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A clean, mean grilling machine
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 29, 2000
With the gas off, remove the actual cooking grid as well as the lava rocks/briquettes and the grate they sit on. (If your grill has angle-iron flavor bars instead, remove them.) Thoroughly clean the cooking grid. Next, clean out any debris at the bottom of the grill and use a wire brush to remove any deposits.
If your grill has a window, clean it with a mild soap-and-water solution.
Wire-brush the grate and lava rocks/briquettes/flavor bars. Clean ones heat more evenly and cause fewer flare-ups.
(If there is any residue you can't remove from the grid, rocks/briquettes/flavor bars or grate, do the rest of the steps described here, and then turn the grill on high for 10 minutes. Then turn off the grill and clean with a wire brush. If that still does not work, it's time to replace the grid, rocks/briquettes/flavor bars or grate.)
Check your owner's manual for instructions on how to remove the burner from the gas valve. The venturi tubes that connect the burner to the gas line are a favorite residence of spiders and insects. Once you've lifted out the burner, use a bottlebrush cleaner to remove any blockage.
Next, check the burner ports to make sure none of the holes are clogged. Use the end of a wire coat hanger or a small nail to clear each hole in turn.
Finally, and most important, reassemble the grill and check for gas leaks by swabbing all connections with a soap-and-water solution. If you do nothing else before using the grill, do this. Bubbles indicate leaks. If you have any leaks, tighten the connections and test again. If the leaks persist, replace parts as necessary. You can buy replacement parts for your grill at home centers, hardware stores and grill dealers.
If all the connections check out, turn on the grill to test the automatic igniter. If it fails to spark, replace it.
Now you're ready for the last step -- the steaks.
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