Don’t light up the grill for the first time until you take these steps:
GET YOUR GRILL READY
Make sure you don’t have a gas leak: Check that there’s gas in the tank, turn it on, then mix dishwashing detergent with water and spray it on the connections. If you see it bubble up, you’ve got a leak. Turn off the gas and find out why.
Make sure your ignitor is functioning correctly: An ignitor should quickly and easily produce a flame. If not, it could be broken or simply hampered by the build-up of grease and debris.
Check for spiders and other critters: Spiders can be a grill’s worst enemy because they love the smell of propane and they like to build their nests inside the burners, which can block the flow of gas and cause uneven flames and even fire.
Give it a good cleaning: Clean out the connections with pipe cleaners and a can of compressed air. Use a soap-and-water solution to clean the cooking grids, the flavorizer bars and the drip-catching area.
Re-oil the grates: Use olive oil or a grilling spray to keep foods from sticking.
For charcoal grills: Clean out any remaining ashes from last season. Remove any charcoal and replace it with new charcoal. Wipe down the grill and the grate.
— From LNP Archives
ESSENTIAL GRILLING TOOLS
Here are some basic grilling accessories every cook should consider:
• Long-handled tongs for reaching the back of the grill.
• Long-handled flat spatula for flipping burgers.
• Wire-grated basket to cook vegetables.
• Long-handled grill brush. They come in many different styles, materials and price points. The important thing is they get the gunk off your grill. It’s a good idea to buy a new one every year.
• Instant-read meat thermometer.
• Basting brush. Try one with heat-resistant silicone bristles.
• Aluminum foil. It’s handy for wrapping and grilling vegetables so they don’t fall through the cooking grate.
• Grill mitt to keep your hands protected.
• Skewers. Metal ones are a better investment if you use them often. If you buy cheaper wooden ones, be sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes so they don’t burn.
• Propane tank gauge. It’s not a necessity, but if you’ve ever run out of propane just as you were about to throw burgers on the grill, you may see the value in this little gadget.
NONESSENTIAL GRILLING TOOLS
You really don’t need these, but they might be fun to have:
• Triple-initial monogrammed steak brand: Designed by a Texas cattle rancher, this personalized brand by Williams-Sonoma will leave no doubt who made those delicious steaks on your backyard grill. $51.96.
• Grillbot: Why clean your grill when you can get a robot to do it for you? This robot has automatic brass brushes and runs on a rechargeable battery. $89.95.
• Lighted grilling tools: No fear of cooking in the dark with this set of four stainless steel tools from Hammacher Schlemmer, each with a built-in flashlight that illuminates your grill surface with an LED that simulates natural daylight. $99.95.