The 10 Best Grill Lights
Several Areas to Consider Before Choosing a Grill Light
The first thing anyone needs to consider whenever shopping for a grill light is whether that light will fit - or sit correctly - along their grill. The majority of grill lights are meant to be attached along a grill's serving table, whereas certain models attach to the grill's front handle. In either case, it's helpful to confirm a grill light's measurements and specifications, as promotional images of a product may not depict a very accurate scale.
If a grill light is designed to fit onto your grill's serving table, be sure to find out whether that light attaches by way of an adjustable clamp, or whether it actually needs to be screwed in. This is relevant in that any grill light that needs to be screwed in will also need to be weatherproof. What's more, a non-removable grill light may make it more tedious to cover - and uncover - your grill.
If your grill doesn't have a serving tray, you can always choose a light that attaches to the grill's front handle. Keep in mind that the larger a front-handle model is, the greater the chance that it might get in your way. Compact models are less obtrusive, they're easier to clean, and you can usually repurpose a compact grill light to be used as a reading light on the deck.
It's worth taking into account whether a grill light is adjustable. In a lot of cases, this would mean that the light has a flexible neck, or that it can swivel to face the grill at any angle. As a precaution, check to see whether any grill light runs on battery power, outlet power, or both. Battery power may be essential if your grill sits at a remove from any outlets, whereas outlet power is more reliable in the long term.
How to Clean a Grill (& All of Its Accessories)
If there is one downside to owning a nice grill it's that the mechanism requires regular upkeep. Back-deck dinners and all-day barbecues tend to produce set-in grease and a charcoal film. Fortunately, it's not that difficult to clean an average grill. All you need is some vinegar, a few wash cloths, a bowl of soapy water, some steel wool, and a wire brush.
You can begin by using the wire brush to scour any residue from the top of the grill grates. Once that's done, flip the grates and scrub along the bottom. Next, remove the grates so you can wipe them down by way of a wash cloth and some soapy water. Hose the grates down, and then leave them to dry against a wall.
At this point you'll want to eliminate any leftover charcoal by either sliding out - and dumping - the grill's tray or sweeping it clean. If possible, hose the tray down, then scrub its surface with some vinegar and soapy water. If you come across any stains, use steel wool to file them down.
If you own a gas grill, you'll want to use the scraping end of your grill brush to remove any film that's built up around the burners. It should go without saying that the grill and its propane tank need to be off. Next, inspect the burners to ensure there aren't any clogs or other blockages. In the event that there are, you can use the wire bristles to scratch those clogs off. Take a minute to wipe down the outside panel of the grill, making an effort to scrub free any scorch marks that are dotting either the cover or the finish.
If your grill includes a grease trap, it's up to you to decide whether to replace that trap or simply wash it out. Most grease traps are disposable, but an exact replacement (i.e., the same measurements and specifications) may not be that easy to find.
Once you've sanitized the grill, you can turn your attention to the attachments, particularly a grill light. Chances are a grill light will be caked with grease, so you'll want to run a vinegar-damp cloth along the lamp and its base. Once you've done that, scrub those parts clean with a sponge. Keep in mind that a grill light is smooth and fragile, so you'll want to avoid using any abrasive cleaning products. Be sure to wipe down the grill light's wire, as well.
As a final step, collect all of your grilling utensils - including brush, tongs, and pitchfork, etc. - then place those items in a plastic tub with some dishwashing liquid to soak. After a few hours you should be able to clean those items in a sink. Once again, enlist a combination of vinegar and soap.
How the Outdoor Grill Became an American Icon
The word barbecue comes from a Spanish term, barbacoa, which refers to the act of cooking meat over a wooden pit. Barbacoa originated in the Caribbean, where 16th-century natives used wooden pits to celebrate after a successful hunt (or catch). The tradition, and its taste, eventually carried north to Florida during the 1800s. The custom of "barbecuing" as it came to be known, extended across the southern U.S. to Louisiana, where Creole cuisine seemed custom-made for grilling over the smoked wood of a mesquite.
During the early 1900s, a relative of Henry Ford's named E.G. Kingsford was chosen to run a Ford auto parts factory in northern Michigan. Almost immediately, Kingsford noticed that the factory was producing an exorbitant amount of wood chips that were, in turn, being thrown out in the trash. Kingsford proposed that the wood chips be reprocessed into charcoal briquettes. These Kingsford briquettes were originally sold at Ford car dealerships, where they generated a significant profit.
Within 10 years of the briquette, an Illinois welder named George Stephen designed the first "half-orb" grill. This grill made it simple for any American to cook meat over a bed of coals. Shortly after, during the 1950s, the first portable gas grills were brought to market. Demand grew and competition increased. The outdoor grill became a veritable staple of the American backyard.
Today, grilling has evolved into a multi-million-dollar industry, with model choices ranging from disposable to infrared. While most Americans associate a traditional backyard grill with hot dogs and hamburgers, a lot of grills are also used for cooking wraps, a range of sausages, delicate cuts of meat, and roast vegetables.