinade to get pushed in a directions that makes it taste a bit overboard on its own, but that's often needed because flavors will get diminished when the marinade is adorning its subject and has been cooked. There have been some marinades though that I try and think, “I'd eat that with a spoon.” I don't think I've actually developed a recipe though where the marinade purposefully did double duty as a meat seasoning and dip, so I figured I might as well give that shot and see how it works out. In the case of these jalapeño-lime chicken skewers, the answer was, surprisingly well.

The trickiest part of this recipe was finding the right balance to the sauce so it would taste good as a dip, but also have enough flavor to work as a marinade. To achieve that, I started with tangy Greek yogurt as a base since that seemed like a good direction for a dual purpose sauce. I pureed the yogurt in a blender with cilantro, cumin, jalapeño, garlic, and lime juice and zest. The result was a sauce that had a good hit of heat, hefty tang, and appealing green hue. The cumin and garlic also gave it some extra depth and nuance that I may have dialed up if this would have been used a marinade alone, but I knew would come out in the final dish after the chicken was dipped in the sauce.

Jalapeño-lime Chicken Skewers

Once I had the sauce settled, I took to the task of cubing up chicken for the skewers. I advocate for chicken thighs for this use in most instance because the added flavor and fat in the dark meat adds insurance to ending with juicy results. The only place breasts actually do better than thighs in this application is they cube up more nicely—for the thighs, I sometimes have to cut longer strips that I then fold over on the skewer to arrive at a more cube-like shape.

Jalapeño-lime Chicken Skewers

After the chicken was prepped, I moved it into a medium bowl and poured in roughly half the sauce. I tossed that to ensure the chicken was all well coated, then covered, and set it in the fridge. While the marinade had a fair amount of lime juice, the citric acid doesn't have such a drastic effect on the texture of the meat that it can't be left to marinate overnight. The marinade doesn't need that long though to do its work and I only let mine rest in the fridge for about six hours—prepping it in the morning and then cooking it in the mid-afternoon.

Jalapeño-lime Chicken Skewers

When the time came to grill, I skewered up the chicken and then lit a full chimney of coals. After letting the grill preheat, I placed the skewers over direct, high heat and let them cook. At the start, they stuck to the grates with might, but as they seared, the meat began to release and I was able to begin flipping.

Jalapeño-lime Chicken Skewers

I had to deal with some sticking still here and there, but nothing that a little extra scrape with the tongs couldn't handle. As each side was more evenly seared, I was able to move the chicken around easier, at which point I flipped and turned them more regularly so they would be well browned and cooked through all over. You can always test doneness with an instant-read thermometer—you're looking for between 160 to 165°F—but I found for this recipe, once everything was well browned, the chicken was definitely done, which took about ten minutes of grilling time total.

Jalapeño-lime Chicken Skewers

Following the glamour shots, I verified chicken itself had a very nice flavor. The marinade definitely was on the lighter side, but the brightness of the lime and cilantro came through along with a bit of earthiness from the cumin and fruitiness from the jalapeño, but with very little heat. That mellow, yet effective, flavor got a big boost after a dip in the reserved sauce, which brought in a lot of what was already happening, but in a more pronounced way that also delivered a nice spiciness which was balanced by the cooling yogurt. It definitely made a good case that a sauce can do dual work as a marinade and dip given the right attention to detail.

Published on Thu Sep 9, 2021 by Joshua Bousel

Print Recipe

  • Yield 4 servings
  • Prep 15 Minutes
  • Inactive 4 Hours
  • Cook 10 Minutes
  • Total 4 Hours 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Sauce
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup packed roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 medium jalapeño, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  •  
  • 2lbs chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Metal or bamboo skewers
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro, for garnish

Procedure

  1. To make the marinade: Place yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, lime zest, soy sauce, cumin, and brown sugar in the jar of a blender. Puree until all ingredients are very finely chopped and sauce is green and smooth. Transfer 1/2 of sauce to a medium bowl, add in cubed chicken, and to evenly coat. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator and marinate for 4 hours to overnight. Transfer remaining sauce to an airtight container and place in refrigerator.
  2. Thread chicken onto skewers so each piece is touching the next.
  3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill chicken, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides and center of meat registers between 160-165°F on an instant read thermometer, about 10 minutes total. Transfer skewers to platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with reserved sauce for dipping.

