Top Tips for Safe Grilling

Spring time is grill time! If you are like me  (Uncle Smokey), I don’t use the outdoor grill much in the winter.  I prefer to use the oven and help warm the house. Besides, by dinner preparation time in winter it’s often dark outside. But now – it’s warmed up, sun goes down late, and sure don’t want to heat the house. But now – time to use the grill.

Let’s Be Safe – Three Tips

In milder climates, like much of the Southwest, the gas grill sits out all year. But it IS a sensitive piece of equipment and does need periodic maintenance. If you haven’t used it for a few months – do these three things first. OR – Even if you used it last weekend – when is the last time you did a grill tune-up?


Tip 1 – Clean the Grill

Grease, food bits, and charred remnants limit the effectiveness of your grill. Food debris can also lead to flare-ups – dangerous!

Give your grill a good scrub. Using soap, warm water, and a steel wool pad, scrub down each of your cooking grids. Do the same for your sear plates, ensuring they are in good working order. If not, buy replacement parts. It may cost money but it costs less than getting burned in a flare up and needing a skin graft.

Big flare ups can be hazardous! A cleaned grill helps avoid this problem.

Gently clean each burner ensuring they are in good shape and the burner ports are not plugged. Pull out the tray(s) that collect fallen bits and scrub clean. Empty and clean or replace the grease tins or trays.

Just a little bit of flare up is normal with a fat-rich cut of meat.

Tip 2 – Check for Leaks

Once cleaning is done, inspect all hoses and feed tubes. Look for any crimps, scratching and or punctures. (Pack rats are out there!) If you detect any of these – time to replace the hoses.

A leak test should be performed when you change any components on your grill.


Make some soapy water (one quarter dish soap, three quarters water). Brush this soapy water on each hose and especially at the connections — if no bubbles form, you are good to go. If there are bubbles, it is clear notice of a gas leak that needs repair, or possibly hose replacement.

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Tip 3 – Check Ignition

If you are as old as me, those words might trigger a David Bowie song in your mind.


Check how the grill lights. For battery ignitions it’s a good idea to simply replace the batteries with new ones. Check electrode leads and ensure the tips of the electrodes are clean and have no grease or rust build up. If they do, use a very fine grit sandpaper to clean them.

Now – Get Your Tools Together & Grill!

Make sure you are equipped with a good grill cleaning brush — cedar scrapers are all the rage right now, but there is something to be said for a old-fashioned abrasive pad. You also want a good set of tongs, and a quality spatula. Temperature probe? I haven’t used one for grilling for years, but if you are new to grilling, it is a good idea to invest in a temperature probe. That said, I do use the probe when smoking meats.

Cedar scraper – I sure am willing to test one if someone wants to send me one for a trial run…. Just sayin’ 😉

Wishing you all a safe and savory grilling season!

Father Kino’s Herbs – Some Grilling Recipes!

soule-kino-southwestThe last few copies of this out-of-print award winning Southwestern book are now for sale. Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today   The review says:

“Award-winning garden writer Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule has pulled together a fascinating book on the life of Father Eusebio Francisco Kino and some of the plants that he brought to Southern Arizona and northwestern Sonora, and area called the Pimeria Alta.”

A steal at only $20!  This link is to our sales site. The profits from the sale go to the local Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute.  We hope you will help support this great Southwest non-profit!

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