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Summer Grilling

Cleaning Tips for Grimy Grill Grates

How to clean your grates without burning down the house

Show your lid some love. When the grill is warm but not hot, clean the inside of the grill lid with a damp sponge or, if it's very dirty, a balled-up piece of foil or a brass brush. The most common question Weber gets from consumers is why the "paint" is peeling on the inside of their grill lids. That isn't paint, says Rassas. The lids are enameled, so they don't flake. That's accumulated grease and smoke that is flaking off. Scrub it off so it doesn't fall on food or smoke up the grill.

·         Don't forget the drip pan. After cooking, empty the drip pan when it's warm, not hot, to prevent flare-ups the next time. If grease is too thick, use a plastic putty knife to scrape off as much as you can.

·         Don't cheat the preheat. That's one of the biggest secrets to great grilling that Weber's Rassas tells consumers. Preheating your grill for 15 minutes not only burns off the excess grease, making the grate easier to clean, but also ensures that food will cook better and you'll get better searing for those chops and steaks.

·         Wait to baste. Yes, of course that barbecue sauce is delicious. But it's also probably high in sugar, which will make it burn easily. Wait until the last 10 minutes or so of cooking before basting your chicken or meat with sauce and you'll avoid burned food.

·         Poison control. To avoid the risk of food poisoning, remember never to reuse platters and utensils that have touched raw food. That means the plate you used to carry the burgers or raw chicken out to the grill needs to be thoroughly washed with hot, soapy water before being used for the cooked food. Same goes for the utensils. Wash your hands, too, if you touched the raw food.

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