If you haven’t winterized your grill, you should ASAP

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If you’re not a winter griller, now’s the time to pack away your grill before it’s covered with a foot of snow. In addition to giving your grill a thorough cleaning to remove grease and food scraps, take these steps to help prevent any unpleasant surprises when you fire up your grill again next spring. While you’re at it, make sure you’re avoiding these grilling mistakes that can make you sick.

How to winterize your grill

  1. Shut off the gas at the LP tank, unfasten the burner, slip the gas tubes off the gas lines and lift out the unit.
  2. Coat the burners and other metal parts with cooking oil to repel moisture that can build up over the winter and to prevent rust.
  3. Then wrap the burner unit in plastic wrap or a plastic bag to keep spiders and insects from nesting in the gas tubes during the winter. This is a common problem that can make for balky starts, uneven flames or even a one-alarm fire the next time you light your grill.

Storing your grill outside or inside?

If you’re storing your grill outside during the winter, just keep the propane tank connected (but shut off) and put a protective cover over the entire grill when you’re done cleaning it.

If you’re storing the grill indoors, don’t bring the tank inside, even into the garage or a storage shed. A small gas leak can cause a huge explosion if the tank is stored in an enclosed space. Instead, disconnect the tank and store it outside in an upright position away from dryer and furnace vents and children’s play areas. Tape plastic wrap or a bag over the grill’s gas line opening to prevent insects from nesting.

Set aside some time now to complete these simple fall maintenance tasks so you can rest easy, knowing you’re prepared.

5 PHOTOS
The 5 grilling mistakes you keep making
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The 5 grilling mistakes you keep making

Steak

Common Mistake: Not letting the meat "rest." It might be tempting to cut into that juicy, lean beef right when it is hot off the grill. But doing so will actually cool the steak down quicker and release all those good juices, leaving you with a tougher, drier steak. Instead, wrap the steak in aluminum foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes or so before slicing.

Photo credit: Getty

Fish
Common Mistake: Choosing the wrong type of fish. Delicate, flaky fish are a challenge to grill because they will often fall apart or flake through the grates of the grill. Instead, choose a steak-like or firmer fish, such as tuna, marlin, or even mahi-mahi to make seafood grilling a breeze. Or try skewering shellfish like shrimp or scallops for a quick-cooking option.

Photo credit: Getty

Chicken
Common Mistake: Not using a meat thermometer. Overcooking is one of the most common causes of dried-out chicken, but of course you don't want to run the risk of undercooking chicken either. A meat thermometer with grilled chicken is the best solution. The USDA recommends that chicken breasts should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Photo credit: Getty

Veggies
Common Mistake: Using too much oil. Of course you need to use some oil when grilling veggies since this healthy fat helps the seasonings to adhere to the veggies and also prevents them from sticking to the grill. But you don't need as much as you might think. We recommend about 1 tablespoon of oil per pound of veggies. Use more than this and you may be left with soggy veggies. Another tip: Cut veggies into evenly-sized pieces and either skewer them or cook them in a grill pan (looks like a skillet with small holes) to ensure they're grilled evenly without the risk of them falling through the grates.

Photo credit: Getty

Burgers
Common Mistake: Not forming the patties properly. Whether you are making beef burgers, turkey burgers, or homemade veggie burgers, you probably already know that forming round, proportional patties is a must. But after flattening them, try putting a thumbprint in the center of each patty. This simple trick will keep the patties flat as they cook by preventing them from balling up and shrinking.

Photo credit: Getty

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