05/24/14

National Clean Your Grill Weekend!


Happy “National Clean Your Grill Weekend!”

Okay, I made that up…but let’s face it, for a lot of folks today (and tomorrow) are when we pull the trusty ol’ Webers or gas grills out of the back of the garage to kick the tires and light the fires.

How to clean a grill for Spring.Even though I tend to keep the bbq running year-round, I do look forward to the more favorably weathered outdoor cooking months, as I tend to have more company around the grill.

Shirt-sleeves, chilled adult beverages, lawn chairs, and lots and lots of beautiful smoke!

However, if your grill needs to come out of hibernation, here are my top 5 tips for spring cleaning and tunin’ her up for summer…

(In step-by-step order)

5. Kick the tires

At least once a year (and this is as good a time as any) I recommend disconnecting, cleaning, and reconnecting all tubes and hoses. Things swell, shrink, rot and rust in cold weather––and propane leaks can take all the fun out of that first bbq of Spring!

A good rule of thumb: if I see something that makes me think, “I wonder if I should replace that?” I should. Is there a loose wheel, or a squeaky hinge that’s going to bug you for the rest of the year? Take it apart and clean, tighten, or replace it now…you’ll be too busy cooking later.

Dragon Claws Recipe

Dragon Claws (click on pic for the recipe)

Oh, make sure to sweep out and hose down your favorite grill spot on the deck or patio. Leaves, branches, pet toys, and other miscellany…in other words: tinder…have a habit of gathering in those corners over the winter.

“A little clean up now will make that first BBQ party of the year much more enjoyable. Making sure everything is in good working order will pay off big, later.” – Chef Chris

4. Clean the Interior

If you haven’t already, shut off, then disconnect the gas supply to your grill.

Remove the cooking grates and, using a soft wire brush, clean any loose debris from the insides of the body and lid. If your gas jets aren’t removable, I recommend covering them with a length of tape before you start cleaning. This helps minimize the chances of gunking up the holes with loose debris.

Remove the cooking grates and, using a soft wire brush, clean any loose debris from the insides of the body and lid. Scrape your "flavor panels" with a putty knife or scraper, and use a wire brush to remove ash. Remove the plates and brush any gunk off of burners with a wire brush.

Scrape your “flavor panels” with a putty knife or scraper, and use a wire brush to remove ash. Remove the plates and brush any gunk off of burners with a wire brush. Brush all debris from inside the grill into the drip pan, and dispose of it.

Oh, and just one guy’s opinion: I never line my drip pans with aluminum foil. I know it makes for easier clean-up, but it can also prevent the grease from flowing properly, which can be a fire hazard (not to mention it can negatively affect the flavor of my food). Scrape out the pan with a putty knife or scraper, and all the debris should be scraped into the grease trap.

3. Prep the Grates

This is an easy way to clean grill grates and get them ready for Spring.Now, I know this has never happened to you, but I’ve heard of some folks who open their grill in the spring and find the remnants of the meal they cooked on it last season.  Lucky for them, cleaning these nasty, neglected grill-grates is actually easier than most people realize, and you can usually forego the brushes, a dirty sink and a bunch of elbow grease, if you start the day before.

Lay a plastic bag on the ground, top with damp newspaper, then lay your grate on top. Give the grates a healthy spray of oven cleaner, and cover with another layer of moist newspaper (dampening the newspaper keeps it from sticking to the grates). Follow this with another plastic bag. Batten down the edges so the whole mess doesn’t end blowing into the next yard.

Grilling the perfect hamburger

Grilling the perfect hamburger…click the pic to learn how!

The next day, hose down the grates thoroughly, and then wash off any remaining oven cleaner residue with hot soapy water. Rinse the grates again, dry, and coat lightly with vegetable oil, and you’re good to go! (Just a note: only use this method after checking with your owner’s manual. Some manufacturers warn against using oven cleaner on any part of their grill.)

Lastly, plan to fire up your grill for 30 minutes or so (on High) to burn off any possible remaining residue, before the first use.

Cleaning grill grates is easier than most people realize, and you can skip the brushes, a dirty sink and a bunch of elbow grease, if you start the day before.

