MATT PRE­STON

It’s time to clean the bar­be­cue.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - MATT PRE­STON For my Aussie bar­be­cue rules, and top bar­be­cue recipes, go to de­li­cious.com.au

Hello sum­mer – is that you? Each year you come sneak­ing up on me and quite frankly I’m never re­ally pre­pared. This year it will be dif­fer­ent. This year I have a plan and it starts with clean­ing the bar­be­cue. And by that, I mean clean­ing it prop­erly.

Now, it is true that this might more ac­cu­rately trans­late as del­e­gat­ing clean­ing the bar­be­cue to the kids, but if I do – and if you dear read­ers want to del­e­gate the job to your min­ions, or to a part­ner in need of a project this Sun­day – here’s the brief­ing you need to give them so the end re­sult meets your stan­dards.

Check the hose: In­spect the gas hose for cracks or other gen­eral de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. If it’s in bad shape, re­place it. Warm up the gunk: It is much eas­ier to clean the bar­be­cue grill when it’s warm. If your bar­bie has a cover, place a roast­ing tray half full of hot wa­ter over a burner on low and close the lid. Then al­low the steam to soften all that gunk. No lid? Just run the burn­ers for a few min­utes to warm up. Read the man­ual: Now go in­side and find the man­ual that came with the bar­be­cue. It’ll be in that drawer full of ran­dom stuff or in a folder in the shed. Read the clean­ing in­struc­tions to make sure you don’t do any­thing stupid. Dis­con­nect the gas: Turn off the bar­bie, turn off the gas bot­tle and dis­con­nect the hose. Check the gas bot­tle. Is it time to get a new one? Or at least a re­fill? Pre­pare like a sur­geon: Most bar­be­cues are hor­ridly dirty so clean it out­side than in the kitchen sink. Find a big plas­tic tub, fill it with hot soapy wa­ter and put down paper or plas­tic sheet­ing. Gather to­gether ev­ery­thing you need – old news­pa­pers, paper towel, clothes, plas­tic scour­ers, scraper, a wire brush or scrunched alu­minium foil to rub off the most stub­born crusty bits, bin lin­ers to throw any used news­pa­per or scraped off gunk and, of course, rub­ber gloves. The gloves will al­low you to use hot­ter wa­ter which will cut through the grease more ef­fec­tively. Don’t use stain­less steel wool or chem­i­cal oven clean­ers. High pres­sure clean­ers: It might be tempt­ing to grab a high-pres­sure hose and at­tack the bar­be­cue, but don’t – you’ll end up spray­ing old grease ev­ery­where and you will also risk send­ing grease into the burn­ers which is dis­tinctly un­de­sir­able. I speak from ex­pe­ri­ence. Time to clean: First re­move the grease tray, scrape out the fat and wash it. Re­move grills and flat plates. Brush or scrape both sides to re­move any burne­don food and ex­cess fat, and wash. Scrape out the in­te­rior of the bar­be­cue from any ex­cess gunk at the bot­tom or sides. Don’t re­move the burn­ers – you’d then have to put them back to­gether which can be tricky, and if you don’t dry them prop­erly they can rust. Ap­ply oil: Dry the grill plates with paper towel, then spray on both sides with canola oil. Put the plates back into the clean bar­be­cue. If you want to line the flat grill with a spe­cial bar­be­cue non-stick sheet to ease fu­ture clean-ups, now is the time to cut it to size and fit it. Pre­pare the drip tray: Line the drip tray with foil to make clean­ing eas­ier next time. Add some­thing to ab­sorb the fat and help re­duce flare-ups. Kitty lit­ter or sand will do although some schools of thought say th­ese can en­cour­age rust. (Although the same peo­ple may be try­ing to sell you a pro­fes­sional bar­be­cue fat ab­sorber too.) Re­place your cho­sen prod­uct af­ter ev­ery 10 grills. Clean the out­side: Bar­be­cue wipes are a great way to keep it look­ing good be­tween big clean-ups but ex­pen­sive com­pared to old news­pa­per or a cloth and hot soapy wa­ter. Re­con­nect the gas: Turn on the gas. Check the con­nec­tion of your hose by rub­bing soapy wa­ter over the junc­tion with your thumb. If there is a faulty con­nec­tion, you’ll see bub­bles. Turn off the gas, re­con­nect and test again. If there is still a prob­lem, you will need to re­place the gas hose. Run the bar­be­cue: Be­fore us­ing for the first time af­ter clean­ing, turn the grill onto high for 15 min­utes to burn off any residue. Too hot to han­dle: Whether you are us­ing the grill or flat plate, make sure the metal is sear­ingly hot and prop­erly pre­heated be­fore use. That way, you’ll get lovely bar marks on the meat. Bar­be­cue it right: Cheap gad­gets are key to a good bar­bie, so buy that meat ther­mome­ter. Get a pair of tongs to turn the meat in­stead of a fork, which can pierce the meat let­ting valu­able juices to es­cape. And soak your wood skew­ers then freeze them so they are al­ways ready, should the de­sire to grill some­thing come on sud­denly. Keep it clean: Re­mem­ber to wipe down the grill plates af­ter each use to keep the bar­be­cue clean. It’s a good idea to do this while it is still a lit­tle warm as the gunk will come away eas­ier.

HOT STUFF Be ready for the hottest trend this sea­son, whether you’re cook­ing on gas, over wood or coals.

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