Sure, May can be fickle, but it is warming up and many of us are ready to get our grill on after long winter hours in the kitchen. Those smoky scents rising from the grill on a lazy weekend day, or even after a crazy work day, trigger instant “relax” messages.
But if the grill has wintered over, now is the time to give it a quick once-over to make sure it is in top shape for the months to come.
• If you use propane, get the tanks filled (having two tanks is a treat; one is always filled, and you’ll never find yourself in the middle of cooking with no propane left). Check the fittings. Make sure they are hand-tightened (don’t use tools, which can over-tighten and damage connections). Open the tank and make sure you don’t smell any propane. (If you do, you want to recheck connections; if it’s still a problem, have the grill connections checked by pros).
• If you grill over coals and/or hardwood, stock up. Buy a watertight bin, such as this galvanized steel can designed by Steve Raichlen (master griller), to store the coal and wood nearby. (You could also use one to hold ash after grilling.)
• Clean the grill. Real Simple offers this great speed-cleaning-your-grill checklist with instructions on how to get the job done in 15 minutes. This is a great way to make sure you are ready to grill as soon as the mood strikes you.
• Check you tools and replace broken/worn tools if needed. Must-haves include the grill-cleaning brush and a pair of long tongs, and, if you are grilling over a wooden deck (or if you just want to make sure to keep the surface below the grill clean), place the grill over a fireproof mat.