10 Things to Help Prepare for BBQ Season

With the warm weather starting to set in here in the upper reaches of North America, it’s time to begin making the basic preparations that will ensure a safe, happy start to your outdoor grilling season.

“Check out these steaks, honey!  This salt will really bring out the flavor of your disappointment.”

Whether you’re serving guests, preparing your meals or just trying to shake the nagging suicidal urges that have dogged you since late November, these friendly pointers will help ensure that you’re ready to start cooking outside without much of an urge to do harm to yourself.

  1. Prior to using your BBQ, be sure to check your propane tank for any signs of corrosion or fatigue.  There should be at least three or four healthy splotches of rust, if you truly wish to establish yourself as an authentic, danger-loving outdoor cook.
  2. When lighting your grill for the first time this year, ensure that you allow for an extensive “burn-in” period.  While you may not be concerned by what’s taken up residence in your BBQ over the winter, your guests may not appreciate the smokey flavors of spider nests infusing their teriyaki beef skewers.
  3. You can tell if your grill is at medium-high heat through the “Three Steamboat” test, in which you can hold your hand 6 inches above the grill and count a full three seconds.  Similarly, you can detect very high heat through the “One OH HOLY GOD ARRGGHHH” test.
  4. Be sure to check any previously-frozen steaks for signs of freezer burn, which is caused water evaporating out of the tissue and settling on the surface in the form of ice crystals.  Set them aside for people who ask for their beef well-done, since they clearly prefer it ruined anyway.
  5. When cooking vegetables on the grill, make sure to leave the lid down.  Leaving the lid up will ensure that veggies will not take on a sooty flavor and limp texture, dooming you to grilling peppers, eggplant and asparagus for the rest of your life.
  6. Did you know that it’s possible to cook on your grill year-round, regardless of where you live?  It’s fun and easy, and the illnesses you’ll contract from severe weather exposure will be more than offset by the satisfaction of hot dogs with the little grill marks on them.
  7. COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIP:  Drink your beer from bottles while waiting for food to cook.  Frosty cans may lead to tragic tongue-to-metal adhesion events that your wife will tell everyone about.
  8. Should the fire in your grill suddenly get out of control, just remember to F.R.E.A.K.:  FLEE the area immediately; REGRET ever offering to grill in the first place; EVENTUALLY find wherever it is that you stowed the fire extinguisher; ARGUE with your significant other about whether it’s safe to discharge an extinguisher on a live grill; KILL everyone in the immediate area in a tragic, mysterious explosion.
  9. When you’re finished cooking, always remember to close off the gas connection from the tank, rather than the controls on the front.  This will ensure that no propane will be left trapped in the lines, and afford you many more opportunities to burn the hell out of your forearms while you fumble around.
  10. Even though the warm weather has yet to start, it’s still important to allow your grill to fully cool before covering it again.  Failure to do so will risk scorching the cover, and deprive you of a chance to wake up in the middle of the night shouting, “OH SHIT I FORGOT ABOUT THE BBQ!”

The outdoor cooking season has just begun, so make sure you get off on the right foot!  Happy grilling!

  • http://outdoorcookingdepot.com Jill C

    This is really funny! Couldn’t have said it better myself! 🙂 Thanks for the morning chuckle!

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  • http://Thespitefulchef.blogspot.com Kristie

    Our grill emitted a hissing noise about 1.5 years ago, so Chris hasn’t been willing to turn it on since. And it’s a really, really nice gas Weber. My part in this tragedy is that I’ve known the replacement part to order for this entire time, but have been too lazy to get my credit card out of the car each time I think of it. I should do that now.

  • http://muskegharpy.blogspot.com/ Jacquie

    I will be printing out your #4 for all of my relatives. They give me a hard time over any pink in their red meat. These people also wonder about any fish that isn’t chalky and tough.

    Alas, we don’t have a gas grill. We have a Miller Lite emblazoned fake Weber we won at a superbowl party at a bar. It works better than the refrigerator shelf over a barrel we were using. Yes, we are white trash.

  • http://www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com Kay

    Love your blog. Don’t know where the “upper reaches of North America” are, but let me apprise you of a (Southern or at least Southeastern) fact: It is not barbecuing unless it involves pork shoulder or ribs. All else is grilling. We get passionate about that. (Also, Memphis is the barbecue capital of the world, regardless of what those folks in the Carolinas and Texas say.)

  • http://www.cookwarehelp.com/blog Elaine from Cookware Help

    Great helpful tips on BBQ preparation, with some touches of humor that worked for me!

    I’m so excited about grilling again. Our grill is one of my favorite things in our house as I love to grill everything and it’s like there’s always a party every day. But if it’s really for a special occasion, I still prefer charcoal BBQ grilllng hands down. 🙂

  • Jason

    Please know that when I email the beauty of F.R.E.A.K. to all my gas-powered BBQ friends, I’ll make sure to include a link back to your site.

  • http://www.builtincookers.org Jane

    I love the “COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIP” thanks for making me laugh