I don’t know about you, but I’m having ribs tomorrow (and who am I kidding, I’ll probably have a cheeseburger and a hotdog, too). As long as I can remember, my family has made it a tradition to grill on Labor Day.

It turns out we’re not alone in this celebration. Labor Day is the third most popular day of the year for grilling, right behind the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association. While the holiday was originally intended to celebrate working individuals, it’s transformed into a celebration of getting a day off from work and making the transition from the end of summer to the beginning of fall. It’s the last big grilling weekend of the summer season, but here in Hawaii, we are lucky enough to enjoy great grilling weather year-round. Keep your grill in tip-top shape by following these guidelines:

1. Grease it up. Before each use, make sure to spray the grates with cooking spray or a cooking oil that can handle high heat, such as peanut oil. This will keep food from sticking and make cleanup easier once you’re done.


2. Scrub while warm. Food bits come off much easier if you scrub while the grill is still warm. Use a stainless-steel wire brush for cast-iron grates and a brass brush for stainless-steel varieties. If you prefer not to use metal on metal, there are some good alternatives. A wooden scraper can get the job done without harming metal grates. Another time-old trick is to take half an onion and scrub the grates with the cut side facing down.

3. Take it apart. Once or twice a year, depending on how often you grill, give it a thorough cleaning. If you have a gas grill, turn off the propane before you begin. Remove the pieces inside (briquettes, cooking grates, gas tubes and burners). Make sure the tubes are free and clear of any debris, and look closely for rust. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for how to do a thorough cleaning properly.

4. Inspect it. When you do your deep cleaning, look it over for any faulty parts. Replace any that need it and remember to check your warranty information before you do.

Many manufacturers offer lifetime or long-term guarantees that cover these parts.

5. Cover up. In between uses, help prevent your grill from rusting by protecting it with a water-resistant grill cover.

Have a comment or question? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.