Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Moose on Fire: Tune-Up Those Grills, Girls and Boys

June 7th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Debbie Moose, our Gal and a Grill columnist. She writes the Sunday Dinner column in the Raleigh News & Observer, and it’s been nominated as Best Newspaper Food Column in the Association of Food Journalists’  national competition. We’ll know in October when we meet how she placed against Rob Kasper, of the Baltimore Sun and Lisa Abraham at the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio.

A clean grill means tasty foods

By Debbie Moose, columnist

It’s all over the place this time of year – ads and articles proclaiming Memorial Day and the month of June as “the official start of grilling season.” Maybe for fair-weather grillers, but not for you, my friends — the true devotees of the flame.

debmoose-mugLike you, I cook outdoors all year long – my father and I once cooked ribs in the snow on his rotisserie-equipped grill. But now is a good time to schedule an annual tune-up for your grill.

  • Check for loose bolts, missing or rusty screws, etc. Repair or replace as necessary. Rusty welded rivets can be cleaned with a wire brush, then apply a rust-inhibiting primer and paint the exterior with rust-resistant metal paint, says This Old House magazine.
  •  Replace damaged wheels or handles. Contact your grill’s manufacturer to get replacement parts.
  •  Clean aluminum grills with a solution of dishwashing soap.
  •  For gas grills, check hoses and connections for leaks and replace if needed. Burner ports can fill with grease and affect performance. The magazine advises that, while the grill is cold, clean burners with a stainless steel wire brush or flexible pipe cleaner.
  •  Remove accumulated ash. Empty and clean grease traps regularly. Check lava rocks for signs of wear or excessive grease.
  • For charcoal grills, use hot, soapy water to clean the inside and outside of the grill. Oven cleaner can work on dirty grates or interiors, but it may damage enamel paint. Check your manufacturer’s instructions.
  •  Allow a little extra heating time on the first use after cleaning any grill, to be sure any chemical residue burns off.

Remember: A clean grill means tastier foods and less chance of trouble when playing with fire.


Debbie Moose, a food writer and cookbook author from Raleigh, NC, writes twice a month here about cooking outdoors. Check out her cookbooks: Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool; Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack; Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home; and Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy. Find out what else Debbie is cooking on her blog, Moose Munchies, at her web site, debbiemoose.com.


Tags: Moose on Fire: A Gal and a Grill

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jan Norris // Jun 10, 2009 at 1:53 am

    For my Florida readers who keep their grills on the patios and carports: You might want to invest in a cover for your grill — not only does our soaking rain eventually cause screws and ash pans to rust out, but the salt air down here corrodes them quickly. Vinyl covers can be found at most home improvement warehouses and grill shops, or online.

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