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.
After about 30 minutes, turn the heat off and let the grill cool down. Wipe things down to remove any lingering residue and you should be good to go. The grill grates should have turned a bronze or dark brown color if they are metal or a darker brown/black color if they are cast iron. For cast iron grates, the oil will have penetrated the pores of the metal and created a smooth non-stick surface that will be perfect to cook on.
Check the ignition system. Turn the gas off, and test your ignition button to see if it creates a spark. If both the pressure regulator on the gas tank and the ignition system are running normally (meaning the pressure regulator is tracking and maintaining correct gas tank pressure, and the ignition system is sparking and lighting correctly), you can finish testing the grill by turning the gas back on and lighting the grill up as you normally would.
Chefs and the cooks who know their way around a kitchen (or a grill) know how meat feels when it's raw and when it's cooked. The only way to learn this is to basically poke the steaks at different stages of cooking. Raw meat is almost squishy, rare meat is quite soft, medium rare meat resists your poking a bit, and medium meat springs back. Once meat feels firm, it's at least well done, if not completely overdone. Gently press a finger onto your steaks—being careful not to burn yourself—to teach yourself the difference.
The first thing you have to do is get it home safely. (I laughed and laughed when I heard this story). Apparently there is a vacant lot on the corner right next to the local WalMart. The employees at WalMart call this lot the Grill Eater Lot. There are several smashed up grills that ended up dumped in that vacant lot as their owners took the corner too fast and lost the grill out of the back of their pickup trucks (I totally need to drive over there and get a picture). So – a tip for the new grill owner – tie it down before you leave the store :-).
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 you've purchased a new Weber grill, the company says that seasoning the cast iron grates isn't necessary. A porcelain enamel coating is already added to the cast iron so you don't need to season it at all. Instead, they recommend that when using a grill for the first time, you turn up the heat for about 15 minutes, then brush it clean with a stainless steel bristle brush.
The trick with seafood is to make sure it doesn’t stick. So coat it lightly with oil and check that the grate is clean and very hot. For fillets and whole fish, you can also try this foolproof (albeit more time-consuming) method: Place the fish on a soaked cedar plank or a lightly oiled piece of heavy-duty foil, then grill (covered), over medium indirect heat.
There are a ton of different grill cleaning gizmos to choose from, but nothing can beat a long handled wire brush, a wire bottle-style brush, a five-gallon bucket, and some elbow grease. Avoid toxic cleaning formulas. They can impart an off taste to foods, and aren’t necessary: warm water and dish soap and a paste of vinegar and baking soda are all the cleaning power you need. If your grill has stainless steel exterior surfaces, a good stainless steel cleaner (or vinegar) imparts an extra shine. You’ll also need some durable gloves and a few disposable sponges and rags. Pick an overcast day; hot sun can make it hard to remove streaks from cleaners (plus, it’s cooler working weather).
Outdoor grilling is a great way to get together with family and friends and enjoy tasty food. However, the outdoor fun is only possible with a grill that is cleaned and maintained throughout the year. There are a few simple cleaning steps that you can do after every time you grill, along with deeper, semi-annual cleaning steps to keep your grill working its best for years to come. An outdoor grill that is kept clean and maintained will stay in good working order and will ensure that the food you cook on it always tastes great.