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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!