Jesse Black, a new contributor to the site, is a temperature expert, writer and cook extraordinaire. Read his full bio on the Contributors page

trong>. Here are Jesse’s Tips to get your grill ready for the summer grilling season:

Summer is here, is your grill ready?

With spring officially on the back burner and summer taking its seat at the head of the table, grilling enthusiasts from here to Timbuktu are dusting off their cookers and tidying up their backyards for what is sure to be the best grilling season EVER!

But, before the first brat is dropped onto the flames you better be certain that your grill is in tip-top shape. There’s nothing worse than a broken down backyard set up to get your summer off to a rocky start. And with your first backyard shindig only days away, you need to pencil in some time to get your grill in mint condish.

Start with the grilling surface – after all, that’s where you’re going to be landing those expensive cuts of meat. Throwing down burgers, brats and breasts (chicken) onto grimy grates is not only embarrassing, but you’ll also run the risk of physically contaminating your food and seriously ruining your backyard bbq street cred.

It’s important to no only give them a thorough cleaning at the onset, but to keep them clean after each use. Future get togethers depend on it!

If you happen to cook with propane (not that there’s anything wrong with that) you’ll want to turn your attention to the burners. Make sure there are no clogged lines and that every bit of your gas is being evenly dispersed across your cooker. You’re going to need every square inch of grill space to accommodate a backyard full of hungry guests.

Check to make sure the valves are fully operational and that you’re starting the year with a full tank of gas. Losing fuel halfway through the first cook of the year will significantly decrease your chances of finishing the summer with the award for Best Backyard Party.

Don’t forget to show the outside of the cooker some love. We all know it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but don’t let your grill be an eye sore in an otherwise well groomed backyard. A little bit of elbow grease will go a long way. Take a wire brush to any rust, and don’t be afraid to introduce the winters worth of grime to your pressure washer.

Take a moment to clean the area immediately around the grill. Eliminate fire hazards and move any ill-placed furniture or lawn accessories that might cause future problems. The hose you forget to move today will be the one you trip over tomorrow – only tomorrow you’ll be carrying a platter of burgers. Give yourself room to work. When there’s an open flame involved it’s important that you stay focused.

With a clean grill you’ll be able to give ample attention to a calendar full of backyard parties. And when nature calls, you won’t be the list bit embarrassed about having to hand over the reins to a neighbor. Happy grilling!

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