2. Pretty up the Exterior

Let’s face it, we eat first with our eyes, and I’ve eaten more than one perfectly good steak that probably would have tasted a lot better if the grill hadn’t looked like it had been yanked out of the bottom of a drainage ditch just before cooking.

First things first, power hose the exterior to get rid of any dirt, crud, or creepy-crawlies. Next, use a bucket of hot, soapy water, an old towel, and maybe bristle brush, or a putty knife, and clean every nook and cranny.

You don’t want to use abrasive cleaners to clean any painted, porcelain or stainless steel parts. I’ve found that a mild dish-soap (the stuff made for hand-washing) works just fine. Porcelain enamel components must be handled with additional care (read your user’s manual, or contact the manufacturer).

Touch-up enamel, and high-heat spray paint is available from your dealer.

Exterior grill surfaces should be cleaned while warm to the touch, with warm soapy water.

How to grill the perfect hot dog

How to grill the perfect hot dog – Click pic for our tips!

1. The Test Run

My number one piece of advice, when gearing up for grill season, is to do a full blown test run…on a night when failure is an option.

The last thing you want, when the boss and his wife are ready for their rib-eyes, or you’ve got a house-full of hungry dinner guests, is to discover that the reverse glamfram widget in the secondary intake fluxuator has burned out and your grill won’t throw enough fire to thaw an ice-cube.

Plan a simple grilled dinner for the family, using all the burners, and any special accessories on your grill (have the local pizza-joint’s number on speed-dial, just in case), and make sure that everything works, from fuel, to ignition, to temperature control.

Grill a dinner for the family, using all the burners, and any special accessories on your grill to make sure that everything works, from fuel, to ignition, to temperature control.

Makes notes of any issue that arise, or improvements you’d like to see, and make those upgrades before the boss is standing there with an empty plate!

Also, when you clean up your grill, be sure to clean up your cooking area as well. Patios and decks can gather a lot of debris (read: tinder) in the off season, so make sure you give them a good sweep before lighting the fires.

Speaking of which, have a great Memorial Day weekend, and sometime during all the fun, laughs, and great good, take a moment to reflect, remember and send up a thank you to the brave men and women of our armed services who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free.

Happy Grilling!

-Chef Perry Simply
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

08/30/13

Grilling a Gourmet Hot Dog

System Dog

I love hot dogs on the grill primarily because they taste great, but also because they are one of those foods that are almost idiot-proof. Heat…place in bun…top with something. Dinner is served.

Still, even if your Labor Day grilling involves dozens of hungry guests, there’s always something you can do to take an uber-basic food to the next level.

With the venerable hot dog…there are many, many things you can do.

Click here to read the rest of this post and see my favorite gourmet hot dog recipes on my Sears Grilling is Happiness page!

07/1/13

4th of July BBQ Tips

We have a great guest post today from our friend’s at JES Restaurant Equipment! Check out the infographic, below, on some very common mistakes that grillers make, and the corresponding tips to help make your 4th of July cooking the best it can be!

grilling

Now that the weather’s warmed up, millions of people are firing up the grill and cooking up delicious meals. But how many of you are making these common grilling mistakes?

  • Pressing your burgers flat with the spatula (smooshes the juices right out)
  • Cooking too fast (or too slow – don’t forget the sear!)
  • Burning your sauce (put sugary sauces on when you’re almost done cooking)
  • Cutting into meats without letting them rest (resting the meat for about 5 minutes seals in the juices – thicker cuts need even longer)

We focused on tips for a gas grill (like the popular Holland Grills), but these tips will work equally well on charcoal grills.

Easy tips for grilling like a pro! (Infographic)! (Infographic)

 Add This Graphic To Your Website for Free

Source by JES Restaurant Equipment

01/28/13

Recipes for an Epic Superbowl Party

“Typically occurring in late January or early February, it is considered a de facto national holiday in the United States. On Super Bowl Sunday many people gather to watch the Super Bowl. Such gatherings are known for the large amount of food that is consumed by attendees.” Wikipedia

Okay, Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, and what better time to get our grub on?

Continue reading

08/21/12

All-American Open-Faced Hamburgers & Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Here’s a sneak peek at next week!