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By: meatmaster@meatwave.com (Joshua Bousel)
Title: Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Skewers
Sourced From: meatwave.com/recipes/grilled-jalapeno-lime-chicken-skewers-recipe
Published Date: 09/09/21

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Grilling Recipes

Hot Link Stuffed Tri-tip

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I used a long slender knife to make a cut all the way from the wide end of the tri-tip to the narrow end. I stopped just short of cutting through the narrow end.

The best way to do this is to make a cut all the way through then turn your knife about 45°F and make another cut all the way through.

Insert about a teaspoon of butter in the entryway..

Push the kielbasa, hotlink, etc. all the way in. If it's having too much trouble, try making the cavity just a little wider with your knife.

I used a link of all beef kielbasa with jalapeños in my stuffed tri-tip.

Sprinkle about 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of course kosher salt on the top side of the tri-tip. I use Morton's in the blue box since it is flaked and dissolves much faster and easier than most other kosher salt. Feel free to use another brand/kind but the amount may need to be modified slightly depending on its granule shape and size.

Please see my article on wet brining vs. dry brining for an in-depth look at this subject.

I also sprinkled it real good with my Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub)

Place the tri-tip in the fridge overnight if possible or at least 4 hours to give the salt plenty of time to react with the meat.

Here it is after 10 hours.. ready to go in the smoker.

Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225°F using indirect heat. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.

Once your smoker is heated up and producing smoke, place the tri-tip directly on the grate or you can use a pan/rack to ensure the smoke is able to get to all sides.

I used the Hasty Bake Legacy for this cook.. you can use any smoker or even the grill for this as long as you maintain the correct temperature and remove it when it reaches it's perfect finish temperature.

Let the tri-tip cook for 2 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 130°F. If you run at 275°F, it will get done in about an hour or less.

If you want to finish the tri-tip with a sear (recommended), remove it from the smoker when it reaches 110°F and place it on a very hot grill, griddle or iron pan. Sear all sides of the tri-tip and don't forget the sides/edges.

On the Hasty Bake you simply need to remove the deflector over the charcoal pan and raise the pan so that it sits right below the grates in the “sear” position.

Watch the meat carefully and turn as required to sear evenly.

Once the tri-tip is finished cooking, set it on a cutting board and slice it according to the diagram on THIS PAGE.

Just beautiful!!

All sliced up!

Great recipe, Rob! It was really cool having a piece of sausage/hot link nestled into each slice and the flavor was out of this world!

Beef,Newsletter Archive,2021,Sausage,Tri-tip

By: Jeff Phillips
Title: Hot Link Stuffed Tri-tip
Sourced From: www.smoking-meat.com/april-29-2021-hot-link-stuffed-tri-tip
Published Date: 04/29/21

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Grilling Recipes

Mad Scientist BBQ Spare Ribs v2.0

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Smoked another slab or ribs and this time I started up the XL slowly to better control the temp. Rubbed with a little Kosher Salt and Oakridge Dominator Sweet Rib Rub. Smoked for 4 hours at 225. Ramped temp up to 275 gradually for an hour. Then wrapped in foil for 30 minutes. Unwrapped and glazed with Rufus Teague Honey Sweet for 30 minutes. This time each rib was moist compared to my last attempt. I believe this is because I was able to control the temp better by not opening the dome several times to spritz. Next time I may go back to Salt and Pepper for the rub and apply 2 hours prior to the cook. My thermapen was probing tender after the short wrap and the temp was 190 internal.

EggHead Forum

By: dstearn
Title: Mad Scientist BBQ Spare Ribs v2.0
Sourced From: eggheadforum.com/discussion/1227749/mad-scientist-bbq-spare-ribs-v2-0
Published Date: 04/26/21

Did you miss our previous article…
https://amazinghamburger.com/outdoor-cooking/wet-brining-vs-dry-brining/

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