Ultimate Grilling Season Checklist
As the weather gets warmer, you may already be dreaming of cooking outdoors and enjoying some delicious food with friends and family. While it’s hard to think of a better summer activity than a cookout, planning one can be a bit overwhelming. Going into grilling season with a game plan will help you be prepared for big weekend barbecues and quick weeknight dinners alike.
This ultimate grilling season checklist will go over the seven essential categories of items you need to host a successful cookout. Keep reading to learn which grilling tools, cooking gadgets, ingredients and other supplies you need to stock up on to ensure this grilling season goes off without a hitch.
1. Grilling Essentials
Before you bust out your grill for the season, there are some essential tools you will need to stock up on to ensure a successful summer. Of course, you will need enough fuel for your grill to keep it going all season long. Depending on what type of grill you have, you will need one of the following:
- Fuel: For a propane gas grill, you will need to make sure you have enough fuel that you won’t run out of propane before you’ve finished cooking dinner. Try to keep a spare tank of propane handy just in case.
- Lighter: If your gas grill doesn’t have an ignition button, you will need a lighter or a long fireplace match to get it started.
- Charcoal: For a charcoal grill, you will need an ample supply of briquettes to keep your grill cooking. You can use regular charcoal or instant lighting charcoal to avoid needing lighter fluid.
- Charcoal grill starter: Along with your charcoal, you will need a starter, such as an electric starter, lighter fluid or newspaper to get your fire going. You will also need a lighter for these charcoal grilling methods.
2. Grill Cleaning and Maintenance Tools
Now that you’ve got all the grill starting supplies you need, you’re almost ready to get cooking. First, you’ll have to clean off your grill to prepare it for the first cookout of the season. You will also need to round up everyday grill maintenance tools to keep your grill clean and fully functional for the whole season.
The grill cleaning and maintenance tools you’ll need include:
- Grill brush: Before you use your grill, preheat it and use a grill brush to scrape its grates. If you have a grill with stainless steel grates, use a grill brush with brass bristles. If you have a grill with cast-iron grates, use a grill brush with stainless steel bristles. Once the bristles on your grill brush begin to loosen, get a new grill brush immediately, so you don’t end up with bristles in your next burger.
- Sponge: Find a sturdy sponge to keep by your grill so you can wipe up any spills as soon as they happen. You might also want a sponge with a rougher side to help you clean off the grates more thoroughly after they’ve cooled down from cooking.
- Non-toxic soap: Make sure that all of the cleaning products you use on your grill are safe for grills and not toxic to consume. Because you’ll be cooking food on your grill, you don’t want to use any dangerous or harsh cleaning chemicals.
- Bucket: Whether you use it to hold all of your grilling tools, scrape ashes into or fill it with sand in case you need to put a fire out, you’ll want to have a bucket nearby when grilling.
- Grill cover: After your grill has cooled, cover it with a protective grill cover so it stays clean in between uses.
- Sliced bread: While a loaf of sliced bread might sound like a strange item to keep by the grill, toasting some bread is a great way to test out whether your gas grill’s burners are producing even heat throughout the grill. To do so, simply place slices of white bread over the grill’s grates and put the burners on high heat for a couple of minutes. Afterward, find out where the hot spots are by checking the slices to see which pieces toasted most.
3. Cooking Gadgets
Any grill master knows they need a wide range of cooking gadgets to get them through grilling season. Check out the list of top grilling tools below to ensure you’re well-equipped for cookout after cookout this summer.
- Tongs: Of course, you’ll need tongs for turning all sorts of food. From sausage and peppers to chicken and kebabs, tongs are a must for ensuring your main course gets cooked through and evenly on both sides.
- Grilling spatula: With its long-handled, light-weight design, a metal grill spatula is perfect for flipping burgers and other meats mid-way through cooking.
- Heavy-duty oven mitts: Heat-resistant cooking gloves, such as heavy-duty oven mitts, will keep your hands from getting burned whenever you touch the grill’s lid.
- Instant-read meat thermometer: Stay safe this grilling season by using an instant-read meat thermometer to make sure your meat is always cooked to perfection. Avoiding undercooked meat will protect you from getting food poisoning or another food-borne illness.
- Grill basket: A grill basket is a wire basket that’s perfect for grilling vegetables, seafood and other smaller ingredients that could easily fall through the grill’s grates.
- Basting brush: Use a basting brush when grilling to give your food an extra dose of flavor by brushing on a sauce, butter, marinade or other flavoring agents.
- Reusable metal skewers: If you love grilling kebabs, you’ve got to get some reusable metal skewers. Metal skewers are sturdier than wooden skewers, making them easier to turn and cook with.
- Grill apron: Whether it’s for fashion or function, a grilling apron is crucial for completing the grilling experience. Look for a grilling apron with lots of pockets made from heavy-duty material to protect you from burns and stains.
- Pizza stone: For pizza lovers, using a pizza stone on the grill is the culinary world’s best-kept secret. Once you try your pizza fresh from the grill, you’ll never go back to using your oven again.
- Aluminum foil: Tons of delicious grill recipes involve wrapping ingredients in aluminum foil to cook. Ensure you have aluminum foil on hand to make these recipes and keep food warm by covering them as soon as they come off the grill.
