If you happen to be using an older Weber grill, or any other type of barbeque grill that wasn't coated with porcelain enamel, you'll need to season it before using it for the first time and sometimes reseason after seasonal storage. For example, when using a gas barbeque for the first time, always season it unless the directions specify not to. The procedure is the same for charcoal grills as for gas grills since it's the cast iron grates you're seasoning, not the gas or charcoal component.
If you're salting right before cooking: Again, let the steaks sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, sprinkle both sides (and the edges) generously with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Press the salt crystals and pepper granules into the meat. We like to brush our steaks with a little bit of clarified butter right before we grill them. You could use a refined high-heat oil or a mixture of oil and clarified butter.
If scrubbing isn’t your thing, there's Carbona’s 2-in-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner. This kit contains a large zip-top bag and a 16 oz. bottle of cleaner. Simply place your grates in the bag, pour in the liquid, seal the bag and shake gently so the cleaner coats the racks. Let it sit (away from children and pets) eight hours, or even overnight. Afterward, remove the racks from the bag, lightly scrub away any stubborn residue and rinse them well. In our GH Institute Cleaning Lab tests, even grates from a charcoal smoker came out clean with virtually no effort, thanks to this product.
Who's right? It's not that the notion of burning pepper is complete nonsense—in theory, yes, black pepper could burn. The problem with peppering midway through cooking is that the pepper granules might not stick to the meat. You could pass a pepper grinder at the table, but if you're cooking outside and eating in an informal style, this may not be feasible.
One school of thought suggests that applying the pepper before cooking can cause the pepper to burn while you cook it, imparting a bitter flavor. Followers of this school suggest grinding pepper onto the steaks after searing them, or right before serving. The other school simply seasons their steaks with freshly ground black pepper before cooking and doesn't give it a second thought.
Too many people take their steaks directly from the chilly fridge to the hot fire. You will not get an evenly cooked steak this way—the outside of the meat will cook faster than the inside. It is best to take the steaks out of the fridge about half an hour before you plan to cook them; remove the wrapping, place on a plate, and let them come up to room temperature on the kitchen counter.
In lieu of fully re-seasoning your grill with each use, there are simple steps you can take to maintain and care for the condition of your grates. After each use, take a moment to run the wire brush quickly over the grates to clear away any immediate drippings. The heat in this case is helpful for removal when in smaller portions and in the moment. In the same step as above, use a pair of kitchen tongs and a paper towel to coat a layer of high heat oil over the cleaned grates before closing the grill top to cool.
Perhaps the most important step that most people don't do is allowing the steaks to sit once they are taken off of the grill. The steaks need to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving or cutting them. This gives the juices a chance to redistribute throughout the steak, which both helps it finish cooking evenly and keeps the meat moister and more flavorful. Place the cooked steaks on a cutting board or platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Once rested, either slice or serve the steaks whole.
If the grates are really dirty, soak them a second time to help soften and remove more gunk without expending extra elbow grease. Or, try the new Sienna Grilltastic Grill Steam Cleaning System. Fill this electric scrubber with water, plug it in and in seconds the combination of the dishwasher-safe stainless steel brush head and hot steam will be blasting grease from your grates. (It cleaned our GH Test Kitchen grill so well, our recipe testers asked if they could keep it.) Finally, rinse the grates well and let them dry.
Brining or soaking the ears in water before grilling is thought to season and also plump the corn. There are two problems with those theories, though: In order to take on any salt from the brine, ears would have to soak for several days, at which point you’re losing valuable sweetness as the ears age. Secondly, if you’re buying fresh juicy corn, you cannot make it any juicier. While soaking may benefit older or off-season ears, it has no added value for fresh summer corn.
Cast iron grill grates conduct heat quickly and evenly, cooking and searing meat for that distinctive charbroiled flavor. But to achieve those delicious results, cast iron grill grates need proper seasoning and regular care. Seasoning cast iron grill grates when they're new keeps your food from sticking and can prevent rust to make the grates last longer. Cooking on cast iron helps to create a smooth, non-stick surface to minimize seasoning needs in the future. Cast iron is porous, and as meat cooks, fats and oils soak into the pores where they harden.
Check the fuel lines for invisible openings. Create a mixture of soap and water. Make sure you stir the mixture around so it gets really sudsy. Then, use a paintbrush to brush the soapy mixture onto the fuel lines. Turn on the gas, and brush some more soapy water onto the gas lines. If any bubbles form on the gas lines, that indicates a gas leak. Immediately replace any fuel lines that exhibit signs of a gas leak.