Summer’s here, which means barbecue season is in full swing! Whether you’re grilling for immediate family or inviting a crowd, these simple steps will make your event—and the clean-up that comes afterward—simple and fun.
- Working with a gas grill? Be sure it is completely cool before cleaning. Brush any debris off flame tamers (also called heat tents or vaporizing bars, they directly cover the burners).
- Keep those grates clean
- For a gas grill, routinely brush cooled grates off with a dry wire brush or grill stone. (If using a brush be sure it’s in good condition and not losing bristles.) You can also hold crumpled aluminum foil with tongs and use to brush the grates.
- Charcoal grill grates are best cleaned when still warm. A bit of water can be used to scrub them down.
- Rub clean grates with cooking oil. An easy way to do this: Soak a paper towel in a bit of oil, then use tongs to clamp the paper towel and rub over the grates.
- Read and keep your grill’s instruction manual and warranty. The instructions will include specific cleaning procedures.
Now that your grill is clean, here’s how to keep your meal fuss-free.
- Start clean. When you start with clean cooking surfaces and a clutter-free gathering space, you’ll have less mess when the meal finishes.
- Make trash and recycling bags many and easy to find. If you’re entertaining over a large area, be sure to have containers for trash at many points throughout your yard and/or deck.
- Also offer napkins and wet wipes in multiple locations, especially if you’re serving foods with deliciously sticky barbecue sauce.
- There’s a time and place for disposable dinnerware, and a barbecue is one of them. Sticky sauce, grilled meats and butter-drenched grilled corn are all foods best served on biodegradable, disposable plates. They’re easy to toss (in those easy-to-find trash bags—see above) and won’t add to the dish pile.
- Serving hot dogs or burgers? Place each sandwich in a coffee filter before offering to guests for topping. No more sliced onions falling to the table or onto your deck.
- Grilling meat for tacos instead? Offer single-serving bags of tortilla or corn chips and have guests fill bags with meat and toppings for a less-messy version of a Southwestern favorite.
- Keep the bugs away by serving salads and condiments in mason jars with locking canister-style lids. Guests can easily remove and replace lids as they move through the line.
- Make it easy for guests to dispose of their own dishes by setting up a tub for any dirty washables.
- Spills happen. Keep a few portable stain removing options (Tide® To-Go pens, etc.) close at hand.