- Night lighting: Cooking in the dark is no fun and can result in under- or overcooked food. Save yourself from struggling to position a flashlight just right by splurging on some form of grill-zone lighting. You can keep your grilling area well lit with a grill-side task light, overhead lighting or a combination of the two.
- Fire extinguisher: It’s always best to be prepared — have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.
4. Reliable Recipes
From appetizers and main dishes to sides and desserts, you can grill anything. Having an array of tried and true grilling recipes in your arsenal will provide you with plenty of material for planning the perfect cookout menu. Think about which recipes would pair well together to map out your ideal cookout buffet.
To get you started, here are some of the best grilling recipes out there:
- Burgers: With regular beef burgers, chicken burgers, turkey burgers and veggie burgers, there’s no limit to the type of burger you can grill. Find a signature burger recipe, such as a super sausage and nachos burger, that will leave your cookout guests in awe of your grill skills.
- Bratwursts: There’s nothing like a classic bratwurst straight from the grill. Try making beer-braised brats on pretzel buns to impress your guests.
- Kebabs: The flavor combinations are endless when you construct a kebab. You can keep it simple with sausage, pineapple and red onion kebabs or kick your cooking game up a notch by making grilled ginger-spiced kebabs. Whatever your favorite flavors are, simply put them on a stick.
- Pizza: If you’ve never tried grilled pizza before, you’re in for a treat. From a classic Italian sausage flatbread pizza to an innovative zucchini crust pizza, you can use your grill to come up with your new favorite pizza creation.
- Tacos: Fill your tacos with delicious tastes from the grill by making dishes like spicy grilled sausage tacos and grilled kielbasa tacos. To mix things up a little on Taco Tuesday, try making quesadillas on the grill.
- Sandwiches: Some of the best sandwiches come from the grill. Elevate your usual sandwich by making something extra tasty like an Italian sausage cheesesteak, Sicilian-style sausage roll or a grilled sausage and kimchi sandwich.
- Side dishes: Make your cookout meal complete with grilled sides like sausage and potato salad or a classy grilled sausage and avocado Caprese crostini. When it comes to the side dishes you could grill, let your imagination run wild.
- Desserts: Grilled fruit makes for a delicious and nutritious dessert. Try grilling up some peaches or apples, then serving them with ice cream and topped with granola for a refreshing fruit crumble. You can also grill pineapple and sprinkle it with cinnamon and coconut shavings to create another sweet treat.
5. Staple Ingredients
If you don’t have time to plan out a three-course meal, keeping your fridge and cupboards full of some go-to cookout ingredients will ensure you’re ready to grill at a moment’s notice.
When you have the following ingredients on hand, you never have to worry about having something to grill:
- Hamburger patties
- Hamburger buns
- Premio sausage
- Hot dog rolls
6. Serving Gear
Once you’ve whipped up an amazing feast on the grill, you’ll need something to serve it on. Have a supply of serving necessities handy so you can serve your cookout guests with ease. Here are all the paper products and serving gear you’ll need:
- Serving utensils
- A cooler
7. Cleanup Supplies
Once your cookout guests have gone home, it will be time to clean up your yard and grilling area. After each time you use your grill, you should use a grill brush and a damp rag to clean off the grill grates and rack. Doing so will ensure the grill’s cooking surfaces are free of dirt, debris and any blackened remains before your next cookout. Occasionally, you will also need to clean your grill more thoroughly.
In addition to your regular grill maintenance tools, you’ll need these cleanup supplies:
- Paper towels: Paper towels can do wonders in cleaning up a cookout. Use paper towels or absorbent cloths to sop up any spills.
- Wet wipes: Using wet wipes to clean off your surfaces is a great way to ensure they are properly sanitized and free of crumbs or dirt.
- Trash bags: Of course, you’ll need plenty of trash bags for collecting paper plates and disposable utensils after your cookout. Place trash bags around your yard for guests to take care of their trash during the cookout to make the post-cleanup easier.
- Wet/dry vacuum: A wet/dry vacuum is extremely useful for cleaning up outdoor spaces thanks to its power and ability to handle wet materials. Use your wet/dry vacuum to suck up any dropped food or other debris left in your backyard.
- Storage containers: Whether you prefer to use zip-top bags, plastic containers or plastic wrap, you’ll need a way to store any leftover food.
- An onion: Here’s an easy grill hack — use an onion to clean off your grill while it’s still slightly warm. Onions contain a natural disinfectant that will help remove debris from the grill and leave behind a bit of flavor for your next meal. Simply cut the onion in half and poke a skewer into the rounded side, then rub the flat edge of the onion on the grill grate.
- Paper clips: For a gas grill, you may need to keep a couple of paper clips on hand to clean its burners. If any of the holes are clogged with grease, you can poke them clear with a paper clip.
- Metal scoop: If you have a charcoal grill, you need to clean out the ash regularly to prevent buildup. After the grill has completely cooled, use a metal scoop to clean out the ashes from the bottom of the grill.
Get Your Grilling Meat From Premio
Now that you’re prepared for grilling season with your cookout checklist, stock up on top-quality sausage from Premio. We offer a wide variety of Italian sausages, chicken sausage, specialty sausages and other products, so you’ll always have something new and exciting to grill. At Premio, all of our products are made with fresh cuts of meat and no fillers — the way sausage should be!
Search our store locations to find the Premio nearest you and get grilling today.