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.
These are the workhorses of your cooker and because they come in direct contact with your food, they need to be clean. Start by removing the cool grates and wiping or brushing off as much of the big, loose debris as you can with a mesh or nylon scrub pad or a brush. In a sink or large bucket, mix up a sudsy solution of a grease-cutting dish liquid, like Dawn, and hot water and place the grates in to soak. If they don’t completely fit in, immerse one half, soak, then flip it over to get the other side. After soaking 15 to 30 minutes, put on some rubber gloves (like GH Seal holder, Playtex) and scrub the grates clean with a sturdy grill brush or scrubbing pad. Take extra care with porcelain grates, because you don't want to damage them.
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.
To achieve a crust on the outside while keeping the interior of the steak cooked to your liking, you need to have two different temperatures set on your grill. In order to get those nice grill marks, you need to heat your grill to high heat to essentially sear the steaks. To determine the heat is hot enough, you should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the grill grate for 1 second before it feels too hot and you must pull it away.
After your new griddle is squeaky clean, it’s time to darken it up! This is where we transform the griddle top into a blackened, non-stick perfect cooking surface. So, turn on the burners to the max and let the heat do its thing. After 10-15 minutes, you’ll notice the griddle top will start to brown. Once you see the color change, move on to the next step.
Reassemble the grill, then turn it on to its highest temperature setting and close the hood. There may even be a cleaning level on your burner dials. After a few minutes, open the lid and scrape the grates vigorously with a non-bristle metal grill brush. One I particularly like is the $15 Grill Bristleless Scraper from Taylor. This brush has multiple surfaces and edges to attack and remove grime from grill grates. It even has a handy bottle opener.
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).
Brush your grill grates after every use (inspect for wire brush bristles before cooking), and thoroughly clean them every couple of months, depending on grill usage. And twice a year, you should give your grill a thorough cleaning, which helps it cook better and last longer. The basic process is the same for gas or charcoal grills; charcoal grills just have fewer parts.
Cookout season is just a few short weeks away, and if your gas or charcoal grill is still covered with the remnants of last year's cheeseburgers and Hawaiian chicken, now's the perfect time to give it a refresh as part of your spring cleaning routine. These speedy tips from the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab come from years of testing outdoor grills as well as the cleaners and tools you need to keep them working well (and your food tasting great).
Inspect your burners for signs of corrosion or anything blocking the row of flame holes. Burner tubes are inviting spots for spiders to lay eggs if your grill goes unused for a while. Use a wire brush and clean them by brushing back and forth over the holes, not down the length of the tube. The wire bottle brush can clean out the inside of each tube.
There's another debate about seasoning steaks, and this one relates to black pepper. To begin with, let's agree that freshly ground black pepper is a must for the perfect steak. (And again, we're not talking about that preground black dust they sell at the grocery store. We mean whole black peppercorns that you grind yourself directly onto the steak.)
Like a boxing ring, it’s hard to knock out your opponent in the first round. Same goes for the Blackstone and the tension between the oil and steel. One round ain’t gonna cut it. To make the best non-sticking and tasty surface your meals deserve, you’re gonna have to repeat the seasoning. So be patient and make it count. Grab your oil again, dab it on the griddle, and watch the heated smoke-fest again. You should stop when the griddle plate is dark brown, and that takes around 2 to 3 times.
Check the fuel lines for visible defects. If any fuel lines have unmistakable damage (like rips, holes, cracks), replace the parts immediately before your next use of the grill. Also be sure that any fuel lines have a smooth trail. You don’t want any of your fuel lines to be bent, because that will prevent the gas from flowing correctly. Check the exterior of the gas tank for any damage as well; things like dents, erosion, punctures, or any evident signs of damage. If you find areas that have obvious damage, you could potentially have a gas leak.