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.[5]

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.


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.
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.
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.

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.
While the grill grates and flavorizer bars are removed and soaking, tackle the caked-on gunk in the firebox. Put another bucket underneath the firebox where the grease tray sits to collect debris. The easiest way to start is with a wet/dry shop vacuum, whether full-size or a portable, like Milwaukee’s M18 hand vacuum. Since wet/dry vacs are mostly workshop items, you won’t feel bad about using one to suck up the gunk that’s collected in your grill. You can use the grill brush to help loosen stubborn stuck-on grit. If the deposits are really caked on, dip the wire brush in the bucket of soapy water and get to work. Use a hose to rinse it out when it’s clean.
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.

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.[7]

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