Dinner 7

All-American Open-Faced Hamburgers & Baked Sweet Potato Chips

All-American Open-Faced Hamburgers

In the late 18th century, to attract German sailors, food stands along the New York harbor offered “steak cooked in the Hamburg style”. Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas, is believed to have sold what Americans would traditionally consider “hamburgers” at his café in the late 1880s, then brought them to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

The rest, as they say, is history!

Yield: 2 servings          Active Time: 25 min.   Total Time: 55 min.

Continue reading

08/16/12

Happy Bratwurst Day!

Today is Bratwurst Day!

A bratwurst is a sausage usually composed of seasoned veal, pork or beef. The name is German, derived from Old High German Brätwurst, from brät-, which is finely chopped meat and Wurst, or sausage.

Here’s a recipe I came up with (and I’m pretty proud of) that incorporates some of my favorite island flavors with a classic tube-steak. The spiral slicing really takes this recipe to the next level!

Some chopped fresh pineapple and red pepper flake would be an awesome sweet/hot topping for this. Next time!

Continue reading

06/24/12

Tips for grilling great veggie burgers and mock brisket recipe

Heyya Peeps,

Yesterday, a Facebook friend asked, “Do you have any suggestions on how to cook a veggie burger patty and keep it moist off the grill?”

FYI – A veggie burger is a hamburger-style patty that does not contain meat. The patty of a veggie burger may be made, for example, from vegetables, textured vegetable protein (soy meat), legumes, nuts, dairy products, mushrooms, wheat, or eggs. In places such as India where vegetarianism is widespread, McDonald’s and KFC serve veggie burgers. In Sweden, they call it the “McGarden”.

Continue reading

04/9/12

Guilt Free BBQ Sauce

I may not know much about a science book, and I may not know much about the math I took. I may not know much about what’s false or true, but bruthas and sistas, I know a LOT about my barbeque…

Dana Ramsey, from the hautemealz.com team, created this recipe, and it is, flat out, one of the best sauces I’ve ever slathered on a hunka meat…not even taking into account that it’s crazy low in calories!

Check the specs below, and keep in mind that my favorite store-brand sauce runs almost TEN TIMES the calories and carbs for the same two tablespoons!

You pair this sauce with some good lean beef or pork…and you got a guilt free bbq-feast like you’ve only dreamed of!

Dana’s Sweet n’ Saucy BBQ
Serving size: 2 Tbs
Yield: 40 Servings

4 cup low-salt tomato sauce
1/4 cup balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup Stevia
2 Tbs smoked paprika
1 Tbs onion powder
2 tsp liquid smoke (Stubbs Mesquite)
1 tsp each: garlic powder, salt, black pepper, mustard powder, celery seed, thyme

Combine in sauce pan and simmer for 1 hour.

Cool, and store in container in refrigerator.

Enjoy!

-Chef Perry

04/6/12

Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs with Simple Snow Peas

Because my very dear friends, Kathy and Joel, asked for it…here’s a freebie from next week’s menu…I’m eating this as I type, and it’s pretty freakin’ awesome.

This is my new favorite “quick and easy” bbq sauce…I can’t wait to try in on brisket!

Dinner 6

Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs with Simple Snow Peas

Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs (6a)

Yield: Serves 2  Active Time: 10 min.    Total Time: 9 hr. 10 min.

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 lb. boneless beef short ribs
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce*
  • 3 tbsp. chili sauce
  •  1 tbsp. minced garlic

Put flour, salt and pepper in a bag, add ribs and shake them well to coat.

Brown the ribs in butter in a large skillet, over medium heat, then transfer the ribs to your slow cooker.

In the original skillet, combine remaining ingredients and bring them to a boil, stirring constantly.

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

Pour the sauce over the ribs, cover and cook on low for 9 hours.

If you’re feeling adventurous, here’s an amazing, and easy homemade bbq sauce recipe that’s just 8 calories for 2 Tbs!

 Simple Snow Peas (6b)

Yield: Serves 2  Active Time: 5 min.      Total Time: 5 min.


  • 1 cup fresh snow peas (washed/trimmed)     1/2 to 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced                                      Salt & Black Pepper

Heat wok or skillet on medium-high heat, add the oil, get it hot, then dump in the peas. Cook 1 minute, stirring, and then add garlic and seasoning.

Quick fry just till bright green and still crisp.

Remove and serve while still hot.