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Nothing says summer quite like the aroma of steak sizzling on the grill. But before you strike a match and toss on those t-bones you'd better take the time to check out your equipment to make sure your grilling experience is a success.

No matter if your grill has been covered all winter or left to fend for itself in the elements the same rules apply. First step is a good cleaning. Wipe off the hood with hot soapy water and a nylon scrub pad to avoid scratching the paint. Open the hood, remove the grill and wash out the inside. Be careful of spiders- grills are a favorite hiding place!

If your grates are not too dirty you can clean them with hot soapy water and a wire brush.

If they're really bad, spray them with oven cleaner and put them in a large garbage bag, carefully securing the top and keeping it away from pets and children. When you're done with the rest of the grill carefully open the bag away from you and hose off the grates thoroughly.

On a gas grill check the briquettes or lava rocks at the bottom. If they're greasy, clean them with a degreasing agent then periodically turn them over during the grilling season. If they are extremely dirty it's best to invest in new ones.

Check your propane tank- if you're not sure how much is left in it consider replacing it with one with an indicator. Check the connector hose by wiping it with soapy water- when you turn on the gas there should be no bubbles. If there are, tighten the fittings or invest in a new hose. If you replace it, check it again after you install it. Leaking propane is not just wasteful but extremely dangerous!

Once your grill is sparkling clean you're ready for those steaks. To help keep your grill clean as well as making the perfect steaks follow these rules. On a charcoal grill wait till the coals are covered with grey ash before starting the meat. On gas grills wait about 10 minutes before starting. Remove the grates from the heat then spray them lightly with non-stick spray or brush them with oil before putting on the meat. CAUTION: Do NOT spray the grate while it's on the flame! Oiling your grate not only keeps the meat from sticking but gives it nice sear marks and makes for easy clean up.

After your feast make sure your charcoal fire is totally out or your gas is completely turned off. Go over your grates while they're still warm with the wire brush so any baked on food will easily come off. Wipe up any spills quickly and when the grill is cool, put the cover back on. Thoroughly wash all utensils with hot soapy water and you'll be ready for your next barbeque adventure!